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Digital flyer company Flipp Corp., whose app is shown above, is focusing on international expansion as it grows its user base. Flipp currently has 50 million weekly viewers of its flyers.Merle Robillard/The Globe and Mail

Canadians paid more than ever for groceries in 2022, and with prices expected to keep climbing, everyone’s looking for ways to save.

One easy way to do that is through price-matching apps: they’re free, easy-to-download and they list sales at various grocery stores in a specific area, making it easy to see where you can save.

Barry Choi, a Toronto-based personal finance expert, estimates that consumers can save between 10 and 14 per cent off their bills by using such apps.

In addition to saving money, these apps can help save time by cutting the amount of travelling to grocery stores, says Liz Schieck, a financial planner with the New School of Finance in Toronto. That’s because shoppers can see the stores with the most sale items in advance – and price-match the rest of what they need.

Price-matching does require some etiquette to avoid irritating the shoppers lined up behind you, according to Mr. Choi.

“If I’m in the Express line, I’m not price matching,” he says. “You have to know the rules.”

There have been a number of grocery price-matching apps that have entered the market in recent years. Here’s how they stack up.


Reebee

The perks: Reebee is intuitive and efficient. Using your postal code, it lists all of the flyers of nearby stores. Each grocery item is clickable and once you click on it, its name and price pop up at the bottom of the screen, allowing it to be added to a shopping list or shared with another family member. The shopping list that is generated is organized by store, so that you can clearly see which items are located where. This screen can be shared with the cashier at checkout, enabling a quick price match. Reebee, acquired by Flipp in 2022, also offers a search feature, allowing you to rapidly find a single item’s price at multiple stores for an instant comparison.

The downsides: The app does not include grocery coupons.

The final verdict: A well-designed, ad-free price matching app that’s very easy to use.

Get the app here.


Save.ca

The perks: Save.ca lists local flyers based on your postal code. When you find an item you’re interested in, the app circles it in blue and adds it to your shopping list, organized under the store’s name. Save.ca also lists various categories that allow you to price match grocery staples such as bananas, cereal, fruit and cat food, etc. For example, clicking on steak will net you all the steak deals in your area, with the ability to add your favourite to your list. Just remember that when you’re price matching, use the items listed under each category, rather than the list you create when you click on the flyer items. Clicking on an item on your list will merely bring you back to the flyer, making for an awkward cashier interaction.

The downsides: Save.ca’s coupon section only has three or four coupons at any given time. Its Cash Back button is also blank, with a “more to come” notice.

The final verdict: Save.ca can be an effective way to price match as grocery deals in each category are large in size and can be easily shown to a cashier. Its coupons section offers little value.

Get the app here.


Flipp

The perks: Flipp lists all the flyers from all the stores in your area. Clicking on a deal highlights it and allows the user to see the details of the deal on a full screen, share it with someone else or buy it online, if the retailer offers online sales. It is also added to your shopping list in ad form, under the store it’s sold in. A selected item is easy to view and can be quickly displayed to a grocery store cashier. You can search for items under the categories of “latest,” alphabetically or by category. And there is the option to create a “watch list” of items you wish to track, which brings up a list of sales of those items in your area.

The downsides: Flipp has more features than some of the other price-matching apps, making it a bit trickier to use for the less tech savvy.

The final verdict: This app is great if you’re tracking the prices of higher-cost products such as organic milk, steak or fish. The items are easy to add and access, making price-matching straightforward.

Get the app here.


Flyerify

The perks: Flyerify takes a different approach to price matching in that it features an eclectic alphabetized list of stores, which include fast food restaurants, ethnic grocery shops, drug stores and health food stores. Clicking on a store reveals the store’s flyer or deals for that week. To price match, you have to tap on the advertised deal and manually magnify it on your phone.

The downsides: The app does not allow a user to create a customized shopping list. Flyerify also has full-screen and banner ads that can be very distracting. And its trending section – which features the ads seeing the most traffic – isn’t very useful if the offers aren’t near you.

The final verdict: This app is ideal if you’re shopping at a variety of non-mainstream stores in your area. It can provide a list of deals you won’t find elsewhere.

Get the app here.


Smartcanucks

The perks: Smartcanucks also uses an alphabetized list of Canadian flyers from a variety of merchants that include small food marts, health food shops and ethnic grocery stores. Larger retailers who sell fast food, clothing, furniture, electronics, housewares, luggage and cosmetics are also included. Clicking on a store reveals its flyer for that week. One key feature is the hot deals section that lists the most popular deals that week. Clicking on a deal pops up the flyer for that store along with a written description of the specific deal.

The downsides: Ads dominate the app from start to finish, making it very difficult to navigate and distinguish an ad from a flyer. Store flyers are also often expired. Users have the ability to create an account, select four favourite stores, but not craft a customized grocery list. As a result, there’s little value in signing up.

The final verdict: This app is less grocery-specific making it more suited to the user who wants to know about a multitude of deals in the neighbourhood, as long as they don’t mind scrolling through countless ads.

Get the app here.


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