With news of inflation and rising food prices over the past couple of weeks, many Canadians are feeling the pinch with every trip to the grocery store.
In May of this year alone, the price of food was reported to have risen by 9.7 percent, leading more than 2 in every 5 Canadians to say that they have been affected by rising costs.
Finding ways to save money, leaving you with more money in your pocket, while getting groceries is more than welcomed during these turbulent times of high inflation.
Here are some easy money-saving tips to help you lower your costs the next time you go to the grocery store.
Cook at Home
Chances are if you are heading out to purchase your groceries, you will likely be cooking your meals at home.
However, you might be tempted to buy prepared meals when at the grocery store to save some time, or even skip grocery shopping altogether and get a takeout meal.
To save some money and reduce your spending, this is one habit you should quit and consider preparing your meals at home.
By preparing your meals at home, not only can you save money but you also control the nutritional value of what you’re making. Choose ingredients that have more nutritional value, and when you are cooking, prepare more food than you need for a meal. Leftovers go a long way.
If you’re an inexperienced cook, start with simple recipes you find online or in a cookbook. As you become more comfortable, start to experiment with recipes – adding and taking away ingredients to create a new dish.
Once you’ve got a handle on cooking a few things, you’ll find it’s simple to create a new taste. Not only is it fun to experiment with dishes, but it also helps prevent you from getting tired of cooking the same thing all the time.
Buy Groceries on an “As-Needed” Basis
In the era of buying in bulk to save time running to and back from the grocery store, for many food products buying in bulk may produce more waste and ends up wasting your money.
According to the National Zero Waste Council, it is estimated that the average Canadian household wastes about $1,300 worth of food in an entire year!
If you live near a grocery store or a supermarket, consider purchasing shorter life-span food products such as meat, fruits, and vegetables you require on an as-needed basis.
This is the most ideal scenario for people who can walk to the grocery store or pass by a supermarket on their way home from work.
Buying only the fresh items you require for a meal when you need them ensures that no food will go bad in your refrigerator, therefore saving you money.
If you need to buy food products in bulk, be sure to follow instructions on how best to properly store them so it stays fresh for longer.
Consider Meal Planning and Meal Prepping
You know you have to eat every day, but by planning out what you’re going to have for meals in advance not only will you be saving time but you can also save money and cut down on the risk of wasting food.
The catch with meal planning and meal prepping however is that it takes a little more effort and time. Trying to figure out which meals to have for an entire week takes time and preparing these meals in advance can take even longer.
With some simple strategizing, however, you can optimize your meals for the week, make your life a lot simpler, and save yourself some money each trip to the grocery store.
For example, when the weekly grocery store flyers are available, take a look at what’s on special or on sale for the week. Perhaps you might find yourself inspired to cook a particular meal based on what you find in the flyer.
Give Up the Online Groceries Apps
During the pandemic, we were introduced to the idea of ordering your groceries online and having them hand-delivered to your front door without needing to step outside.
While this can be a convenient way to get your grocery shopping down and avoid crowds, it also prevents you from searching for the best deals at the grocery store.
Most apps don’t always feature all the products that a grocery store has, and some specials might not be available through the app.
Additionally, the convenience of not having to step out of the house to get your grocery shopping done comes at a cost of a delivery fee and possible service tips.
Going to the store in person allows you to select the most affordable item available, and increase or decrease the quantity of food you get.
With the cost of fresh vegetables increasing by 10.3 percent in May, according to Statistics Canada, being able to select exactly how much produce you get can shave a few dollars off your bill.
Price Matching, Generic Brands, Hunting for Great Deals and More!
While at the grocery store keep these tips at the back of your mind to help you save a little more money during each grocery trip:
- Many grocery stores offer price matching. If you see a discount in a flyer for one store but not another, bring the flyer along with you when you shop. Often, they’ll adjust the price at the checkout for you.
- Pay attention to prices. While the flyer might show a certain cut of meat on special, for example, sometimes it’s more affordable to buy a family-size format of the same cut of meat. Just be sure you have a plan to use it, or room in your freezer to store the extra.
- Keep an eye out for generic brands. While brand-name products might be special, you often can get a better price if you buy a competing product.
- If you see a great deal on an item at the grocery store, stock up. Meats can be put in your freezer for future use, or you can cook an entire meal and put it in your freezer for a day when you don’t have time to cook.
- Avoid processed fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to differences in price between pre-sliced and whole fruits and vegetables. Pre-sliced vegetables and fruit may save you time in the kitchen, but they’re often more expensive. Taking a few extra minutes to cut up the products yourself can help reduce your grocery bill.
- If you can, when you get home from the grocery store, cook your meals right away. This way you’ve used up all the items that might go bad if left sitting in your fridge. You can freeze any meal you don’t intend to eat right away.
- To optimize your time in the kitchen, try to prepare ingredients for multiple recipes at the same time. For instance, if two meals call for green peppers, prepare the peppers for both recipes simultaneously.
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