Running a household can be expensive. Check out our tips for planning, purchasing, and saving money on groceries.


Canadians’ biggest expense is housing. Mortgages or rent, utilities, and related expenses take up approximately 28% of their household budget.Transportation and food costs come in right behind, at up to 20% and 15% respectively. While there are ways to trim some savings out of your utilities and transportation budget, today we’re focusing on food. Everyone knows a trick or two for saving on groceries, but if you can’t imagine becoming an extreme couponer, it’s okay. We’ve got you covered.

 

Planning Tips

Plan Meals and Nights Out In Advance

Meal Plan

While it might not seem like it has anything to do with saving money, if you plan your meals in advance, you’ll know which items you need to buy at the grocery store and can get only those. This will cut down on food waste too.

Plan When You’re Going To Eat Out (Or Order In)

If it's on the calendar, you’ll be less likely to randomly splurge on doing so. Eating out less often is a tip most people know, but this is how to do it.

Batch Cook 

Again, seems irrelevant to your bank account, but often if you buy in bulk you save money on the per-unit price (we’ll talk more about this later). Batch cook your purchases and pop half in the freezer for another time. If you freeze meal-sized portions, you’ll also have a microwaveable, home-cooked meal to curb your pizza delivery habit when you don’t want to cook.

 

Make Budget-Friendly Food Choices

Eat Locally And Seasonally As Much As Possible

This goes for your groceries and for restaurant fare. Local, in-season foods will be priced better due to lower transport costs.

Eat Less Meat

Meat is the highest percentage of the grocery budget. Just holding Meatless Monday could save you money. Try alternatives like legumes, nuts, tofu and low-fat dairy. Not only are these less expensive per unit, but they’re packed with nutrients. Be careful of processed meat alternatives as they can be expensive.

 

Keep Organized

  • Track what you have at home. This allows you to budget for more expensive items to be replenished and keeps you from replacing items you don’t need yet.
  • Stock the pantry. Staples like beans and pasta not only keep longer, they’re typically cheaper than prepared items.
  • Store food properly. It will last longer and result in less spoilage. Plus, a well-organized pantry makes it easy for you to see everything you have in stock.
  • Couponing (whether you go extreme or not) is a great way to save on purchases. However, make sure they are for products you’ll actually use. Don’t buy something you wouldn’t otherwise purchase just because you have a coupon, or you risk not using it.

 

At The Store

If you’ve been following our planning, food selection, budgeting, and organization tips to a T but are finding that your grocery bill is too high, it’s possible that the problems might arise from how you do your grocery runs. Read on to learn how to avoid impulse buys, find the best deals, and develop healthy shopping habits.

Avoid Impulse Purchases

  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Have a snack before you go so you make fewer impulse buys.
  • Remember your list, and don’t buy things that aren’t on it. Especially avoid items near the checkout, which you can often get for cheaper elsewhere in the store if you really need them.
  • Buy items like spices from the bulk section where you can get only as much as you need.

 

Find The Best Prices

  • Browse the flyer to see if any of the items on your list are on sale.
  • Shop high and low. Higher priced inventory is at eye level.
  • Don’t shy away from store brands. They’re almost always cheaper.
  • Compare cost per unit (per weight). Most shelves will list the cost per unit, and sometimes the smaller product will have the better per-unit price.
  • Buy from the “reduced” section. If you’re going to be cooking from your meal plan within a day or two, often the produce will be fine. You can always freeze fruits and veggies if you won’t get to them right away.
  • Buy frozen and canned. It can be cheaper than fresh and requires less meal prep. Frozen veggies are picked at the peak of freshness and are nutritionally just as good as fresh.

Develop Healthy Shopping Habits

If At All Possible, Shop Without Distractions

Whether that’s your kids, partner, or cell phone. If you’re not paying attention you’re more likely to spend more.

 

You Don’t Have To Buy An Item

Just because you’ve placed it in your cart. Feel free to give the cashier items you decide you don’t need or want--especially if they weren’t on your list and somehow found their way into your cart. On that note, you can return grocery products! Check your store for their return policy but if you bought something and then realized you don’t need it, take it back.

 

Other Tips For Budget-Friendly Grocery Shopping

  • Join your grocery store’s Rewards program. Stores will often have extra discounts or special rewards items each week you can save more on. As your points add up you can get your whole cart for “free” if you wait long enough.
  • Use a rewards credit card. If you spend a lot on groceries, putting the bill on a card that gives you points or rewards back can add up. People have taken vacations on the money they’ve saved doing this!
  • Shop less frequently. The more often you go the more likely it is you’ll spend more. If you’re able to go a week between trips, try to.
  • Shop around! Keep track of which stores have the best deals on items you use often. Additionally, you might want to buy non-food items at places like the dollar store or buying food items at pharmacies like Shoppers or London Drugs. Check those unit prices!
  • Download a coupon or flyer app, like Flipp! This makes it easy to compare prices on the go. 

 

What Are Your Grocery Budgeting and Money-Saving Tips?

Do you have some awesome strategies for keeping your grocery bill in check? Feel free to let us know in the contact form or get in touch with us on Facebook or Insta!

 

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Posted by AIME Financial

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