Overspending at the grocery store is a common occurrence for many, and the rising cost of groceries in Canada has been front and center in the news. Canada’s Food Price Report is projecting food prices to increase by five to seven per cent in 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues. So how can you keep your pantry stocked, your grocery bill down and your budget in check? Try using some, or all, of these proven strategies to help reduce spend when you hit the grocery aisles and keep some extra cash in your wallet!
1. Make a list (and stick to it!)
Start by making a meal plan for the week (check out the 2022 Wellness Guide for inspiration!) and make a list of the items you need. Going in with a plan will help you stay focused and less likely to grab those extra items and help reduce your food waste at home.
2. Don’t go hungry (or order online!)
Eat before you go! Hunger can derail even the best intentions when you’re hit with the smell of fresh baked goods or standing in the snack aisles, and you might be tempted to add extra items to your cart. You can also order online for pick up – most stores now offer this service free of charge or for a nominal fee and you’ll be more likely to stick to your list.
3. Check the flyers
You don’t need to clip coupons to save – go digital and download a flyer app for your area to see the most recent sales and promotions. Many apps give you the option to search flyers for specific items, so if you’re up to the task of shopping multiple stores you’ll be able to score the lowest price across the board.
4. Use your points
Join the rewards program at your local grocer! While it might seem minimal at first, these points add up (at no extra cost to you). Use your points towards the gourmet items on your list or bank them until your weekly shop is free.
5. Buy generic
You don’t have to sacrifice on flavor, or on your favorite brand of yogurt. Look at pantry and fridge staples and swap out name brands for store brands. You’re not going to notice the difference when it comes to flour, sugar or canned tomatoes.
6. Less packaging = more value
The more packaging there is, the more you’re paying for less food. Think snack packs and individually wrapped and portioned goods – swap these items out for the family sized version and portion them out when you get home.
7. Re-evaluate “Organic”
Use caution when paying premiums for organic items. Check the labels and do your research when purchasing “organic” foods. This term can be misleading and might not always be indicative that something is healthy or all-natural. Only agricultural products can be certified organic and not all organic products are created equal.
Don’t forget to pack your bags! Whether or not your local grocer has swapped plastic out for paper, you can probably count on them now charging you a per bag fee. Keep bags in your car and return them to your car once you’re done unloading your groceries.
9. Hit the frozen aisles
Frozen fruits and vegetables pack the same nutritional punch as their fresh counterparts. Flash frozen at the peak of their ripeness, you’ll get the best flavor profile for those out-of-season picks. They’ll also last longer, reduce food waste at home and your budget will thank you.
10. Buy in bulk
When household staples go on sale, it’s a good time to stock up. You can save big in the long run by grabbing extras of things like laundry detergent, paper products, freezer and pantry staples when they’re discounted. Stay tuned for more on what items give you the best bang for your buck when buying in bulk!
Saving money on your grocery bill and keeping yourself on budget is one of the many ways you can keep yourself, and your finances, healthy. Want more tips and insights on how to make 2022 your healthiest year yet? Check out the 2022 Wellness Guide here.