8 ways to save at the grocery store
Canada’s Food Price Report 2021, issued by a group of researchers based at four Canadian universities forecasts that the cost of Canadians’ food baskets will increase by 3 to 5% in 2021.
If this increase, combined with back-to-school costs, gives you the impression your finances are taking a hit, you’re not alone.
Here’s some advice on buying school supplies on the cheap. But did you know that you can also save on your grocery bill by practising a few good habits before going to the store and while you’re there? Here’s how.
1. Prepare a list
To save, you need to calculate the cost of your projected purchases. Prepare your list meticulously and stick to your budget. You can withdraw the cash amount before going shopping to ensure you stick to the budgeted amount.
2. Be strategic
Some websites, such as supermarches.ca (French only) or circulaires.com (Quebec only), display all current sales flyers. They are indispensable for comparing one grocery chain’s prices to another’s. However, this means that sometimes you’ll need to do your shopping at more than one location to maximize savings.
3. Pay attention to seasonal prices
Take advantage of what each season offers: Enjoy asparagus in the spring, berries in the summer, squash in the fall and root vegetables in the winter. You’ll save, reduce your consumption of imported produce and be in sync with the seasons.
4. Steer clear of prepared meals
Prepared meals can be useful when you’re in a bind, but your grocery bill will mushroom if you buy them on a regular basis. If you’re short on time, use simple recipes with basic ingredients that are easy to make at home.
5. Substitute foods
Be creative with your recipes and make partial or total substitutions of expensive food with more affordable options. Replace half of the ground meat in a meatloaf with lentils, use tofu in your spaghetti sauce, etc.
6. Choose house brands
House brands are less expensive than well-known brands. In some cases, there is no, or only a small, difference in the quality of these foods. Test house brands to find your favourites.
7. Think frozen
It’s sometimes preferable to buy frozen fruits and vegetables to prevent them from going bad in your refrigerator. This way, you won’t be throwing money away. Plus, the cost of these foods is more stable and varies less according to the season.
8. Buy local
Do check out farmers’ markets and small businesses to encourage local producers. You’re contributing to the economy by buying directly from the farmer and might save some money on purchases from a food superstore.
Happy grocery shopping!
Sources: Canada’s Food Price Report 2021
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