In France- where I come from- it is very common to buy everything at the supermarket. When I write “everything”, I really mean it, from wine to shampoo, appliances to clothes, you name it, you will find it, and most importantly, you won’t break the bank.
In Canada, it is definitely not the case. Although you will find mostly anything too, there is a high price tag to the supermarket convenience.
Here are a few tips to save on groceries, that I learned the hard way, so to speak.
Between groceries and take-out/restaurants, I used to spend up to $600 a month and it was just myself! I would never plan for my meals, do my grocery shopping only at the supermarket –several times a week- and almost never bring my lunch to work.
- Never go grocery-shopping hungry. It will throw you off and you will most likely buy items you don’t need, that are unhealthy and overpriced.
- Plan for the majority of your meals, go through your cupboards, make a list of what you need and stick to it.
- Shop in 2 or 3 different places: it may be cheaper to buy your meat at the butcher’s, your vegetables at a farmer’s market and the rest at the supermarket.
- Don’t take your kids with you, if you can avoid it. Children usually go for the most expensive stuff, not to mention potential tantrums if you don’t give-in.
When it comes to fruits & veggies:
- Buy what’s in season
- Buy at a Farmer’s market or directly at the farm. Supermarkets charge you a premium on produce.
At the supermarket:
- Buy at wholesalers such as Costco, Walmart or Canadian Superstore. They are cheaper than Safeway, Thrifty or Save on.
- Buy in bulk or in bigger quantities, even if it is just for yourself. It will cut the number of trips you have to make to replenish and save you money.
- Look at the unit price, price per 100 g or per pound or kilo to determine what item is actually the cheapest.
- Avoid ready-to-eat foods, pre-cut, pre-washed, and pre-packaged items, as these cost a ton.
- Buy the store brand instead of the “famous brand”. In most cases, you won’t taste or see or the difference.
By doing my best to follow these tips and bringing my lunch to work more often, I was able to significantly reduce my grocery/take out & restaurant spending.