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’s definitely not the case. Although you will find mostly anything in a supermarket as well, there is a high price tag to the supermarket convenience.
On top of this, inflation has been galloping lately. Canada is looking at an overall 7% rate for 2022. Food costs have increased by 15% on average.
Here are a few tips to keep your grocery bill in check.
- Never go grocery-shopping hungry. It will throw you off and you will most likely buy items you don’t need, that are unhealthy or/and overpriced.
- Make a list 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.
- Check the flyers: most flyers are online nowadays. Some are embedded in loyalty cards, such as PC Optimum. Check what’s on sale before going shopping.
- Don’t take your kids with you, if you can avoid it. Children usually go for the most random and/or expensive stuff, not to mention potential tantrums if you don’t give-in.
The cardinal rule to save money on groceries, provided you do it right.
Before opening any cookbook or app, open your fridge/freezer/pantry and take inventory of what you have. Then, plan your meals based on what you have on hand and the flyers at your regular grocery store.
When It Comes to Produce
- Buy what’s in season. Strawberries aren’t a Christmas fruit, at least not in Canada. You’ll pay a premium for them in December.
- Buy at a Farmer’s market, independent grocer or directly at the farm. Supermarkets charge a premium on produce, and the quality isn’t always there.
At the Supermarket
- Buy at wholesalers such as Costco, Walmart or Loblaws. They are cheaper than Safeway, Thrifty Food or Save on Foods.
- Stick to food items. Unless you shop at Costco, you’ll pay more for household items or personal care products in supermarkets. When it comes to certain household items, the Dollar Shop is your best friend.
- Buy in bulk or in bigger quantities, even if it is just for yourself. It will cut the number of trips you ‘ll 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 which 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 “designer brand”. In most cases, you won’t taste 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 spending. I also reduced my food waste.