Tips for Saving Money on Groceries

Tips for Saving Money on Groceries

For most Canadian families groceries are there second highest monthly bill outside of their housing cost so it’s important to get the most bang for your buck.  Here are a few tips and suggestions that may help you reduce your grocery expenses.

Budget - Make sure you stick to a budget otherwise the cost can quickly spiral out of control.  You should allow some extra room in your budget for holidays and other special occasions.

Plan Meals - This helps eliminate food waste but be sure to shake it up once in a while otherwise everyone will grow tired of the same meals.  Most of us have busy lives so sometimes it’s easier to make several meals at once and freeze them.  When preparing meals make a little extra and freeze it for later.  There are lots of great websites with healthy, simple to prepare meals.

Make a List - Before you head out to the grocery store take an inventory to see what you need based on your meal plan.  This will help you avoid unnecessary or impulse purchases.   Your list should be posted on the fridge and items added as needed.

Cook from Scratch - Try to avoid pre-packaged meals as they are not only more expensive, they are typically loaded with sodium, sugar and other additives.

Leftovers - Find creative ways to make meals out of leftovers or take them to work or school the next day versus buying your lunch.

Review Flyers - Check your local flyers to see what’s on sale.  You may want to adjust your meal plan if there is a great deal on certain products, such as meat or poultry.  If you find a bargain you should purchase in bulk and freeze for use at a later date.

Coupons - Cut out newspaper coupons or go online to check for a grocery store or manufacturer coupons.

Kids - Experts often recommend leaving the kids at home but that’s not always an option.  If you take a long the kids it’s best to involve them in the process.  Make a game out of it by letting the kids manage the checklist or help you search for bargains.

Bulk - Buy meats and poultry in bulk and freeze to reduce the cost per unit.  Be careful to date freezer goods that way you can use them up before they go bad.  A general rule is 9 months for poultry,  6-12 months for beef, 4-6 months for pork and 1-2 months for leftovers.

Expiry Dates - Watch out for expiry dates especially if you don’t plan on using the product right away.  Sometimes you have to dig a little to find the later expiry dates.

Marked Down Items - Most grocery stores will mark down items such as day-old bread and lunch meats as they near their expiration date.

Fruits & Vegetables - Plan your meals around fruits and veggies that are in season.  You should buy what you need on a weekly basis to avoid throwing items out.

Reward Points - Take advantage of credit card and other reward points for discounts or gift cards on groceries.

If you are struggling with the cost of groceries and everyday expenses this is one of the warning signs of financial difficulties.   

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