Five easy ways to ensure your grocery bill doesn't break the bank.
What’s for dinner? It’s a pretty common question and conversation starter among Canadian families. Groceries are an expensive part of every family’s budget and it seems as though the costs continue to increase season after season and year after year. Throw in the occasional drive-through dinner or pizza delivery and we can see where our budgets start to fall apart. Here’s how to save on your grocery bills.
1. Create a Meal Plan
This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to save some money on your groceries. Consider hosting a meal-planning family meeting and deciding what you’ll eat for the next week, two weeks or month, depending on your shopping schedule. For this meeting, ask everyone to bring one to three recipes they love (and could help to prepare). Put each idea into the calendar and then make a list of ingredients needed for each breakfast, lunch and dinner. Remember to check your fridge, pantry and freezer for what you already have and cross those items off your list. Whatever remains is your shopping list.
2. Shop the Sales and Flyers
Pick up your local flyers and see what’s on sale. You can create your meal plans based on these reduced-price items. Consider using technology to help you—some smartphone apps can search for local sales and/or help you price match. Some of the more common smartphone apps include Flipp and Reebee.
3. Eat Before You Shop
Yes, it sounds silly, but shopping while hungry makes you spend more money. Consider how tempting food looks when you’re shopping on an empty stomach or how good the bakery items smell when you haven’t had dinner yet. Eating beforehand will help you resist temptation.
4. Consider Shopping with Cash if You're Struggling to Stick to Your Grocery Budget
Canadians who grocery shop with their points credit cards tend to spend more than those who shop with cash. That one extra item may mean a few extra points on your travel rewards card, but if you’re not paying off that card in full every month, those points become very expensive. Cash will keep you true to your grocery list.
5. Try Shopping Online For Grocery Pickup or Delivery
If this service is available in your area. When you shop online, it can be easier to stick to your grocery list because you don’t have the physical cues to tempt you (like the convenient displays at the checkout or taste-testing stands on the weekends).
STACY YANCHUK OLEKSY IS DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY AWARENESS AT THE CREDIT COUNSELLING SOCIETY.