With the Canadian dollar dipping below 70 cents, the warning bells are ringing about the cost of living in Canada – especially groceries.
I saw a $12 pint of strawberries the other day. http://t.co/cl4HIum1Bc
— Jen Gerson (@jengerson) January 12, 2016
A friend of mine wrote a post about how he got some money back from his credit card and detailed his $1300 a month grocery bill for his family of four. He thought he was doing good – I was gobsmacked. That is not how you save money on groceries, people. I do all the groceries for our family of four and do it for less than $500 a month. Keeping your grocery bill under control is not difficult. It all comes down to 2 things:
Know your prices, buy when it’s cheap. That’s all there is too it. Well, almost.
There are weeks I will buy no meat. There are weeks I will buy no cheese. There are weeks when I will buy 10 boxes of waffles and pizza, there are weeks when I’m stocking up on snacks for the kids’ lunches.Really, it’s all about common sense shopping. You can’t really use extreme couponing tactics in Canada, but you can price match, comparison shop, and stock up when you see a deal.
Shop in season
You know why strawberries are $12 for a pint? Because it’s January. Strawberries are a July thing. Buy fruit and veg when its in season, and you’ll save. If you need fruit for smoothies, oatmeal, desserts, whatever, big bags of frozen berries are always in the freezer aisle and are much less expensive. If you want to save money on groceries, you need to be more flexible about what you buy and when.
Go to the right store
The picture of the cucumbers up top is from Real Canadian Superstore. That’s *usually* a very good place to shop and save money on groceries. They do a lot of price matching and will often be 1 or 2 cents below the lowest cost I can find in a flyer at another store.
I do as much of my grocery shopping as I can at No Frills and have seen my grocery bill drop as much as 20%. And, with every 20 000 points you collect on the PC Plus app, you save $20 in cash off your grocery bill. I’m easily getting this back every 3-4 weeks. I save it up and every few months I have a free week of groceries!
Comparison shop and get the prices matched
The Flipp app is a great way to instantly scour all of the stores to see what is on sale each week. You can then circle the items you find at a good price, and then take your phone along to price match in store. This lets you shop where you want and are comfortable, but still get the best prices.
Air Miles can get you money back on vacations, PC Plus Points will save you money on groceries, if you’re good with credit cards, you can get cash back. Through the PC Plus app you can track bonus offers for points, and stock up when there’s a deal. Meat, for example, is offered at 10% off about every 2 to 3 weeks on the PC Plus app.
I can collect points worth 10% of the value of fresh beef, or turkey, or pork (chicken never goes on the app). If I then buy the ‘day before Best Before 30% off meat’ that is just going in my freezer anyway, I’m saving 40% on the price of my meat.
Add to that shopping at the right store, and you’ll save even more. Centre cut pork loin chops were $17 a pound at Co-Op this week, they were $13.50 at No Frills right across the street. Take into account the bonus points and I pay about $12/pound, or 30% less than what I’d pay at Co-Op.
Know your prices. Shop around. Collect points.
Buy in bulk
If you know your prices, you know when to bulk up. We don’t need coffee right now, but when I saw our brand of morning coffee on sale for $4 off, I bought 2. Because we will need coffee. Same for meat, or butter, or snacks for the kids at school. When I see it on sale, or when I can collect a lot of bonus points, I will pounce and buy more than I need at the moment, because it’s a long run cost saver.
One of the best things we ever did was buy a small chest freezer for the garage. I can stuff it with pizzas, chicken, steak, fruit, perogies, pork chops, ribs, waffles, everything. I don’t want to say I’m a ‘prepper’ but with the bulk shopping I’ve done, we could probably go two to three months without big grocery shops. Milk, fruit, and veg, is basically all I need to buy each week.
Prices are going to go up, we can’t escape that. If cauliflower and tomatoes are out of range, eat more carrots, broccoli, and bok choy.
— Emmett Macfarlane (@EmmMacfarlane) January 12, 2016
Having a flexible diet, making responsible choices, shopping around, knowing your prices, pouncing on deals. THAT is how you save money on groceries. Every week.
And my buddy, A Crock of Schmidt, with the expensive weekly grocery bills? He’s already taking this tips to heart. Check out what he’s learned, and how we’re encouraging each other to save money.