A trip to your grocery store these days is all the proof you need to see that the price of putting food on the table is on the rise in Canada. When it comes to feeling the impact of inflation, Statistics Canada reports that more than two in five Canadians report being most affected by rising food prices. If your grocery bills are eating up too much of your hard-earned cash, it may be time to cook up some cost-cutting strategies.
The average household spends about $217 per person on food every month, more if you add in dining out, according to Statistics Canada.
From making groceries last longer to tips on budget-friendly finds, we’ve uncovered some easy ways to cut costs on feeding your family.
Saving Money on Groceries Starts at Home
Dietitians of Canada has some great suggestions on how to plan your meals on a budget:
- Make a menu - Make a shopping list that caters to lunch and dinner menus. Sticking to it means you will spend less money on items you may not need and be less likely to find yourself hungry and reaching for fast food to fill your belly. Find some easy menu planning ideas right here.
- Work with what’s on sale – By becoming more of a smart shopper (more on that later,) you can then plan meals around items you find at discounted prices.
- Where’s the beef? Ditch meat once a week and opt for protein options like beans, eggs, tofu or canned fish. If meat is more commonly what you eat, this is a great way to try new recipes.
- Shop at home - Look at your inventory to see what’s inching towards the end of its shelf life and use those items to make a new meal. You can ask good ol’ Google to help by searching ‘recipes with …’ and adding whatever you have in the house. Make extras and love your leftovers - “If you’re cooking roast chicken with rice and vegetables for Sunday night’s supper, then make chicken sandwiches for Monday’s lunch. On Tuesday, use the bones to make a chicken soup and toss in any leftover vegetables and rice,” Dietitians of Canada suggests. “Make extras. Don’t let a big bag of carrots or celery go to waste. Use it all up by making an extra big pot of soup. If ground beef is on sale, make two batches of lasagna … serve one for dinner and freeze the other batch in meal-sized portions.”
Be a Smart Shopper
Every time you save on groceries, you’re taking a bite out of your annual costs to keep the family fed. We filtered through some MyMoneyCoach strategies to find a few habits to help make that happen. They even did the math by working out potential savings based on Statistics Canada numbers as applied to a family of four.
- While there may be no substitute for the real deal on certain products, generic is often just as good. You can see up to 25 percent in savings if you go no-name on the bulk of your groceries.
- Research shows you can save up to 23 percent on your grocery tab by making a list and sticking to it.
- By stocking up on sales you can save 10 to 20 percent. It works great with items that can be frozen or have a longer shelf life.
- Coupons can save you up to 10 percent on your bills.
Paying with cash seems to be a common suggestion by cost-cutting experts. A study by Dunn & Bradstreet says people shopping with credit cards pay 12 to 18 percent more than those who have cash.
Yes, they’re still a thing. Maybe not the kind you clip out of the newspaper, but if you’ve ever stood in line behind a hot-shot shopper who whips out their smartphone at the till you can see how impressive online couponing can be when it comes to savings.
We love websaver.ca for digital coupons and other sites, like save.ca, where you can have coupons sent out in the mail or print them yourself.
So, whether you find savings by making your to-go coffee at home or not shopping when hungry, challenge yourself to make your grocery budget last longer. And if you really want to cut back on daily-life expenses we love these 22 tips Frugal Canada Living Tips.