Smart Money Saving: Groceries

Updated: Mar 9

I still remember sitting with my mom at the kitchen table with a stack of fliers. When it came to finding deals, Momma knew best! Canadian tire always had the best sales on Charmin and garbage bags. Zellers had door-busters deals, and every week Superstore would have a coupon for gas…. Oh and who could forget Superbucks??

It took a few years, but my husband has learned where to buy what and their baseline price. Months when money was tight this skill was a Godsend!

Stats Canada reports the average Canadian household spends about $214 per person on food each month. This cost does not include dining out or toiletries, laundering supplies, or cleaning. (Generally speaking, depending on what part of Canada you reside in, this number can increase dramatically)

As a rule, the "grocery" section of your emergency fund should allot for $225 per person times 4 months (Don’t have an emergency fund? Learn how a financial advisor can help you start one)

Check out these tips on how to save money at the grocery store.

1) Try Meal Prepping

- Benefits:

o No extra trips to the grocery store

o Ready to go meals when too tired to cook

o Plan around what you already have

o Mental benefits of creating a mindful relationship with food

o More time on your plate

Depending on your family, meal planning can be personalized to suit your lifestyle.

- Make and freeze pre-portioned meals

- Create a list of recipes and prep ingredients in bowls and containers

- Budget for take out

- Cook and store proteins in advance

Simply the greatest money saving tip I can offer you: use what you have! Bowls, bakeware, yogurt or salsa containers work fine. BUT, if an $8.00 investment for new segmented containers will help keep you save money in the long run -- consider the investment.

2) Keep a grocery list on your phone and stick to the list

How many times do you get to the grocery store but your shopping list is still on the kitchen counter?

The University of Pennsylvania's research found people who avoid impulse spending save up to 23% on their grocery bill.

Make a habit of immediately logging items you notice are finished or near empty. A home assistant (eg. Amazon Alexa or Google Home) can also sync to your phone. With a quick command your list will be updated.

Even a simple notepad app will work to save you time and cash.

3) Eat before you shop and shop alone

This will make walking past the junk food aisle less tempting. Do not forget: you do not need that chocolate bar beside the cash register.

If impulse buying is a true challenge for you, the wonders of curbside grocery pick up has your back!

Many chains will let you order the night before and will even load your groceries into your vehicle.

4) Be mindful when buying things in bulk.

- Things to always buy in bulk:

o Sugar, Salt and, Pepper **Icing Sugar is excluded and should be purchased within a month of use.

o Paper goods

o Office Supplies

o Honey

o Dried herbs and spices

o Pet food and treats

These items typically have a long, if not infinite shelf life. McCormick states the following shelf life for these items:

Indefinite: Vanilla extract, salt, and that's about it. (Other extracts will fade in 2-3 years).

Whole spices (unground, such as peppercorns, whole allspice, caraway seeds, and more): 3-4 years

Ground spices (such as cumin, ginger, paprika and chili powder): 2-4 years

Ground and whole leafy herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary and most seasoning blends: 1-3 years

- Never (or rarely) buy these in bulk

o Oil and condiments

o Skin care products

o Frozen items

o Flour

o Pre-Mixed Spices

o Bleach

For the average person these items will sit longer than you will have opportunity to use them. Unless you are certain these will be used within their lifetime, stick to smaller portions. Items like oil will start to deteriorate and become rancid with each exposure to light and air. Bleach and skin care items also start to oxidize with time.

Premade mixes and rubs are also on my "sometimes" list. How many times do you buy “Italian seasoning” for one recipe and let it sit in your spice cabinet? Learn to make your own spice mixes with staples you regularly buy.

5) Buy Generic

What advantage does brand-name items have over generic? Marketing!

….*my husband is arguing that this isn’t true in all cases. Fine. I am also loyal to some brands. You win, Glenn*

You can save up to 40% on items when buying generic! When was the last time your baby demanded Cheerios over Circle O’s?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s tips and tricks to save money while you shop!

If you would like to take your budgeting or financial planning to the next level, feel free to send us a message and we'd be happy to assist you.

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