There is no denying it – what we spend on food can cost us a huge portion of our income. And, with prices of food seemingly going up continuously, we all are looking for ways to save on our weekly grocery bills. Here are our top 10 ways to save on groceries starting today.
1. Change Supermarkets or Grocery stores
I know, you’ve shopped at your favourite store forever and so did your Mama and your grandmother. Maybe the store you shop at is very comfortable for you – you know where everything is located, and you even know the names of your favourite cashiers! I get it. But, changing to a lower-cost supermarket can save you immense amounts of money. Stores like Walmart and No-Frills are much lower cost than high-end grocery stores.
2. Shop at multiple grocery stores
Instead of hitting up only one store every week, make a detailed list of the best sales (or loss leaders) at every store, and stock up on those. This one tip alone will save you a huge amount of money!
3. Search grocery flyers or flyer apps before you head out
Apps like Flipp have made browsing through grocery flyers a way easier task! You can even create a shopping list of all the specials at each store, and then access that list easily on your smartphone. Or, of course there are still paper flyers that you can peruse. This way you are armed with the information on what each store has on sale this week, allowing you to get the best deals. And therefore – save your money!
4. Make a price book
This has been a frugal living tip for a long time, as any longtime frugalites will know! What is a price book? Basically, a notebook (or digital file on your phone or tablet) where you keep track of the best prices in your area for the food you buy. This is helpful because it is such a personal document – you will know what is truly a good deal when organic strawberries are on sale, for instance. You only need to keep track of the things you regularly purchase. It’ll help you understand when something is actually a very good deal. Making your own price book will help you save money because you’ll know what is and isn’t a good deal on the food YOU purchase the most often.
5. Shop at Farmer’s Markets or Local produce markets
Ahhh, I love an afternoon at the Farmer’s Market! But, some of these markets are quite pricey along with their charm and quaintness. Ask around to find the best markets with the lowest prices. Sometimes shopping nearer the end of the day means you can snag a deal on produce that the grower doesn’t want to drag back home with them. Plus, local produce markets are also popping up all over the place – one here in Calgary to try is Fresh & Local. (Located quite centrally on Macleod Trail.) But again, you can find these markets in your local area by searching ‘local markets’, ‘farmers markets + your city’ on Google.
Covid update: It’s not as easy to browse and relax at farmers markets now, but they are still an excellent resource for the freshest produce. Simply plan your trip beforehand, and hit up the stalls you like the best. And of course, always wear a face mask or face covering.
6. Shop at Outlet food stores
I was recently told a tip about an Italian outlet market here in Calgary! It’s called Scarpone’s, and is located in the North of Calgary. There you can get amazing deals on their own canned tomatoes, and items like olives, olive oils, capers and pasta sauces. Ask around in your area, or head to trusty Google and type in ‘outlet food stores’ + ‘your city’ to find some hidden treasures you may never have known existed. (Another good resource to know about is McGavin’s Bread Basket. This store sells bread that is still a number of days out from being past its Best Before date. You can stock up, and freeze the bread, rolls, bagels or English muffins. It is a huge savings on the cost of a regular loaf of bread! And since I have to eat gluten free, the savings are even more tremendous.)
7. Use coupons on groceries
Coupons are one of those things you either love, or you roll your eyes in disgust at the very thought of! I think I’m somewhere in the middle. I usually have a few clipped coupons in my wallet, but only on items that I would normally buy. And apps like Checkout 51 make clipping coupons as easy as tapping your smartphone screen. (In fact, you get credited a cash amount – say, $1.00 – after you purchase a certain product and prove that you purchased it by scanning the receipt and sometimes also the UPC. Once you reach a $20.00 threshold, you are sent a cheque! I have indeed received such a cheque, and can verify that this is a worthwhile app to have.)
8. Check clearance sections at supermarkets
The clearance sections of your grocery store can provide all sorts of goodies! Sometimes you can even match a clearance price with a coupon, or a digital coupon on Checkout 51. Score! Double savings, folks. You can find a regular merchandise clearance, a produce clearance, and often a fresh foods clearance. You’ll have to keep your eyes open to find where your store has all the different reduced food sections. Usually these food items have a short best before date, so use up this good food and know that you’re preventing it from being dumped in the landfill! Get used to the type of sales sticker your grocery stores use to markdown their merchandise – sometimes they are yellow stickers, or red stickers. Then, you can look for that telltale sign when you’re searching for markdowns.
9. Try generic or store brand food
Generic or no name products are often just as good as their more highly-advertised, brand name counterparts. Store brands are a good compromise on a product that is just as good as a brand name, but is usually quite a bit cheaper.
10. Shop for groceries online
Many of my friends swear by online grocery shopping. You choose all the food items you want, and then simply go to the store to pick your order up. Some stores have a fee for this service, but it might be worthwhile if it prevents you from impulse buying. Don’t have a car to go pick up your groceries? Then, check out if your local food stores have a delivery service to have your groceries delivered right to your door.
Now, in the time of COVID, online grocery ordering makes more sense than ever before. We use SaveOn Foods online grocery shopping all the time, and we love it! With SaveOn here in Calgary, there is no fee whatsoever for having a personal shopper do your grocery shopping for you. This is the safest way to grocery shop in the time of the pandemic, and we are very grateful to have it as an option.
Bonus Tip – Check Amazon Grocery deals of the day
If you’re comfortable grocery shopping online (and more and more of us ARE now, because of the pandemic we’re living through!) then you need to check out which items Amazon has on sale. This one link will show you the best sale items on food and groceries. You know Amazon though – those deals won’t last! AMAZON GROCERY DEALS TODAY. These are pantry stock up items like: canned soups and chili, spices, ground or whole bean coffee, and of course CHOCOLATE!
We hope that our list of grocery shopping savings tips will help you save some of your hard earned money. With a little pre-planning, a bit of browsing through flyers or flyer apps, and a little effort you can both save money AND eat like a king or queen.
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