Rising food prices have forced us to tighten our grocery budgets and carefully consider what we buy at the grocery store. According to the 2023 Canada's Food Price Report, food prices have increased 10.3% over the last year. With food inflation on a continuous rise, it's important to learn the different ways you can save at the cash register. While we have limited control over the forces that cause rising food prices, there are a number of ways to maximize your grocery budget.
Create Grocery Lists and Meal Plans
The most important tip is to always go into a grocery store with a plan. Before visiting a store, create a grocery list that corresponds with the meals you are planning to prepare in the coming week. Think about what you want to cook and add the ingredients to your grocery list. This will help ensure that you have all of the necessary ingredients to prepare meals throughout the week.
Establish a Grocery Budget
Establishing a grocery budget will help you become consistent in how much you spend on groceries. To determine your grocery budget, take a look at your previous receipts. How much do you usually spend on necessities? How much do you spend on snacks? If you want to spend less, identify some of the higher priced items on your receipt. Are they a staple in your pantry? Are there cheaper alternatives you can explore? Once you set a budget, create a habit of tracking how much you spend at the grocery store to stick to your goal.
Discover Couponing and Food Rescue Apps
Creating a grocery budget will only get you so far with the rising cost of food. Couponing can help you find ways to cut the prices of groceries. Explore couponing platforms like Tasty Rewards, Simply Frugal, and Canadian Free Stuff to find and print coupons. To redeem, be sure to read the product eligibility and print to claim in store.
Get Comfortable With Price Matching
Price matching at the grocery store is not a new concept, but it is a tried and tested tip that will help you regularly reduce your spending. Platforms like Flipp (available in browser and as an app) will help you view and keep track of weekly grocery store flyers. You can use the search bar to look up the prices of ingredients and find where they are currently sold the cheapest. Large grocery store chains like Nofrills, FreshCo, Giant Tiger, and Real Canadian Superstore will let you price match with other local grocery stores. To price match, show the cashier the flyer of the competing grocery store with the lower price and ask them to match the price.
Start Using Cashback Apps
Did you know that there are many apps that give you money back on your grocery receipts? Apps like Checkout 51, Eclipsa, Caddle, and Ampli give you money back on certain items. To get cashback, purchase the featured item at a grocery store of your choice, upload the receipt to the app, and watch your balance grow.
Buy Generic Names
In Canadian grocery stores, some of the most popular generic options include "No Name," "Irresistible," and "Compliments." Generic brands will always be cheaper than other names, but this does not mean that they are worse in quality. In fact, generic products are produced for grocery stores by some of the biggest names in the food industry. For most products, the only difference between generic and brand name is the packaging. Buying generic, will help you save a few dollars that you would otherwise be spending on branding.
Most large grocery chains have a points rewards program that lets you collect points on items you buy in the store. Some of the well known points programs include PC Optimum, Scene+, and Airmiles. Rewards members receive perks like access to exclusive lower prices and additional points that can be redeemed for free groceries.
Want more tips? Checkout the below reads on how you can stretch your grocery budget.