The Canada Food Price Report predicts that the average family will pay an extra $487 more on groceries in 2020 than they did last year. The report outlines a 4-6% increase in the cost of meat, a 2-4% increase for seafood, vegetables and restaurant meals, a 1.5-3.5% rise in the cost of fruit and a 1-3% increase to dairy products.
This may seem like a difficult increase to manage, but there are some easy strategies to reduce your bill when you’re rolling to the checkout.
Go in with a plan – Meal planning is key to keeping within budget when you go to the grocery store. Make a list of what you have and think about how you can use leftovers and unused ingredients for the next meal.
Get to know food prices – Write down the regular prices of food that you buy often. This will help you understand what sale prices are worth it and allows you to compare prices at other stores. If items are overpriced, buy the very minimum you need to get through until your next grocery run. If an item is on sale and won’t spoil, stock up!
Buy in season or frozen –
Buy fruit when it is in season locally and buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables otherwise. They have the same nutrition and work just as well when cooking.
Make sure to buy fruit at different stages of ripeness so that you don’t waste it. This should also give you enough produce to last you until your next shopping trip.
Do the periphery and look high and low – Common items such as fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meat and eggs and lower fat dairy products can be found around the edge of the store. Some of the inside aisles will have whole grain products, beans, nuts, and seeds. Try to avoid the impulse aisles such as the pop, cookie and candy aisle.
More expensive items will be shelved at eye level. The more affordable options will be on higher or lower shelves, so keep this in mind while shopping.
Buy from bulk bins – The bulk bins are great for ingredients such as dried herbs, spices, rice, pasta, flour and even whole grains. It allows you to buy the amount you need so you don’t have to purchase in excess.
Try not to buy pre-cut food – You are paying a large premium when you buy pre-cut veggies and fruit. Buying produce and cutting it at home saves a lot of money.
Make your own meals – Whenever possible, making your own meal is less expensive than buying ready-to-eat, prepared meals. It may be intimidating to make everything from scratch, but there are simple and delicious meals that will save you a lot of money compared to buying prepared sauces and mixes. Good and Cheap is a great resource to get you started.
Once you’ve made some recipes a couple times, it gets easier and takes less time. You can also freeze what you have for future meals! Good and Cheap is a great
Make use of the lentil and bean – Lentils and beans are cheap, are conveniently available dried or canned and are high in protein and fibre. You can even hide them in cookies and other baked goods to add a boost of protein! These ingredients are also great to add to meat meals, both for flavour and nutritional value.
Choose store brands – No-name brands provide the same nutrition at a cheaper price. When you can, purchase the store brand product for things such as cereal, pasta, vegetables and canned goods.
Don’t shop hungry – When you shop hungry, you tend to buy items that appeal to your appetite instead of what’s on your list.
Sticking to your food budget can be hard, but Momentum is here to offer support. Register for our free Money Management workshops to learn about budgeting, saving, banking and more!