6 strategies to save on your next purchase

A little planning and a little time can save you money on every trip to the store

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The pinch that comes with every trip to the grocery store is undeniable. In May of this year, the price of food increased by 9.7 percent and more than two in five Canadians say they have been affected by rising costs.

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With inflation affecting the prices of everyday products, it’s more than welcome to find ways to save money on your grocery bill.

From planning ahead to shopping for “ugly food,” here are some tips to help you cut your costs the next time you hit the grocery store.

Shop as needed

It is estimated that the average Canadian household wastes about $1,300 on food each year. If you live near a grocery store or market, consider buying the meat, fruits, and vegetables you need as needed.

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This is an ideal setting for people who may be walking to a store or passing through a market on their way home from work. Buying only the fresh items you need for a meal when you need them ensures that no food goes bad in your fridge, saving you money.

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meal planning

You have to eat every day. By planning ahead what you are going to have for meals, you not only save time, but also reduce the risk of wasting food.

That’s not to say meal planning isn’t an effort. Trying to figure out meals for an entire week takes time, and preparing meals ahead of time takes even longer.

But with a little strategy, you can streamline your meals for the week and make your life a whole lot simpler.

When weekly grocery flyers become available, take a look at what’s on sale. You might be inspired to cook a particular cut of meat or a good vegan dish based on what you find.

Even if there’s nothing immediately obvious you’d like to cook, you can do an Internet search for recipes that involve a combination of items that are on sale.

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Come up with some meal ideas for the week and figure out how much you and your family will need to eat. Be sure to think about leftovers, too: cooking extra food just takes a little more effort, but it saves you time in the long run.

When you’ve figured out what you need for your weekly meals, make a shopping list. If you can, include the price of the items you saw on the flyer. This will help ensure you get the best price on groceries when you go to the store.

After you’ve planned your meals and headed to the grocery store, keep these tips in mind:

  • Many grocery stores offer price matching. If you see a discount in a brochure for one store but not another, take the brochure with you when you shop. Often they will adjust the price at the checkout for you.

  • Pay attention to the prices. While the brochure may feature a particular cut of meat, for example, it’s sometimes more affordable to purchase a family-size format of the same cut of meat. Just make sure you have a plan to use it, or space in your freezer to store the extra.

  • Be on the lookout for generic brands. While name-brand products may be on sale, you can often get a better price if you buy a competitor’s product.

  • If you see a great deal on an item at the grocery store, buy it. Meats can be put in the freezer for future use, or an entire meal can be cooked and put in the freezer for a day when you don’t have time to cook.

  • Avoid processed fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to the price differences between pre-cut and whole fruits and vegetables. Sliced ​​vegetables and fruits can save you time in the kitchen, but they tend to be more expensive. Taking a few extra minutes to cut produce yourself can help lower your grocery bill.

  • If you can, when you get home from the grocery store, cook your meals right away. This way, you will have used all the items that could go bad if you leave them in the fridge. You can freeze any food that you don’t intend to eat right away.

  • To optimize your time in the kitchen, try preparing ingredients for multiple recipes at the same time. For example, if two meals call for green peppers, prepare the peppers for both recipes simultaneously.

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Consider food ‘ugly’

If you’ve ever tried to grow your own vegetables, you know that homegrown produce rarely looks as perfect as the ones you find at the grocery store. However, despite appearances, he tastes the same.

Appearances are important in grocery stores – they want what they sell to look appealing so you’ll be inspired to buy it. But what about the fruits and vegetables that look a little bad?

Some grocery stores offer “imperfect” or irregularly shaped products at a cheaper price than their more uniform counterparts. This is a great way to save some money when you’re at the grocery store, so be sure to keep an eye out for these deals.

Different regions also offer “ugly food” vendors – one-stop shops for discount food. For example, in Montreal, Second Life offers such a service, or if you’re in southwestern Ontario, you can try FoodFund.

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Several grocery stores have also partnered with Flashfood, an app that lets you shop for imperfect or soon-to-expire groceries at your local store.

frozen products

Did you know that frozen fruits and vegetables have almost the same nutritional value as fresh ones?

And not only are they just as nutritious, they’re often cheaper.

Stocking up on frozen items is an easy way to lower your grocery bill while making sure you can still create healthy meals.

Frozen products have the added benefit of being incredibly easy to prepare. No need to worry about wasting time cleaning and chopping vegetables, just open the package, heat it up and you’re good to go.

cooking at home

You may be tempted to buy prepared meals when you’re at the grocery store, or to skip shopping altogether and get a takeout.

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If you’re trying to cut back on your spending, this is a habit you need to break as soon as possible.

By preparing your own meals at home, you can not only save money, but also control the nutritional value of what you’re making. Choose ingredients that have more nutritional value, and when you’re cooking, prepare more food than you need for a meal. Leftovers go a long way.

If you’re a novice cook, start with simple recipes you find online or in a cookbook. As you get more comfortable, start experimenting with recipes, adding and removing ingredients to create a new dish.

Once you get the hang of cooking a few things, you’ll find it’s easy to create a new flavor. Not only is it fun to experiment with dishes, but it also helps keep you from getting tired of cooking the same thing over and over again.

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During the pandemic, you may have gotten used to ordering your purchases online. While this can be a convenient way to get your shopping done and avoid the crowds, it keeps you from hunting for the best deal at the grocery store.

Apps don’t always feature every item a grocery store has, and some special offers may not be available through the app.

Going to the store in person allows you to select the most affordable item available and increase or decrease the amount of food you get. With the cost of fresh vegetables rising 10.3% in May, according to Statistics Canada, being able to select exactly how many produce you get can save a few dollars on your bill.

To avoid crowds, you can try shopping outside of peak hours, such as going to the supermarket first thing in the morning or just before it closes.

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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