A lot of the time I hear people say they can’t afford to eat healthy but I think that is a misconception. I spend less now that I ever did on groceries, but it took me years to really figure out how to save money AND be able to afford the food I want each week. In these tips I will show you how to save money without cutting out all your favourite foods, but rather offer you tips how you can maximize your dollars buying the products you already buy!! Last week I SAVED 85$ on my groceries because of these simple tips!
I hope you find them useful and PLEASE share this so your family and friends can save their own hard earned money too!
- Check your current stock.
How many times have you bought a product to get home to find out you had 3 more in the cupboard? I understand that some people like to have products on hand “in case” of emergencies. I respect that, but I urge you to not buy any additional canned or boxed food until you use up your supplies at home. How many of us have canned beans, canned soups, boxes of cereal, crackers, and more in our cupboards that just sit there? They all have expiry dates.
I was helping a client clean her cupboards a few weeks ago and we found over 50% of the food in her cupboards and fridge were expired by well over a year! Some products expired in 2011! She threw out over $200 in spoiled food! The rest of the products, well she didn’t have to buy cereal, crackers, cookies, cake mix for at least 6 months.
We are habitual people, and if we normally buy something, we will habitually add it into our grocery cart, even if we have 10 more at home.
By checking your current stock, you can use some of those canned beans, or oats in your meal plan for the week, thus saving you money!
SAVE EVEN MORE $$$: Every 2-3 months, I do not allow myself to buy any groceries until ALL the food in my freezer and cupboards is gone. It is a challenge but I usually don’t have to buy groceries for at least 2 weeks (with the exception of vegetables and eggs), and I find old recipes that I used to love. It gives me variety in my foods and gives me a chance to save some money!
- Plan Your Meals
i. One of the easiest ways to save money on food is to plan your meals and know exactly how much food you are going to need. This is also a bonus because if you are following a meal plan, or you have macronutrient goals to hit, planning will allow you to meet the criteria you need to be successful!
ii. It’s important to know how long food will be good for, CHECK EXPIRATION DATES! I was at the grocery store this morning looking at a product and the expiry date was tomorrow! The benefit of this is two fold- one, you can ask someone to mark it down- they will usually put a 50% off sticker on it (which is great if you plan on having it today or tomorrow), or you can choose to look through the selection and buy a different one with a later expiration date.
Based on a study in 2014 from Value Chain Management International, food waste costs the average Canadian family $86 per month. That’s over $1000 per year on food you throw out. Ouch. When you think of it, how many of us buy vegetables or fruit and they go bad and we toss them in the garbage? One or two apples doesn’t seem like much, but when it happens every week, it adds up.
- Create a grocery list.
I use My Fitness Pal to plan out my week, then I print the days off using the “View Printable Report” option at the bottom of the page. Then, I total up everything I need. For example, I used to always buy 4 or 5, but I use 1/2 a pear a day in my salad, so 3 will last me 6 days- there is no need for me to be buying 4-5 because they would go bad before I needed them the following week.
- Do not buy off your list.
If you created a list, there is nothing else you need! Have you ever grabbed a product on the shelf and tossed it into your cart without even thinking? Chances are, you are probably spending 5-10$ more every time you shop. Ask yourself this- how many times have you gone to get 1 thing from the grocery store and you left with a bag full? Grocery stores spend thousands of dollars on marketing to get you to buy 1 or 2 products extra a week that you don’t necessarily need. Think about it- even if you spend 5$ extra a week when you shop, (most people go to the store 2x a week), that’s 10$ extra dollars per week, that’s $520 a year in unnecessary stuff!
- Break the “If it’s on sale I need to buy it” mentality.
Those yellow “sale” stickers are meant to trigger impulse buys. This one hits home for me because I personally know someone who does this. If something is on sale, they will buy 10 of it, even if they don’t necessarily need it, AND have 10 already at home because they didn’t use the 10 they bought last time it was on sale. Right before I go to the cash, I go back through my cart and ask myself do I really need this? Was it on my list of things to buy? Do I already have this at home? If I don’t really need it, and it wasn’t on my list, and/or I already have one, or ten, at home, I give it to the cashier and tell her I don’t need it- You could say “I checked with my spouse at home and we already have this thanks!”
- Use “Flipp” to price-match
This is another BIG ONE. If you haven’t downloaded the FREE Flipp app, you NEED to download it NOW. Flipp combines all the local flyers into one convenient app, and lets you “clip” prices so you can always get the lowest price on the products you are looking for.
For example, I SAVED 85$ on Pork Tenderloin by using the Flipp app. Metro had it on for $1.35/kg, and that’s over a 7$ savings per kg! I bought 4 pork tenderloins for 12$! That’s 4$ per tenderloin!!! Normally, even at Costco, you would pay 25-35$ for 4. Using Flipp every time I shop, I typically save 10-20% on my grocery bill.
To price match meat: Take the package of meat to the deli counter, show them the advertised price at another store, and then they re-sticker it! It’s so easy! (And to save 85$, I bought 8 packages of pork tenderloin, and brought them home to put in the freezer)
To price match any other product and/or food: Show your Flipp app coupon at the cash and the cashier will manually over-ride the price!
Download the FREE Flipp from the iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id725097967?mt=8&&referrer=click%3D80ff75bd-a04c-42ee-ba59-33cd3d5fdfb2
Download the FREE Flipp app on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wishabi.flipp&referrer=ts%3D501272b6-5975-11e5-8467-f23c9150ea16
**Not every grocery store price matches so be sure your efforts do not go to waste and shop at a grocery store that does! I have found in my area, Loblaws (Superstore) and Walmart both price match. If you are doing a regular shopping trip, it pays to drive the extra distance to save!**
- Watch for sales on foods and/or products you buy frequently.
I NEVER buy toilet paper when it’s not on sale! I will wipe with leaves LOL (just kidding!) Same with paper towel, tissue paper, toothpaste, cleaning products, etc. Typically most products are on either a 4 week or 6 week sale cycle. When I buy them, I plan how much I will need to last me minimum until the next sale and buy accordingly. Some things like household cleaners you won’t need to buy as frequently, and may only need 3-5 bottles total per year.
The same goes with meat. I do buy organic, free-range meat as often as possible and I watch out for the 30% off stickers on the meat that is usually “expiring” in a few days. I either cook some immediately or I will put them in the freezer to prolong their life. I love shrimp but I NEVER pay full price for it. Every 4 weeks it comes on $7.01 off a bag, so it’s 6.99, rather than $15.99 a bag, and I will stock up. You CAN afford great quality food if you know when and how to buy it, and often times it is cheaper than the regular product when it is on sale.
- Watch for TAX-FREE days/ In Store Bonus Coupons
Every so often, a Tax-Free Day will pop up! These are great times to use your Flipp app and double dip on your savings! Buy all your non-produce foods and household products on these days to save the tax, AND use your Flipp app for the store to pricematch the best price in town!
Also, be aware of other in store coupons! For example, every 3 weeks the Bulk Barn has a $3 off coupon when you spend a minimum of $10. I buy my Explore Asia Black Bean Pasta from there, so when it’s on sale, I will buy 3, and it’s basically like getting 1 free! Not a bad deal at all since I was going to buy it anyways!
- Know your prices!
I LOVE asparagus, and I will buy it every week when it’s in season for $1.99/LB. I very rarely buy it out of season, when it’s $3.49/LB, or even as high as $4.99/LB. I also love green beans, and I do buy these out of season, frozen. If you check on the labels of frozen food, you will see many of it has been flash frozen, and it’s a product of Canada! AND often times these frozen vegetables go on sale! Cha-ching! Do you hear that??? That’s the sound of you saving money!!!
- Be part of a rewards program.
Many stores know people want to save money, and if they can save them money they will are more likely to shop at their store than another. Some stores have gone above regular savings to offer rewards programs if you shop with them. I am a PC Plus member, which means weekly I get emails offering me “points” on the food I already buy- even more incentive to buy them! For example, this week I got an email telling me I get 600 bonus points for buying the clamshell Salad mix I already buy- 600 points is equivalent to 60 cents, but hey, I buy 2-3 a week, giving me $1.80 back, that’s $93.60 a year back on salad that I am already buying, and that is JUST one product! Imagine the savings on everything else!
Last year I earned over $600 in FREE groceries with the PC Plus Program.
I truly hope you have found these tips to be beneficial to you and your family!
If you did, I would greatly appreciated if you could take a moment and “share” this with your friends and family!
Everyone always tells me it is expensive to eat healthy but I truly believe with a little effort, you can afford to eat healthy and save money! I’m sure you also noticed I didn’t say anything about actually cutting out on any of the food you buy- but rather offered tips how you can maximize your dollars buying the products you already buy!
What would you do with an extra $2500 a year?