Groceries are a major part of household expenses. In fact, the average monthly grocery bill for Canadian households is $214 per person according to Statistics Canada. What’s worse is that this price is expected to rise.
In December 2020, it was announced that food prices were expected to rise at the fastest pace in a decade. According to Canada’s 2021 Food Price Report, rising bread, meat and vegetable prices are expected to lead the overall food price increase of three to five per cent. This means that the average Canadian family will pay up to an extra $695 for food in 2021. For an average family of four, that means an annual grocery bill of $13,907.
With sky-high grocery bills, it can make saving difficult. Finding ways to cut back on your grocery bill can help contribute to your bottom line. Here are some tips for how to save money on groceries.
- Go on a cash diet. If you tend to buy everyday items with credit cards, you should try to give this habit up immediately. With a credit card in hand, your mind will be automatically geared to how much the credit card company will let you spend, and not how much you can actually afford. As a result, you will often buy more than what you need. Going on a cash diet will ensure that you only spend the amount budgeted for groceries each month.
- Grow your vegetables at home. If you have a backyard, an open rooftop or extra space in your home, you can turn it into a vegetable garden. Many vegetables, including tomatoes, lettuce and eggplants happily grow if you give them a little care. If you don’t have an outdoor garden, you can grow them in flowerpots on the windowsill. Home-grown vegetables can help you save money on groceries in a big way, especially as the prices on these products are set to rise.
- Reduce non-essential items. Make a list of all the items you buy and put them under two headings: essential and non-essential. This will give you an idea of how much you’ve been wasting money on non-essential items like sugary treats, convenience and frozen foods. Cut out or reduce the number of non-essential items starting on your next shopping trip. You will immediately notice a difference on the bill.
- Reduce the number of shopping trips. The more you go to the grocery store, the more likely you are to give in to impulse buying. Aim to reduce the number of shopping trips down to once or twice a month by planning your meals ahead of time. You’ll know exactly what you need to buy and how much because you’ve made a list. Plus, you’ll save money on gas by not making multiple trips to the store each week.
- Take advantage of sales: A good way to save money on groceries is to buy during sales. Scan your weekly flyers in advance to discover where the sales are going to take place. Make sure to buy only the items that are on sale, have a considerable discount, and that you will use. You can use this opportunity to stock up on items that do not spoil, such as canned foods and other non-perishable items.
If you’re finding it difficult to save money, pay your bills, and manage your debt, talk to one of our credit counselling specialists who can help you develop a budget.