Tips to help you shop smartly without sacrificing quality
Whatever size your grocery budget is, food isn’t cheap—especially if you like to eat well. We all want to be smart shoppers and save big when it comes to food, but who wants to sacrifice quality?
Eating good, healthy food is important. When budgets are squeezed, there are plenty of ways to shop smartly without leaving healthy, quality food items behind.
15 ways to easily stretch your grocery budget
Buy seasonal produce
It’s hard to break away from your favourite fruits and vegetables, but focusing on seasonal produce can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
It’s also a great way to try new fruits and vegetables, and get a little creative with your cooking.
Grow your own food
Growing your own food can be as simple as a pot of fresh herbs on your windowsill to a couple of raised beds along your driveway.
Focus on growing food that your family loves to eat, and food that is relatively easy to grow without the greenest of thumbs (like lettuce, tomatoes, and strawberries).
Plan your meals
Without a plan for it, food often gets pushed to the back of the fridge and remains unused in the pantry. Avoid wasting food with a little food planning.
Meal planning is a practical way to plan what groceries you need each week, and how you’re going to use each ingredient. It’s also a great way to get smart about using leftover ingredients from one recipe to the next.
Stick to the list
Make a list of food items and stick to it. This is where meal planning comes in handy, making sure that you’re buying only what you need for a week of meals and snacks.
Use what you have
Check your fridge, freezer, pantry before making your list. Be sure to include the items you have in your meal plan, and shop accordingly. For example, if you have leftover grilled chicken in the fridge or freezer, use it in another meal before buying more chicken.
Love those leftovers
Leftovers are budget-friendly and really help with those busy weeknight activities. Planning your meals and cooking large batches of food will create tasty leftovers that can be used for lunch or dinner the next day, or frozen for another time altogether.
Check out the bulk aisle for better prices on basic pantry items that you routinely use. Store bulk items in glass jars and label them clearly.
It’s important to know that your favourite grocer has good turnover on the bulk items so that you’re always buying fresh items. This is especially important with beans, lentils, and oats.
Shop at a variety of stores to get what you want and save money. Get to know the stores in your area with the best prices on household items (like toilet paper, cleaning products, and coffee), and be willing to make trips to more than one store. Just be sure that you don’t spend a lot of extra gas money trying to save grocery money.
Shop for sales
Browsing grocery store flyers, clipping coupons, and shopping sales never hurts when it comes to stretching dollars.
Shopping store brands rather than name brands is also a great budget choice. And often just as tasty!
Don’t shop hungry
Fuel up with a snack before shopping to avoid all the hunger-induced impulse items.
Pick your priorities
When it comes to buying organic or not, it’s good to know how safe your fruits and vegetables are. Buying organic is expensive, so using the list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 as guides are a great way to prioritize which organic produce should be in your cart.
Control the portions
Portion control is good for your waistline and your budget! You don’t have to eat it all just because you made more than you need for one meal. Save it for the next day, or label and freeze it.
When you choose meat and fish, read the labels according to weight and shop for serving size. One adult serving of meat and fish is roughly 3 ounces. Visually, that’s the size of the palm of your hand. Fill the rest of your plate with healthy vegetables, and save the meat for your next meal.
Modern technology and busy lives has many people opting to shop for groceries online. Online shopping is a great way to buy only what you need and pick-up without the hassle of pushing your cart through endless isles—tossing in a whole lot of what you don’t need.
Check the local stores in your area to see what your options are, and give it a go! You might be pleasantly surprised that you prefer shopping from home.
Invest in food boxes
Becoming a member of a local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) is a great way to get a tasty, fresh, and diverse selection of produce to pick-up—or delivered right to your door depending on where you live. Using a seasonal CSA removes items from your weekly grocery list, supports local farms, and helps you bring quality food to your table.
Eat at home more often
Eating out regularly adds up. To save money, make a solid effort to cook more meals at home and use the leftovers for lunch the next day.
If you do choose to eat out, we have a healthy, budget-friendly menu that will keep a smile on your face and money in the bank.