With the cost of living in Canada getting more expensive by the day, grocery bills are on the increase more than ever which makes groceries a top expense in our family budget.
For a lot of people, saving money on food is crucial and especially a priority for those who have large families and pets.
Some people simply rely on coupons to put a hot meal on the table for their children and family.
Grocery coupons go a long way to helping to cut down the cost of food and household items, but there are also several other things you can do to save quite a bit of money in this area.
Combining the use of grocery coupons with effective meal planning is probably the most effective technique, and these are habits that can be learned just by making a few simple changes in your daily routine.
Making some simple sacrifices in the way you plan, shop and cook your food can substantially decrease your grocery bill if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Over the past couple of years I have worked towards making some simple changes to my shopping habits and now they’ve become part of my routine.
Changing Shopping Habits
Where should you begin?
Start by setting a goal… here’s how we did it.
I began by sitting down with my family and talking about how much we spend per month on groceries. An open and frank discussion about what money is being spent as well as what potential sacrifices could be made can go a long way to starting off in the right direction.
We also needed to answer the question, how much money should our grocery budget be?
It’s important to come to some compromises about what each family member might be willing to sacrifice or substitute and set a realistic goal of what you want to spend over the course of one month on grocery items.
- Talk about your eating habits, such as how often you eat at restaurants or fast food establishments.
- Get excited about the prospects of cooking more home-cooked, fresh foods which in itself should help to trim the grocery bill substantially.
My husband asked me not to use grocery coupons just because I had them in my grocery binder. Initially one of my downfalls when it came to couponing was to use coupons “for the sake of using coupons” on groceries although they do save us lots of money.
We just needed to scale it down and understand what we consumed for our family. I understood his point and we agreed to only redeem coupons for select items and most importantly, food or household items that we would use anyway. The remaining coupons would be traded for useful ones or donated.
How saving techniques worked for our family
This simple technique has proven to be very efficient for our grocery budget. Becoming active on coupon trains and swapping events really helps to accumulate more great coupons for healthy foods as well as meet new people and share stories and frugal tips.
Coupons are distributed by various companies all over Canada. What one city has another might not so trading coupons allows us to get coupons not available in our own city.
- The next step in saving money on your grocery bills is to really put your heads together and make a list of some simple switches that could be done which would save money and yet not leave you feeling too deprived on what you eat and drink.
Ways to save on Groceries
Below are some savings examples that my family uses to save money on groceries each week.
Bring a lunch
Pack (healthy) brown bag lunches to take to work and school instead of buying ready-made sandwiches or regularly visiting the vending machine for snacks or pop. You would be shocked to see how much money you spend over the course of a year if you eat lunch out every day.
If you consider the purchase of alcohol to be part of your monthly food budget then buy beer from the liquor store (look out for packs that are on sale) instead of drinking at the pub.
If you’re having a family gathering, have a “pot-luck” feast where everyone brings food, rather than going to a restaurant to dine and footing a huge bill
Cook hearty and cost-effective family meals such as lasagna, chili and shepherd’s pie and then freeze portions for later use. After a busy day, simply thaw, re-heat and serve with a delicious salad or vegetables.
Not only does it make a convenient family meal, but it will save the temptation of grabbing convenience food from the store. Savings begin at home so if you know how to cook or want to learn more about cooking don’t be afraid to put your apron on.
Before you shop at the supermarket, take some time to look at the online flyers of stores such as Wal-Mart, Safeway, Sobeys, Save on Foods and so on. You can also check out a new app called Flipp Flyers which has all your grocery flyers on your cell phone.
You are likely to find many items on sale which can help you to plan your shopping list accordingly. With a shopping list in hand, you will also be more likely to stick to your budget.
Never shop hungry
Shopping on an empty stomach is a big no-no if you want to save money. Most often people end up spending double what they typically would had they eaten before the went to the grocery store.
If you’ve already eaten then you can shop according to your list and not be dominated by your tempted taste buds. We’ve all made the mistake, just don’t make it a habit.
With these few simple grocery savings tips, you should be well on your way to saving money on your grocery bills.
What other grocery savings tips can you think of? Please leave me a comment as I’d love to read and learn your tips!
Contribution Post By:
Louise Fiolek is the author of CanadianCouponSaver.com, a website dedicated to helping Canadians save money with coupons, daily deals, free stuff and frugal living tips.
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- How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be? (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Knowing Your Prices Is The Key To Saving Money On Your Grocery Bill (canadianbudgetbinder.com)