Grocery Shopping Tips | Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

Top Ten Ways to Cut your Grocery Budget

Play The Grocery Game Challenge and Save Money!

Looking back at 2011, the first four months of our grocery budget was completely out of control, but that was our own fault. Although we were getting amazing deals, we never stuck to the budget because we were using coupons more than we needed to. We went from spending over $500 a month on groceries to our 2012 goal of $192.78.

One thing we learned it was OK to let coupons expire and that we didn’t need to get everything even if it only required us to pay the tax. You see, over time all those little amounts that seem like nothing at the time, all add up. With only 2 people to feed we believe we can easily meet this goal. The problem comes when there is a really good deal or a 20x Shoppers Optimum points events.

We also like to keep our eyes peeled for all those discount pink stickers and reduced to clear shopping carts filled with discontinued products. We scan our favourite spots in certain stores to find shelves that have marked down merchandise and so can you! Over time you get to know where in a store they will put all the marked down items for sale.

If you are someone who complains that you are spending too much money on food you need to understand why first and then do something about it. You can still eat healthy on a limited budget depending on where you live in Canada and I proved that when I challenged myself to live on $26 a week in the Welfare food challenge in 2012.

Don’t be a grocery store snob either because most shops even if they are discount grocery stores carry the same products as the higher end pricier grocery stores. If you don’t have a personal budget set up you need one of those as well so you can document where all the money is going. Cutting your grocery budget takes time, practice and knowing your prices is also key to start saving money on groceries in Canada.

If you are in a relationship you must work together for this to happen because putting all the work on one person is only setting the budget up to fail. We all have different reasons for buying the food that we do and determining how much your grocery budget should be in accordance with your health and lifestyle is likely going to lead you towards money savings  that you never thought were possible.

Top Ten Ways to Cut Your Grocery Budget
  1. Play The Grocery Game Challenge each week here at Canadian Budget Binder. Join other fans who have lowered their grocery budget just by posting their shop.
  2. Shop early in the morning or later in the evening- We find the best deals early in the morning or late at night before a shop closes.  Never rush when you grocery shop.
  3. Eat before you grocery shop- If we don’t eat before we shop everything looks tasty and becomes potential bait for overspending.
  4. Plan your grocery shop with a list- We like to search the flyers to see what is on sale to plan our weekly meals.
  5. Stick to the outer limits of the grocery store if possible– We like to cook from scratch with fresh meats and vegetables so staying away from the centre aisles tend to keep us away from temptation. There are times when you simply have to go down these aisles so just stick to the plan!
  6. Check all the Cheap/Discount racks for deals-The first place we head is the discount racks. Get to know where they are in your stores. Also keep an eye out for reduced product stickers or % off stickers. All this is money in your pocket.
  7. Learn the regular pricing on products-  It helps to know the reg price on products so you instantly know whether you are getting a good deal .
  8. Shop 3 weeks out of the month- We decided to put temptation on the shelf for one week a month to cut down on unnecessary purchases.
  9. Buy in bulk- If it’s a good sale and I know it won’t go on sale for a while we will buy in bulk. If we can pair the sale wit a coupon it’s a no-brainer for us.
  10. Use coupons and points programs- Whenever possible use Canadian coupons with flyer specials on any reduced products. We also like to take advantage of the many points programs available. There is also Checkout51 now that you can use with your IPhone to get additional savings on everyday products you love.
  11. Scanning Code of Practice- Learn about SCOP as this can save you money. Have you ever had an item scan higher than what it read on the shelf? If so and the store participates in SCOP that item could either be FREE or $10.00 cheaper than what you should pay.  Not many people are aware of this. Look for signs  at store entry ways and at the cash where you scan your debit and credit cards.

What are some other tips you have for cutting your Grocery Budget?

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  1. I usually do try to have something to eat before I go to get groceries. I always have my list and I have found the discount spot at No Frills for baked goods!!! I scan the meat for reduced stickers. The biggest one is to leave hubby at home!!! Sorry Mr CBB, but that boy doesn’t listen to the word NO!!! I try very hard to use up leftovers and to get every one here to eat healthy, not always easy….

  2. My favorite grocery lowering tip is to get rain checks when there is a good deal, hold them for when you need the item so you purchase at a sale price. I have a couple of grocery loyalty cards that I am never going to have enough points to get anything we really want in their rewards program. I have decided that I am going to discuss with hubby possibly using the points to get free groceries. The cash can stay in our pocket and earning interest. 😀

    1. Since this post you and I have talked about your rain cheques in the grocery game challenge because it was something I really didn’t think about before but it’s a brilliant way to save money. Smart thinking Mary!

  3. We have noticed that by couponing and learning what the average prices are on items we save HUGE amounts on our grocery bill. Although couponing is tedious we have found that the juice is worth the squeeze, we were able to purchase our regular shampoo for $.25/bottle and purchased enough to last us for the next two years!

    1. We don’t mind stocking up on health and beauty as it will last where food, not so much. Today I picked up 17 cans of deodorant for $0.50 a can reg $2.67 and will last me over a year. It all makes sense to coupon once you get the hang of it, control of the spending, and knowing the prices. Thanks for dropping in!

  4. Eating before grocery shopping seems like such a little thing, but it has definitely help me resist the temptation! That’s a great list, Mr. CBB.

    So I was helping my mom pack up her groceries over the weekend when I hear her mention to the cashier that the price she rang in was incorrect. My ears immediately perked up as she called to get a price check. Once I hear that it was indeed incorrect, I was immediately by her side asking for SCOP for 2 of the items as they had unique UPC codes; I saved her $6. It was such a rush and made my weekend. 😛

    1. No, not at all. We do try to eat alot of vegetables with fish and some meat. I think the wife didn’t really eat meat before we got together unless her family cooked it when she went for a visit. Are you vegetarian?

      1. No – I like meat. Not eating as much fish as I used to since I’ve been finding my fish on sale sketchy. It smells fine, then I cook it and it tastes terrible (as in not so fresh!).

  5. Thankyou Fran Robson for recommending this site. I had not heard of it before and there a lot of great hints. The tips of staying in the outer limits of the store work very well when you are shopping with children. They usually won’t ask for what they don’t see. Thanks Mr.CBB.

    1. Typically all the dairy and fresh produce is on the outter limits so unless you need to trickle in to temptation, stay away lol. Canadian Budget Binder was created with saving money for the average Canadian family in mind. I hope you enjoy your stay here Donna and have the opportunity to challenge yourself with the budget challenge or grocery challenge. Cheers Mr. CBB

  6. Good tips! We find that if you know your prices it really helps. We also check the the unit price to compare different sizes to find the best deal. Not every store lists those, so we have to do the calculations ourselves sometimes.

    1. It took me a while to learn the pricing but once you know it’s like second nature. You can decide quickly whether a product is a good deal or not. I’m not sure knowing pricing is for everyone but for hard core savers like us it makes sense. We also check unit price to sizing as well something most people fail to recognize, good point. Thanks for posting. 🙂

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