Winter Months Grocery Shopping Survival Guide

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Grocery shopping during winter needs to begin with a survival guide to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Today, I’m going to run down some of the most important savings survival tips to keep shopping stress-free and affordable.

winter months of grocery shopping savings survival guide
Grocery Shopping During The Winter Months

Keep Your Grocery Savings Coming In All Winter Long

Grocery shopping during the summer is far easier than in winter when temperatures reach below zero.

However, just because the seasons change, that doesn’t mean your grocery budget needs to change as well.

I know that some of you who despise winter grocery shopping might let your guard down hunting for savings because you want to get it over with.

Trust me, I’ve been there but can’t afford to spend more than our grocery budget allows.

These days there are many options when it comes to grocery shopping, but they come with a price. 

You can have groceries delivered to your house, or you can drive to the grocery store, and someone will provide an online order to your car. 

I don’t know about you, but I see the white stuff falling from the sky on the first day of winter.

The last thing we enjoy doing is grocery shopping during the winter months in Canada. However, we live here and must endure the change in season like the rest of the population.

It’s not so bad, though, as long as you are prepared to freeze your butt off, but battling the elements can be challenging for those new to Canada like I once was.

I was NOT used to the snow we get in Canada, so on the first day of winter, I had to learn how to be prepared for situations such as a grocery store or work and back trip.

There were times I’d go after school on the city bus to the grocery store to pick up a few staples, and I wasn’t ready for the slush, broken bags, and having nowhere to sit.

Alternate Grocery Shopping Plans

No matter where you go during the winter months, it’s essential to have a plan B in mind before you head out, just in case things go wrong.

No one wants to be stranded in the cold, especially if you have kids along for your grocery shopping trip, and even worse if you’re walking.

After we became parents, it was apparent that we needed to plan our grocery shopping adventures wisely because we have to as parents.

Leaving the kids with parents, friends, or relatives might help, but not all parents have this option, nor do they want to bother people for chores such as grocery shopping.

If you have older people in your area or those with disabilities who could use help or a ride to the grocery store, they may appreciate that.

My mother-in-law has some great neighbors who constantly check in on her to see if she needs anything or take her along for the ride.

An email from a fan prompted me to consider this post about grocery shopping during the winter months because she is now a single mom living in an apartment building without a vehicle.

Grocery Shopping During The Winter Months

Dear Mr. CBB,

I’ve gone from living in a beautiful home with my ex-husband to living in an apartment with our 5-year-old son and no vehicle.

I depended on my husband to drive us everywhere, and now we are on our own.

The grocery store is about a 20-minute walk up the street, and to be honest, the winter months scare me because I’m not sure how I will fare with a child in tow.

Do you or your readers have any tips to help me grocery shop and save a month this winter without having transportation?

P.S. I bought a double stroller, so I could pack groceries into one side.


Heather K.

Toronto, Ontario

1. Bring Heavy Shopping Bags

Hands up if you’ve ever had a plastic grocery bag break on you and products rolling around the ground.

Yes, I have, a few times.

Nowadays, almost every grocery store charges for plastic or paper shopping bags, so unless you want to pay for them, bring some.

The main reason for this trip is that plastic bags in the winter are horrible, especially if you are walking.

Try not to picture yourself on the ground in the wet, cold snow picking up your groceries strewn all over the place because a plastic bag broke.

Source fabric shopping bags that are easy to carry and strong enough to handle heavy items.

These bags are essential, especially if you have to walk, take the bus, taxi, Uber, train, subway, or bike with groceries for long distances.

A quick trip to any second-hand shop, and you can find loads of shopping bags for cheap, or check the cash registers at most grocery stores as they will sell them for a dollar or two each.

That can get pricey; however, remember they are meant to last so that you won’t be buying them each time you grocery shop.

2. Stockpile While The Price Is Right

If you don’t drive and have a ride once in a while, stock up on what you need, especially if it is on sale.

You can still shop the loss leaders and get ahead of yourself even if you have to cut back on other items, such as snacks that you can do without.

Related: Stocking up for Winter

I suggest doing this all year because if you start early and have space it’s easy to build a pantry or stockpile that can last you through the winter months.

Related: FlashFood Order Reduced Products Online From Loblaws Stores

3. Plan Your Meals 

I’ve always talked about meal planning and stocking your pantry on the blog to stay ahead of schedule.

During the winter months, if you can plan your meals further ahead than one week, that’s even better.

During the winter months, when you may struggle to get out for groceries having that plan B in place (a second or third-week meal plan) is essential.

We even go as far as frozen milk, bread, and butter which are staples in our house, so we know that we’ve got them in the freezer over the winter months.

You can even prepare summer fruits and vegetables for freezing, canning, or dehydration, so you have an entire stock of products to choose from if a winter storm keeps you home and the pantry is slim.

Another tip is to cook and bake in bulk, then freeze meals so they are ready during a winter storm when you can’t get out of the house to grocery shop.

4. Watch The Weather Forecast

It’s essential to ensure you have all the storm essentials before you leave home during the winter months, even if it’s a quick trip to the grocery store.

The weather during the winter can change rapidly, so just because it seems nice out it can turn nasty relatively fast.

Related: Winter Vehicle Maintenance Tips

This means you are prepared for a winter storm while grocery shopping, so you don’t come out and find your car buried in snow but now snow brush to help remove the white fluff.

Keep a bottle of lock-de-icer handy in your jacket or purse because you never know when it will come in handy.

Plus, ensure all of your vehicle fluids are topped up. There’s nothing worse than salt on your vehicle windows and nothing to wash it off with.

Ensuring that you have winter tires is a priority and a full tank of gas for situations where you may be stuck on the roads for long periods due to traffic or accidents.

The last thing you want is no heat in your vehicle.

If you walk or take the bus during winter, ensure that you dress for the weather.

Trekking through the snow will be a struggle, especially when sidewalks might not be plowed or shoveled.

5. Order Online For Pickup Or Delivery

If you can’t make it out of the house over the winter months to get groceries, have limited time, or deal with kids who aren’t thrilled with grocery shopping, utilize other means.

Although most grocery stores that offer home delivery or pickup grocery shopping might cost a few dollars, these services are provided at the most expensive grocery stores.

It’s important always to check your prices and to purchase what you need according to your grocery budget.

However, if you are close to Wal-Mart, they have an online shop and grocery pickup service, which is convenient for anyone, especially during the winter months.

It goes something like this at Wal-Mart Canada.

Note: Rules can change anytime, so always visit the Wal-Mart website for the most updated version.

FREE* Pickup

Shop on your own schedule and put time back in your day with FREE Pickup.

We’ll bring your order right to your car when you pick it up at your local Wal-Mart.

Let us know when you’re on your way with one tap.

Check in before you get to the store using the Wal-Mart app and we’ll have your order ready when you arrive.

Easily browse from a vast assortment of fresh, local and natural food.

Shop where, when and how you want with 24-hour shopping and everyday low prices.

Enjoy in store Pickup. It’s quick and convenient. Spend a minimum of $50 (before taxes & applicable fees). (Note this may change based on the time this blog post was written)

Walmart Canada

Take The Anxiety Out Of Winter Grocery Shopping

I hope this answers your question and you find value in this blog post.

Don’t stress about it; prepare for the winter months of grocery shopping, and continue researching your options.

Discussion: What other tips do you have for Heather, who needs help grocery shopping during the winter months?

Please leave your comments below, and thanks for stopping by to read CBB.

For even more tips on grocery savings, start reading my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Savings Guide for Canada.


November 2018 Grocery Game Challenge

Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC), but before you do, read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule, which includes new prizes!

Last Shop from October – Food Odours And Low-Cost Ways To Rid Of Them

2018 Grocery Shop Results

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • P.C. Optimum Points to Spend: 3,600,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Checkout51– $1.50

Our Grocery Shop This Week


  • 2 x corned beef sale $1.99 $3.98
  • 2 x Stevia Sweetener  $4.54 each – 50% $4.54
  • NN Sour Cream $2.49
  • 2 x large eggs $2.27 $4.54
  • Nu Pasta Fettuccine $3.99
  • Nu Pasta Angel Hair $3.99
  • 1lb Radishes $2.49
  • PC beet slaw $3.89-50% $1.95
  • PC mushrooms $2.49-50% $1.40
  • PC green beans $3.99-50% $2.00
  • Yellow onions $1.79
  • Bananas $1.57
  • One orange $0.85
  • One lemon $0.69
  • Green onions $1.29
  • Ginger root $1.10
  • Romaine Lettuce $2.69
  • PC Chicken breasts $9.53-50% $4.78

Total out-of-pocket $46.13

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One Comment

  1. When I was car free, I found a back pack worked better that shopping bags. I found I could carry more groceries and it was easier on my back. It also forced me to stick to my budget because if it didn’t fit in the bag, it couldn’t come home with me. I did, however, shop more frequently, usually making a pit stop for fresh groceries on my way home. I was lucky that I lived in Calgary at the time and there were several grocery stores right off the train I took to get home. About once a month or so, I would order groceries online to be delivered to my house. That’s when I would order big bags of potatoes, rice, flour, and sugar. No one wants to sluff a 10 pound bag of potatoes home on the bus in a blizzard!
    Hope that helps.

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