Grocery Shopping Tips | The Grocery Game

The Cheapest Canadian Grocery Stores To Shop At

Know Your Options When Deciding Where To Grocery Shop

Coast to coast I don’t think you will find much price variance whether shopping at a higher-end grocery store or the cheapest grocery stores in Canada.

By this, I mean grocery shopping and comparing prices high-end to high-end or the cheapest to cheapest grocery stores in Canada.

You’ll also find that where you save $1.00 on 1 item you likely will spend it on another.

Although for some people who are smart with their money they can turn savings into true grocery budget savings.


(See the grocery comparison chart below)

Canada Cheap Grocery Stores

One of the most popular grocery posts on CBB is titled The Most Expensive Grocery Stores In Canada.

What about those of us who want to save even more money on groceries? 

I wanted to explore this option a bit more for those of you who may be new to Canada or simply new to the world of grocery shopping.

Related: How To Grocery Shop For The First Time

Money In Your Pocket or Your Mouth

The answer to the question above is to find the Cheapest Canadian Grocery Stores to shop at.

What I found interesting about the list of cheapest Canadian grocery stores that I compiled was that almost all grocery stores price matched other stores.

Now, if you have a look at the most expensive grocery stores in Canada you’ll find that many of them do not price-match.


They can’t afford to price match, that’s why.

With all of the frills, packaging, marketing, and hydro they use to spruce up their stores for customers who want the frosted touch shopping experience, they pay for it.

I believe that every grocery store has a certain clientage that will always shop there come hell or high water.

If prices go up they will still go. Others may not have an option based on location and transportation so they are stuck shopping wherever a store is available.

Then there are the shoppers who are not store-loyal rather they are budget-loyal which means if they can save money, they will.

Do I blame them?

No and you can pitch me in that bunch of Canadian grocery shoppers because saving is a smart investment in my opinion.

When You Invest In Your Budget You Invest In Your Future

With the cost of living in Canada increasing (or so it seems), we must find better ways to save our money so unless you have surplus you should probably get on the savings wagon.

Are you a grocery store snob?

They exist and to be honest I can do without hearing about why certain grocery stores disgust them which has more to do with keeping up with the Grocerydashians than it does the price.

In my opinion, if you can afford it and you don’t care about price then shop wherever you want.

I know some people may complain that the cheapest Canadian grocery stores also have the worst produce and meat and go without the frills but this isn’t always the case.

We’ve found on occasions better produce at Food Basics than we have at Zehrs one of the most expensive grocery stores in Canada.

The ONLY reason we shop at Zehrs is for deals and it’s close to our home.

We hardly ever do a regular grocery shop at Zehrs as it’s far too expensive for our grocery budget.

Over the years our grocery budget has been questioned since it was so low but it was doable for us.


Increased Grocery Budget

This year however we’ve seen an increase to just over $400 for the 3 of us from $350 in 2018 which was a stretch most months.

I was never the guy who said that living on a tight grocery budget was the challenge it was what worked for us.

There were many months where we struggled to stay on target because we got lazy and didn’t follow our advice.

It happens. You will never have the perfect grocery shop month after month.

With that in mind, we also spend a bit more on purchasing items such as Nu Pasta which is a zero carb pasta that costs $3.99 per package and feeds 2.

When we ate regular pasta a pack for $0.99 would feed 4-6 people so our grocery budget also reflects the Keto diet that we choose to enjoy.

On the other hand, buying less of one thing meant we had more money to spend on others.

For example, not buying big bags of flour any longer transitioned over to purchasing a bag of almond or coconut flour instead.

There is a price difference however so part of our budget tracking meant finding the best deals for meals we enjoy.

Keto Pantry Items To Stock Up On

Canadian Grocery Stores To Shop At

How do Canadians choose which grocery stores to shop at?

It boils down to first and foremost PRICE, proximity followed by packaging and environment as to how consumers view the products that they purchase to be good, better, or the best.

No one wants to buy a bruised apple or a mushy tomato which is why they end up on the reduced rack.

Rock-bottom prices are great for customers who can make soups, purees, baked goods, jams, or prep and freeze for later use.

Even the meat department has awesome deals on meat, fish, and chicken that are close to expiry in every Canadian grocery store.

Buy it and you may catch a deal (always check reg price or current sales).

Let’s not forget that many consumers want excellent customer service on top of this no matter where they shop.

It can be high-end grocery shopping or at any of the cheapest grocery stores and the overall experience including customer interaction and service is vital.

Grocery Store Hopping

Over the years we would shop at various grocery stores just to find the best deals in Canada but only those that were close to each other.

Like most cities, you’ll find there are at least two grocery stores in the same area if not more but that depends on where you live.

It didn’t bother us to grocery store hop to save some money and perhaps scoop up some reduced sales or unadvertised deals.

However, you still have to consider your grocery list because it’s very easy to get off track shopping this way.

If you know you are already going to a particular store that is a great time to tap into what sales are happening.

The best way to do that is by using the top grocery flyers apps in Canada, Reebee, or Flipp app to compare product prices.

Using Rewards Programs To Boost Canadian Grocery Store Savings

I also suggest using the Flash Food App to find out if there are any reduced products you can purchase to lower your food budget.

For example, if we go to Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up a prescription we check our PC Optimum app to see what points and promos are available and read the flyer for the week.

One of the biggest deals that we always take advantage of is the milk for 20x the points or other points promotions.

You get 1 bag for free back in points when you buy 4 bags which is what we do for $17.56 and 4845 back in Shoppers Optimum Points.

That’s a total of $4.85 back which is slightly more than the cost of one 4L bag of milk. Win!

They often have deals on bread, eggs, coffee, cereal, cookies, bacon, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, well you get my point.

The idea is to check flyers before you shop and compare prices so you kill two birds with one stone sort to speak.

However, if you shop the sales and watch for in-store deals, reduced items, and use coupons and coupon apps you can save money.

Also, tap into our Grocery Price Book where you can price and compare so you know you’re getting the best deals.

Related: The Best Canadian Online Rewards and Cash Back Programs

Top 10 Cheapest Canadian Grocery Stores

cheap Canadian grocery stores

My Top Picks in Ontario for the cheapest Canadian grocery stores are;

  • No Frills (Price Match Yes)
  • Food Basics (Price Match NO) Come on Food Basics get with the program.
  • Walmart Canada (Price Match Yes) – Update 2020 – Unfortunately Walmart has cancelled their PM program.
  • FreshCo (Price Match Yes)

Budget Conscious Grocery Stores To Shop At In Canada

The others on the list below are what I consider some of the cheapest Canadian grocery stores to shop at if you are watching your grocery dollars.

These would be the stores that we shop at if they offer various flyer specials that we can’t price match at our regular grocery stores.

Other Cheap Canadian Grocery Stores To Consider

A few ‘other’ cheapest Canadian grocery stores to target are;

  • Dollar Store (Not a grocery store but a popular place to find inexpensive grocery items)
  • Costco (pick and choose based on price and size as there are great deals)
  • Shoppers Drug Mart (watch deals and pair with PC Optimum and coupons)
  • Small independent shops – Shop Local
  • International stores (Indian store, Chinese store, Asian grocery, Italian Store, etc.)

Related: 11 Costco Items We Buy To Save Money

Grocery Store Comparison

SuperStore, Wal-Mart, Save On Foods

I found this grocery comparison posted on Reddit 6 months ago interesting because again the prices weren’t too far off each other and what was pricey at one store was cheaper at another and vice-versa.

The user stated that prices were pulled from online sources only which means in-store prices could be different.

I’m also not 100% sure if these were all regular price comparisons which is what you would be looking for.

It was still interesting to see how a dollar here a dollar can all add up.

Keep in mind most people shop the sales so regular prices mean nothing to them these days unless the item is a MUST.

Grocery stores hold their own and prices change like gas prices in Canada apart from their big sellers, price freeze, or “won’t be beat” prices.

grocery comparison reddit

Source : u/WHlTERABBlT Reddit

Final Thoughts – Your Grocery Budget Relies On Your Savings Plan

Overall, we’ve had no issue shopping at some of the cheapest Canadian grocery stores but are happy that summer is around the corner.

Summer savings on groceries go beyond even the cheapest Canadian grocery stores and into the farmer’s markets and gardening at home.

Save where you can and compromise when necessary to get the best prices on products in Canadian grocery stores.

Discussion: What do you feel are the Cheapest Canadian Grocery Stores to shop at and why?

Leave me your comments below or any updates to grocery store policies that come into effect after the writing of this blog post.


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  1. I find buying some things at fresh co or food basics a steal. Bags of pizza bites no name vs brand name way better. Far better deal to buy a 5kg bag for 10 bucks ( 10 meals roughly) vs same thing at 3.99 for 2 meal package. The grand kids dont know the difference and in reality besides the odd one being split open there is no difference. Same goes for buying sausages. 7.99 for 15-18 sausages works out to 0.50-0.60/ sausage n they are just under bun length so not a bad score. N slap a colony down with for michelangelo brand reduces the price another buck so its like stealing. I thank the wonderful Stacey M. Who taught me to copoun and intro me to Mr. CBB. For all the sweet deals n tips.

    1. Hi Jeff,
      You’re right about finding deals at Food Basics which is where we shop along with Zehrs for 50% off stickers. We also shop at Costco for some items but at the end of the day like you we all need to do the math. It’s the math that makes the most sense when pairing it with a grocery budget, coupons and coupon apps. What a nice thing to say. I haven’t heard from Stacey M in a while, send her my hello! Mr.CBB

  2. Bi g 3 for me are freshco, nofrills, foodbasic. I wait for there lower sale prices than buy what I know I’ll use ether before the expiry date or about 3 months in the freezer. So if its 500g of bacon for 1.99 I will buy 15 or more.

  3. Save on foods, Sobeys and Safeway are like the corner store you go to pick up emergency items only. During covid 19 there are no line ups, as the prices are so high. they are slowly killing themselves trying to grab every dollar. They are driving there customers away,

  4. Where do you think Bulk Barn sits in this category? I’ve recently started getting pantry items here using reusable containers in an effort to reduce plastic use, and I’m noticing there are foods here that wouldn’t be found elsewhere–carob chips and lentil pastas, etc. They also have honey, nut butters and oils, in bulk. It’s definitely an interesting place to shop, but not all foods are cheaper than in stores, so it’s still a matter of checking the flyers for the weekly deals. Freshness is also a consideration.

    1. Hi Irene,
      I agree you always have to check your prices even at the cheapest grocery stores because there is always someone who might be selling the same item cheaper. We find Bulk Barn hit or miss however the do like you say sell unique food products and their coupons are pretty good.

  5. Wonderful article. I’m used few of these sites already. But compare to all I prefer this site for online shopping. SAVEJI offering the best coupons and discounts for all category products across the world. You may also try it and save your money.

  6. There are some things you can get fairly cheap at dollar stores like Dollarama. I bought a can of beans for .50 cents and it would have been 88 or 99 cents for the same type at the local supermarket. Also, items like jams and jellies are a steal at the dollar store: same amount is $2 for a strawberry or apricot jam. At the regular supermarket its closer to $4 (range varies,but its significantly more). And you can buy two 1 liter bottles of pop, brand name pepsi for example, for 82 cents, buying 2 will set you back $1.64 whereas a 2 liter at many supermarkets is $1.99 and up (the most absurd price I’ve ever seen is a Metro charging $3.49 for a 2 liter of pop, which is highway robbery). I drink diet pop frequently, so I will buy 4-6 liters at a time, so it adds up… So while Dollar stores aren’t grocers, they do have some food items for a very competitive price.

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