Rising food prices in Canada mean finding low-cost foods with and without a grocery plan.
All these years, I’ve told the readers of Canadian Budget Binder to shop with a meal plan.
It feels weird to say this, but we need to be armed and on the hunt with rising food prices.
What I mean is yes, we will have a weekly meal plan; however, we’re likely to find other deals in-store.
To be honest not much has changed about finding grocery savings.
When food prices increase, but our income stays the same, that means we need to buckle down.
If you plan on shopping without a grocery budget, you’re just asking for trouble.
Today I want to discuss how we plan to fight the rising food prices and where we grocery shop.
Technology Based Grocery Shopping
I know consumers like the curbside pickup for groceries or grocery delivery; however, it can still strain your grocery budget.
The ease of online grocery shopping and placing multiple grocery deliveries can be costly.
If this type of grocery shopping works for you, you must be cautious of overdoing it.
For the most part, I think shopping online too much boils down to boredom, shopping addiction or fear.
The idea is to be open while grocery shopping to change your meal plan to spot reduced deals.
Fear of being without food or toiletries for many people the pandemic scared the living daylights out of people.
I’m sure you all remember that customers cleared the shelves in 2021 with the massive shortage of toilet paper and other products.
It was all about grocery shopping and stocking up before the next person got it all.
Average Costs Of Groceries
Food always seems to be a topic on our minds, especially when it’s time to stock up again.
The average cost of groceries depends on where you shop and how many people you feed.
This is a question I get asked often, but there’s no right or wrong answer because of multiple variables.
For example, if you are a single person, you could spend more than a family of three based on your grocery budget and health needs.
How To Deal With Rising Food Costs
Being the grocery nerd that I am, it’s easy for me to see how rising food costs impact our budget.
There were times near the end of 2021 when we spent more than we should have bought on food and household products.
It was Christmas and New Years,’ and we didn’t even have a gathering as my nephew was covid positive.
This year has to deal with rising food costs and eat healthy meals within our budget.
We are lucky that the four stores we purchase groceries at are close together, as is the Amazon grocery store.
Below, I will explain how we plan to deal with rising food costs at our leading grocery stores.
Before I get into it, I want to mention that we limit lunches, eat less, and reduce the amounts we purchase.
Costco Rising Food Prices
We’ve also considered reducing what we purchase with Costco rising food prices.
For example, a three-pack of genoa salami cost $8.99 is now near ten dollars.
The 10% cream and 35% cream have gone up in price, so we check for flyer deals first.
Keto bread that Mrs. CBB buys has gone up from $8.99 for a double pack to $9.xx a bag.
The point is a dollar here; fifty cents there all adds up, which increases costs,
What we buy at Costco is limited, and we’ve limited what fruits and vegetables we buy.
We found that the big bags of avocado, raspberries, blueberries and lettuce are too much for us.
Since our son has a minimal menu plan, we buy items just for him, such as a three-pack of German Salami.
Even that has gone up in price yet cheaper than buying it from any grocery store.
Use A Grocery Price Book (Free)
I wrote a blog post about keeping a grocery price book documenting prices, weight, and product count.
You don’t have to do this for every product, only the items you typically buy when you grocery shop.
When I created the Ultimate Keto Costco Canada Product List, I purposely left pricing out because it often changes.
My wife has been eating a keto diet for years, so Costco has items that have the best prices.
We also purchase gasoline at Costco as it’s always the cheapest in town, plus I fill my two red gas cans.
Food Basics Rising Food Prices
We always buy our vegetables and fruits at Food Basics because they have always been cheaper.
Luckily our Food Basics is fantastic and always has excellent selections for the best price.
We might buy our milk, cream, apples, bananas, kale, rapini, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers and cookies, to name a few.
If we don’t need to go down any aisles, we skip them since Food Basics puts the reduced products in a grocery cart at the front cashiers.
Even Food Basics where we live has gone automated with self-scanners which I don’t mind but would rather not.
Increasing self-scanners also equals fewer cashiers and loss of employment or movement around the company.
Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, we have over 6 million PC Optimum Points on our card accumulated over seven years.
Since then, we’ve made one redemption to buy our son an XBOX for Christmas this year.
As fast as we lost the points, we had them back two weeks after shopping 20x the points events.
We’re either redeeming in Shoppers Drug Mart when they have the Big Optimum sale or at Zehrs to buy groceries.
There’s more bang for our buck at Shoppers during a special Optimum event, but we also don’t need anything.
Our Shoppers Drug Mart has groceries and many that go on sale, but we couldn’t possibly get $300 worth.
What would you buy with over $6000 in PC Optimum points? No, we cannot get cash for the points.
The fastest way to earn PC Optimum points is to get the PC World Elite MasterCard to earn points.
Only shop on 20x the points when you spend $50 or $75 in-store or more.
Buy only the items you need on sale to reach the goal sub-total or more.
For example, we recently spent $180 in the store and received over $50 in points back.
P.S- You don’t need the credit card to collect points either, as they offer a key tag and card for those who subscribe.
Zehrs Rising Food Prices
We only go into Zehrs to buy our meat that is 50% off or on sale and check for other deals.
Our meal plan goes off course as we scoop up deals which means a quick budget adjustment.
Usually, we buy minced beef, minced pork, chicken bone-in skin, and sausages.
We may buy steak in the summer; however, this summer, we plan to look for a local butcher,
TruLocal is another excellent place to order your fish and beef, plus they deliver it to you.
We’ve used them a couple of times and were impressed with the product and the pricing.
TruLOCAL connects you to high-end, locally sourced meat products – delivered right to your doorstep across Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
For the most part, we take a quick whiz around the store, looking for 50% off items.
The prices at Zehrs are high, but it works out with the items we get cheap, especially if they are already on sale.
The Flash Food App Is A Must For Saving
We also use the FlashFood App to check our local Loblaws, Zehrs, RCSS and No Frills for 50-70% off items.
You sign up for the app, and once it knows your city, it will bring up the stores in your area.
Scroll through and look at what is on sale, 50% off or more.
Order the items and go pick them up. We have found meat, potatoes, fruit and veg boxes for only $5,
There’s no limit to what you buy, but you may have to freeze it if you don’t want to use it right away.
Amazon Grocery Store
We have a Prime membership, which gives us access to free movies and documentaries.
Since we got rid of our cable and home phone, this has worked out great given the Prime membership cost.
The price for an adult is $7.99 a month, and for a student, it’s $3.99 a month.
Prime comes with many cool features too.
We keep an eye out for many products when it goes on sale, such as a six-pack of tuna, sugar-free ketchup, various keto products, and cat food (for the cat, ha).
Typically the ketchup is $2.99, but it seems you can only buy it in a pack of 12 right now.
So, unless you LOVE KETCHUP, a pack of 12 is not sensible to purchase.
However, a 700ml bottle of Nestle Chocolate Syrup is $4.87, which we can never find cheaper.
Delivery is free with Prime, and the price is the best, so we shop without any guilt but within our budget.
So if you do have a Prime membership, it’s worth doing grocery shopping at the Amazon grocery store.
You’ll even find coupons for diapers and various food products, which were handy for us years ago.
Giving Up Foods You Love
With rising food prices, you might find products that you regularly purchase too expensive.
Try not to talk yourself into buying these types of groceries on a whim because they will eat up your budget.
We keep watching for the product to go on sale, and if it’s a reasonable price, we stock up.
That’s why we created a stockpile budget a few years ago so we’d have an extra $25 a month to spend on in-store deals.
For example, Mrs. CBB is giving up keto snacks such as Quest Bars, and I’m leaving behind fancy cheese I buy unless it’s 50% off.
Recently, I wrote a post about tracking the junk food bought at the grocery store to show you how much you spend.
The idea is to buy less or remove the junk food leaving more room for real food.
Overspending On Groceries
There are six reasons people overspend at the grocery store;
- No Plan
- Grocery Shop too much
- Fail to compare product labels and prices
- Eating too much
- You’re hungry
Let’s Discuss How Easy It Is To Spend More
Rushing through the grocery store is almost guaranteed to spend more money.
You’ll save more if you can find time to read the weekly flyers and plan meals based on the deals.
If you’re grocery shopping too much, there’s no doubt you will be wasting money on food you don’t need.
With rising prices, it’s important to compare prices and read the product labels.
Just because an item is on sale in the flyer, you may find that another product that offers more product for less.
For example, a 5kg bag of flour is on sale for $3.99; however, another bag of 8kg for $4.99.
Does Brand Matter?
Name Brand vs No Name Brand Does it matter?
Here’s another example, premade cookies on sale for $2.99, but the family size is $3.99.
We realized that we were buying our son’s favourite cookies last month, which were on sale.
He likes Oreo cookies and Christie’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, which often go on sale for $2.99 or 2/$4.00
Sometimes we buy cookies on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart and with points based on our Optimum app.
The weight difference and amount of product are significant with rising food prices, so don’t skip reading labels.
Look at the weight on the labels, ingredients list and whether it lists how many cookies are in the package.
Eat Before You Shop To Save Money
When you’re hungry, the old saying of grocery shopping will cost you more money because your brain and stomach become a team.
You’ll find you can easily convince yourself to buy something you can eat in the car, bus, cab or walk home.
Have a light snack before grocery shopping, and beware of the rising food costs.
Are You Putting Too Much Food On Your Plate?
Lastly, are you overeating food? Most of us do, even I do, and we have been working on portion control, fewer snacks and reducing dairy consumption.
Permanently save where you can save or shop like money is no object and deal with the consequences.
Grow Your Food
During the Spring, Summer and Fall, if you have the space, you can plant a garden in your backyard, front yard or on a balcony.
We have tomatoes and peppers in the back and the front; we have tomatoes and lots of herbs in pots.
We also participate in a community garden up the road at our son’s school, where I grow many beets and radishes.
In 2022 I plan to plant spring onions, kale, and beets to make more jars of pickled beets.
It might not be much, but it will save money, get you out of the house.
Save Where You Can Is The Focus For 2022
- Rewards Points
- Mobile Apps
- Eating Less
- Cut The Junk Food
- Eat Before You Shop
- Incorporate Vegetarian Meals
- Watch For Scanning Code Of Practice Mistakes
- Try new meals that are vegetarian or new to your menu plan (Pinterest has million of recipes and have a look at my extensive frugal recipe index.
- Create a realistic budget
- Consider gardening
It may be a bit more work to find grocery savings in 2022, but you should be fine if you set time aside to make any of the suggestions I have.
If you can’t make ends meet, a visit to a local food bank might help you with food to fill your cupboards.
Discussion: How are you going to save money with rising grocery prices?
Please leave me your comments below.
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