Groceries take up a large percentage of monthly budgets for families across Canada. Many of these households will often find that they do not have any money left for other activities as a result of this expense. However, with the right strategies, you can reduce your monthly expenditure on groceries. The following are some money saving tips you can apply when purchasing groceries.
- Have a grocery list and stick to it
The best way to stay within your monthly grocery budget and save some cash is by creating a grocery list and sticking to it. Having a grocery list can help you avoid impulse spending by allowing you to focus on your most important needs. Thus, it is essential to create a grocery list before you go grocery shopping.
In order for you to develop a comprehensive grocery list, you need to plan all of your meals ahead of time. When you plan your meals, you are able to identify the ingredients you will need. You will then be able to determine which ingredients you have and which ones you do not have. You need to base the grocery list on the items that you do not have presently.
In addition, always carry a calculator with you when you go grocery shopping. Luckily, most mobile phones these days have a calculator app. Tally up each grocery item as you put it in the shopping cart. The tallying will help you stick to your budgeting plan.
Minimize the number of snacks that you have on your grocery list. Snacks are often expensive, and regular consumption may prove unhealthy.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables
Experts recommend that families increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables. This is because fresh produce has great benefits for our health. However, did you know that increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables has more benefits other than for your health? Market studies have shown that more vegetables and fruits can help you save a lot of money while grocery shopping.
Fruits and vegetables are usually less expensive than other manufactured snacks and food. Thus, you can substitute your favorite bag of chips with a large quantity of fruits for a lesser price.
Some fruits and vegetables are seasonal, and this might affect their prices. When a fruit or vegetable is off-season, the price is bound to increase. To save some cash during such instances, opt for replacements that are in-season. For instance, if cauliflower is off-season, the price will go up. Instead of purchasing it at a higher price, opt for an in-season replacement such as cabbage or broccoli.
In addition, knowing how to substitute ingredients can help you save money on grocery shopping. If your favorite recipe includes a particular ingredient, but you find that a substitute for this ingredient is on sale, then it is prudent to go for the substitute.
- Use coupons
Coupons are a great way to save money while grocery shopping. You can email the manufacturers of your favorite grocery products, and ask if they have any coupons they can send to you. You can also check the company websites for promotions and coupons.
In addition, many stores offer their customers coupons on different products. Look out for the next time your store offers coupons on grocery items. Take advantage of these coupons as they can cut down your shopping cost significantly.
It is advisable to collect coupons at least once or twice a month for your monthly grocery shopping. You should aim to get coupons for nearly all the products on your grocery list.
- Use your credit card rewards
Another way of saving money while grocery shopping is to pay for some of the groceries with your accumulated credit card rewards. You get these rewards every time you purchase an item using your credit card. You can let the rewards accumulate over a period of a few months, and then use the points to pay for the upcoming grocery shopping.
- Shop with Cash
It is best to use your credit card for big purchases only such as appliances. Purchasing such items with your credit card will earn you higher points/rewards. However, refrain from using your credit card to purchase small items such as groceries. Aspire to use cash or a debit card always when it comes to grocery shopping. This will help you spend only the amount you have in hand denying you the opportunity to go over the budget.
- Go for generic brands
Purchasing generic brands is another tip to help you save cash on groceries. In many instances, the only difference between generic and name brands is the price. Many of the generic brands possess the same quality as name brands. Substitute as many name branded groceries as you can with generic branded ones, and you will experience huge savings.
However, if you strongly feel that you may be compromising on quality by selecting a generic brand, then stick to your preferred name brand.
- Avoid pre-packaged groceries
You can also save cash when grocery shopping by purchasing fewer pre-packaged food if other alternatives are available. The manufacturers usually add the cost of packaging to the final price of the product. This means that you will pay more for pre-packaged groceries than groceries that come without packages. For instance, instead of going for a bag of cut and washed broccoli, you can choose a bag of broccoli crowns. In this example, you will end up paying less for a bigger bag of broccoli.
Another example is going for un-grated cheddar cheese instead of a grated bag of the same cheese. You can derive the value here from the additional amount of cheese that you will get if you went for the un-grated cheese.
- Compare prices
Comparing the prices offered in different stores for the same products can also help you save money. Some stores offer lower prices on certain products compared to others. Download a grocery app on your smartphone. The app will enable you to compare the different prices of products in multiple stores.