How to Save Money on Food and Groceries

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No doubt you are feeling the financial strain of rising grocery prices in Canada. And, unfortunately, more increases are on the way.

Canada’s Food Price Report recently found that overall food prices will increase by another 2.5% to 4.5% in 2024…but no need to panic! There are ways to save money even as prices increase. As an organization that provides food for over 6,000 hungry kids weekly across British Columbia, we know how to save money and optimize our budget. And we’re here to help!

Here are our expert tips and tricks for cutting costs on your grocery bill:

1 .Plan Ahead

Create a weekly meal plan based on discounted and in-season ingredients. If you’re feeling hungry on a last-minute grocery run, you’ll miss out on the best deals, which are available in newspapers, online, or through loyalty programs. 

2. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is the more affordable option and also saves you time and fuel, reducing the amount of grocery runs you have to do. Look for sales on bulk items that have a long shelf life, like rice, pasta, and canned goods. Get a chest freezer for more savings in the long run, as meat and most foods also last for up to six months or more when frozen.

3. Make a Grocery List Beforehand

Grocery lists don’t just save you time from aimlessly looking for the right items – they also help you avoid impulse purchases and stay on track with your budget. When people don’t make a grocery list, they tend to over-shop. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that shoppers who didn’t use a list spent, on average, 23% more than those who did.

4. Shop Seasonal and Local

Shop for fruits and vegetables that are in-season and locally sourced, when they tend to be more affordable and flavourful. Not only does this support local farmers, but it’s more sustainable for the environment. 

5. Join Store Loyalty Programs

Many grocery stores have loyalty programs that are free to sign up for. Subscribe to the email list of your grocery store so you can stay updated with exclusive member discounts and rewards.

6. Consider Meatless Mondays

Looking for an option that’s good for both your wallet and the environment? Consider incorporating more meatless meals into your family’s diet. Plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, and tofu are both budget-friendly and healthy and nourishing. 

Food affordability remains a top concern for us all. We hope these practical tips help you save on your grocery bill because we know that every dollar saved counts –  not just for your family, but for the families we support through Backpack Buddies.

By Nicole Hui and Emily-anne King 

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