In the last blog post we established that groceries are expensive. So what's the best way to save money on groceries? There is a lot of advice on this subject, especially since inflation has been skyrocketing, but let's dive into some novel ways to save.
1. Don't always assume that buying in bulk is cheapest
The advice to buy in bulk is everywhere and sometimes it can be misguided. If you live solo or have a small family, you may not be able to use items that you buy in bulk before they expire or the quality erodes. This means money wasted. Additionally, just because an item is sold in large quantities doesn't mean it has a better price associated with it. (You might get 20 expensive items instead of a pack of 6!) The same goes for dry goods in bulk bins. The price tag in many grocery stores lists the price per 100 grams of the item. When ordering groceries online, many apps or websites also list the price per 100 grams. A recent comparison of peanuts in Superstore showed $0.86/100g of packaged “no name brand” peanuts while bulk bin peanuts were $1.19/100g.
2. Consider using price matching
Price matching is when you bring a competitor's flyer with you to the grocery store and buy one of the items that is advertised in it. You show the advertised price of the competitor’s flyer to the cashier, and the cashier matches the price at the till. Policies on price matching vary by store and not all grocery stores price match in Edmonton. Some that do include Superstore, No Frills, FreshCo and London Drugs. Clients have told me that using the Flipp app to have flyers at the ready and to plan their grocery shop accordingly has been helpful.
3. Shop at specialty stores for certain items
In the Edmonton area, H&W Produce stocks vegetables and fruits at often lower prices than chain stores. In a recent special, ambrosia apples were $0.98/lb compared to the sale price of $1.49/lb at Superstore. Similarly, if you purchase food items that are specific to one cultural group, consider frequenting that grocery store. The Italian Center might have a better deal on gnocchi than Safeway and Tienda Latina Argyll Foods will have a better price on corn tortillas than Superstore. This, of course, involves traveling to more than one grocery store which is a deal-breaker for some.
4. Use technology to your advantage
Using apps to your advantage can help you save:
Flashfood can help you get grocery items that are near their best before date for a steep discount.
Too Good To Go can be used for items that are leftover in bakeries and restaurants at the end of the day at a great price.
Flipp shows you weekly flyers which can help you plan your shopping and price match specific grocery items.
5. Focus more on whole foods
Generally, packaged foods are more expensive than their whole counterparts. For example, buying ground turkey or ground beef is less expensive than buying pre-made turkey or beef meatballs. Similarly, buying whole vegetables is less expensive than buying a veggie tray or a bag of pre-made salad. Of course, depending on your stage of life, bagged salads may be the only way you can get some vegetable intake, and each person weighs their grocery priorities for themselves. 6. Consider purchasing the generic or store brand
People have strong opinions on generic vs. name brand foods. One friend, for example, told me they would never buy anything but Heinz Ketchup because of its taste. When it comes to items you might not feel passionate about, consider buying the generic brand to save money. In my house, this includes staples
like canned beans, whole wheat pasta and frozen vegetables like green beans, spinach and broccoli.
Strategies to save on your grocery budget have their upsides and downsides, and you have to weigh what's important to you. Tell me in the comments what your best tip is for your grocery budget!