12 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Saving money is always a hot topic with parents and one area parents are looking to save money is with groceries! So can you save money on groceries? Yes, you can, but it doesn’t come without work.
A list of grocery saving strategies and we’ve rated them in terms of effort
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1 – Loyalty Programs
Effort Score: Easy peasy
Most stores have some sort of loyalty program, Loblaws has the PC Optimum points, Sobeys and Metro have Air Miles. Sign up for those programs and try to be consistent with the grocery store you use so you can maximize your points and savings. PC Optimum points are especially lucrative if you keep an eye on their offers through their app. They have ‘spend your point’ events where you can get more value for your points. I also love their app because it caters offers to you and what you like to buy. If you frequently pick up orders through Loblaws then you might want to consider their PC Insiders membership program which gets you free pickups, additional PC points when you buy certain items, free shipping with Joe Fresh and even a $99 travel credit (that one will be nice if we can ever travel again). It’s definitely worth the $99 cost if you pick up almost exclusively at Loblaws stores, otherwise, you can skip it. We have a referral code if you want to sign up and get 25,000 points (use code RS1617). I also recently got a PC Mastercard and I am amazed at how quickly the points add up to be used towards groceries but it’s only worth it if you are a Loblaws shopper.
2 – Cash Back Apps
Effort Score: As easy as taking a picture
Cashback apps such as Caddle and Checkout51 will reward you for shopping. After you purchase an item on their offer list, take a picture of your receipt and upload to the app to get the cashback offer. Once you earn $20, they will mail you a cheque. Products found on the apps can range from food to paper products to diapers. Best way to save money is to check the apps before you plan to go shopping so you know what brands have available offers. Caddle also offers easy survey opportunities, you don’t get rich doing them, but you’ll earn enough for a coffee over time.
3 – Meal Planning
Effort Score: Takes some brainpower and googling skills
This may sound obvious but only 38% of the League of Moms community actually meal plan. Why meal plan? Because you only buy what you need and you reduce waste because you actually eat the food you bought (or at least that is the point). We meal plan regularly by using this template. I print out a bunch at time and my partner and I take turns filling it out for the week.
4 – Coupons
Effort Score: High effort
You can often find coupons right at the shelf when you are shopping, but most of the time coupons take more effort from checking brand websites, coupon websites like Save.ca and your weekly flyers. If you are really keen you can even email a brand directly asking for a coupon to try their product and more often than not they will send you one. If you want to take it to the next level, you can enter the world of extreme couponing, this is where you collect and trade coupons with others via Facebook groups. Keep in mind that coupons are only available for packaged goods, so this is not a strategy for saving money on fresh produce.
5 – Flyers & Price Matching
Effort Score: High effort and might annoy people
Most Canadian homes get weekly flyers directly to their doors, this is a way to see what products are on sale for that week which you can then use as your guide on what to buy. Another approach is using those flyers for price matching. Yes, you can take a competitive flyer directly to your local store and ask them to match the price. Keep in mind not all stores do this and the product you are price matching has to be identical. Also, important to keep in mind that depending on the number of items you plan to price match, you do risk annoying the person behind you, but that aside it’s a great way to ensure you are getting the best price. Another approach is the Flipp app, this basically allows you to have every single flyer in the palm of your hand thus make price matching even easier!
6 – Cooking from Scratch
Effort Score: High if you don’t like cooking or have time like most moms!
The higher costing foods are processed and packaged, you can save money by cooking all your own food. However, Let’s be real cooking everything from scratch is unrealistic for 99.9% of us, so perhaps choose a few things that are pricier, like granola (the good stuff is expensive). Also, cooking in larger batches and freeze your food is a great option. We try to batch cook muffins as those are easy and healthy snacks for the kids throughout the week.
7 – Grocery Delivery or Pick Up:
Effort Score: So easy you can watch TV while you order
If you are an impulse shopper then not going to the grocery store might be a great way to save money. Simply order on your computer for pick up or delivery. All of these services come with some cost which you can read about here, and you can decide if this approach is for you. If you are not an impulse shopper then this isn’t a strategy for saving money but you will save time!
8 – Stores & Brands
Effort Score: So easy but might require a little more driving depending on the store location
Choosing store brands is another great week to save money. Instead of choosing Heinz ketchup, the store brand ketchup is usually $0.20 to $0.50 cheaper. So if you aren’t too particular than this is a great way to save. Also, choosing value stores like No Frills, Freshco or Walmart can result in a lower grocery bill but keep in mind often the product choice is more limited at value stores. This is probably the easiest and best way to save money on groceries!
9 – Budget
Effort store: Medium on effort, high on discipline
Here’s another way to approach this challenge – set a weekly food budget and buy to that budget. I guarantee this will lead you to avoid impulse purchases (because it is not in your budget). Of course, this takes some work to understand what is a reasonable budget; I suggest you take an average of your weekly purchases for the past few weeks and then shave off 10 – 15% to get started!
10 – FlashFood
Effort Score: Super easy as long as you have room on your phone for the app
With the world we live in there are a constant flood of new apps to make our lives better; FlashFood is one of those money-saving apps. It works like a local marketplace for surplus grocery items that would otherwise go to waste. As a consumer, you can save up to 50% on products and divert them from the garbage! While I wouldn’t be driving out of my way to get something available via Flashflood, if you shop at Loblaws banners as I do, you can check the app before you hit your local store to see if there is anything you need/want available via the app.
11 – Buy in Bulk?
Effort Score: Easyish if you have the space
While technically buying bulk will cost you less per gram, per litre and so on, be thoughtful with what you choose to buy in bulk. You’ll find that you’ll be reaching for the popcorn more often and using the paper towel more freely when you know you have so much of it! Another approach is subscribing to programs through Amazon or Walmart that automatically send you toilet paper (for example) every month. This way you get the savings without the products in your space and in your face enticing you to use them more often.
12 – Olio (Free sharing App)
Effort Score: Easy if you don’t mind some text messaging
Olio is a new app from the UK has just made it’s way into Canada. It’s an app that enables sharing of food and household items. Have some milk that you can’t drink before the expiry date? Post it on the app, a neighbour or someone willing to drive to you will message you for it and arrive for a pick up. Together you are reducing waste, o it’s a win win win. It’s still new, thus it will take time for it to scale and gain momentum, but keep checking back and who knows what you can end up with!
That is our list! Anything you would add to it? Let us know in the comments!
League of Moms / 04/04/2021