In 2021 consumers can expect to see another increase to food prices, 3-5% in fact! The items with the highest increases are staples like meat, bread and vegetables. This translates into an average of $695 more spent per year on groceries, bringing the new average total for a family of 4 to $13,907 per year. That is a lot of money, especially when the median yearly income (after tax) in British Columbia is $65,700.
As a family, knowing that approximately 21% of your after tax income can be expected to go to groceries plus the ever increasing cost of utilities, child care costs and rent/ mortgage payment (thank goodness for low interest rates right now), how can we stay afloat? How can we avoid going into future debt be able to have some money aside for moderate indulgences/enjoyment?
Here are five ways to start saving some money on groceries. Keep in mind that most of these do require some time and effort put into them in order to save money. This is an area where convenience is almost always costing us more, so you have to weigh the pros and cons of your time vs money saved.
1. Shop Wisely
- Limit your shopping trips – This is probably something we are all already doing anyway, given the pandemic, but by condensing your shopping trips, you have less opportunity for impulse buys.
- Look at flyers – A great FREE app/website to use to search all current flyers for specific items or to just browse flyers in general is Flipp. Flipp lets you save your loyalty cards into one place, create shopping lists and watch lists for when letting you know when prices go down for certain items.
- Clip Coupons
- FlashFood App – This is an app that shows you clearance and heavily discounted items at grocery stores near you. From close-dated food items to seasonal clearance items, this can be a very helpful app to get
- Price Match and double-check receipts – Take flyers into stores and get them to price match other retailers – saving you time going from one store to another.
Many retailers also practice the SCOP (scanning code of practice) and if the price rings up incorrectly, you are entitled to that item free or $10 whichever is less. Check here for a list of retailers that participate.
- Shop the perimeter of the stores – The bulk of the staple and healthy items are found at the perimeter of a grocery store. All the non-perishable, seasonal, junk food items are in the middle. You can avoid temptation and stick with healthier food by shopping the perimeter.
- Bring your own bags – Paying .05 a bag every time you shop can add up!
- Daily Deals – Pay attention to the stores in your area, which ones tend to have better deals than others. Some might offer daily specials as well. Ie. Save on foods offers daily “Happy Hour” deals on meat products.
2. Start A Garden
Growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs can save you a bundle. If you have lots of growing space, team up with a friend that does not – join forces by both families tending to the garden and reaping the rewards. If you do not have space, there are community garden opportunities, many have wait lists but getting on a list is a start. Many residents are trading in their little lawns/green spaces for raised garden beds. The cost savings on produce outweighs the aesthetic look of a small patch of grass for many people now. If space and time is limited, focus on easy items that you consume a lot of. For us items like lettuce and tomatoes are a huge staple. Herbs are also super easy and hardy and most come back every year. You can have those in posts on you patio instead of flowers – they can make things smell and look really nice.
Soon, be on the look out for The Million Gardens Movement coming to Canada. The Million Gardens Movement is a community of gardeners who want to inspire a happier, healthier world by educating people about a better diet, through funding and educating millions of new gardeners to grow their own food. Teaching people how to utilize any space available (fire escapes, window boxes, patio boxes) to grow their own food.
3. Stop Buying Cleaning Products
The average household has several different types of cleaning products. With an average cost of approximately $5 a bottle, it can add up. Many of these products are extremely unhealthy for families as well. For a much cheaper, healthier and simpler alternative all you need to clean is dish soap, vinegar, baking soda and water and some microfibre cloths. Cut back or eliminate paper towels with washable and re-useable microfiber cloths. Microfiber cloths have multiple uses and are great for dusting, cleaning bathrooms, kitchen counters etc (My best advice is to designate a different color cloth for each task). Dish soap can be used as a laundry stain remover, a window cleaner, a surface spray, a carpet stain remover, fruit and veggie wash, and to clean most surfaces in your home.
- 1 cup distilled water.
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar.
- 1/2 lemon juiced (optional)
- 15 drops lavender essential oil or peppermint, orange, or lemon.
4. Start Meal Planning
Yes, I know, this one requires some forethought and time! I have had a tough time with this one, simply because I can’t seem to get organized enough anymore to do this. I used to be so organized and together, then I had kids.
By meal planning, we reduce eating out costs. We can also shop smarter and better and avoid waste. Some people utilise meal-kit services like GoodFood, HelloFresh, Fresh Prep, Chefs Plate to stay on budget and avoid food waste. While the cost of the meals is more expensive than buying the ingredients yourself, meal kits save time shopping and prepping and planning. On average you will eat out much less. In many cases you eat healthier and have more unique meals with the kits. Therefore it really comes down to personal preference/needs as it would require research to know if this would be a more expensive or cheaper option for your family.
5. Take Advantage of Rebate Apps and Programs
There are several FREE apps out there today, that offer cash-back opportunities for just purchasing stuff you already were buying. Check this article out for a list with reviews of all that are offered in Canada
- Rakuten – new members get a $5 bonus. Earn up to 30% cash back on online purchases from over 750 retailers.
- Caddle – earn money by uploading receipts and taking surveys. It is very easy and quick to use the app and the money adds up!For a list of discounts that Modern Mama has been able to secure for our readers, be sure to check out our exclusive discounts page. The list is always been updated so check back periodically!
Happy Shopping (and saving money)!
Disclaimer: The companies mentioned in this article did not sponsor or endorse this blog post. As always my opinions are my own and I take pride in providing honest reviews to fellow parents and followers. I do earn a referral credit from qualifying referrals to Rakuten and Caddle.