Three Things That Saved Us Hundreds on Groceries This Year
We do a lot of work with clients fine-tuning budgets and tracking expenses that will hopefully allow clients to change past behaviours and embrace new ones. There isn’t much wiggle room when we look at fixed expenses like mortgage payments, insurance payments, heat, and hydro. Where the real change has to happen is on the variable side. One of the largest variable expenses for most is groceries. We’ve seen monthly expenses range from $325/m up to $800/m. So when it comes to groceries, I offer these three tips that have saved my wife and I hundreds of dollars over the last year.
Plan your week based on what is on sale
This one seems like common sense. Who doesn’t get excited to see a sale and have the opportunity to save some money? We use an app on our phone called ReeBee that has a digital copy of every flyer. When we start to make a list (you always make a list, right??) we can search for what we need and the app will search all of the flyers and tell us where it is on sale. Often we’ll create meal ideas solely based on what is on sale versus, let’s say, buying boneless chicken breasts every week regardless of price. By being flexible, we always eat a variety of different foods, but save quite a bit of money too!
When shopping for aisle foods, look for stores that offer no frills
When walking down the aisle of any grocery store, you’ll notice one thing they all have in common. They carry the same brands, the same products and the same packaging. And yet, when looking at each store, the prices all are varied. A regular priced Lean Cuisine costs $4.29 at some stores and $2.99 at others. If you bought 3 of these per week at the more expensive store, you’d be spending more than $200 per year than you need to! The same goes for Ritz crackers, a can of Campbell’s soup, a bag of Lays chips and so on. Stores that offer “no frills” are cheaper for aisle foods and will save you so much money per year. Yes, it’s worth the drive, even if you go elsewhere for produce.
Don’t be fooled that bulk is cheaper.
If you are living on a week-to-week budget, bulk is more expensive. If the cost of item “x” is $2.00, or 7 for $10.00, you’re still spending $8 more than planned. Sure you get more, but will you use it? Or will it get thrown out if it spoils? Be mindful of waste. Also, if you’re convinced bulk is the way to go, be sure to check the unit price to make sure it’s a good deal. I’ve blogged about that in the past, and quite often, a sale price is better than the Costco bulk price.
We all have our shopping habits, preferences, and routines. But just like weight loss and budgeting, if you take a moment to monitor your spending and compare some alternatives, you might find that with small changes, you too, can be saving hundreds of dollars in a year on groceries alone.