It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another money saving post from LowestRates.ca!
For most people reading this, groceries are likely the 3rd biggest expense you have each month, after shelter and transportation. A small family can easily spend hundreds of dollars per month on groceries, and that’s not even counting restaurant costs.
Here are 4 easy ways to save some cash the next time you head to the grocery store.
(1) Buy generic… selectively
I’m the first to admit that when it comes to some of my favourite foods, the generic brands don’t stand up to their brand name counterparts. I refuse to buy store brand soda, preferring to pay the elevated prices that the Coca-Cola Corporation charges for a much better product. It’s the same thing for fancy ice cream and Doritos, two other indulgences I enjoy.
But for the rest of my cart, you better believe I’m buying the no name stuff. I’ve bought the cheapest detergent on the shelf for years, and my clothes are pretty clean. Generic taco shells -- and seasoning -- taste every bit as good as the Old El Paso stuff. A lot of store brand stuff is exactly the same as the brand name counterpart.
The biggest savings might come from the non-food department. Generic pills are an exact replica of the name brand stuff at 20-30% less. So are some of the shampoos, mouthwashes, and razors.
(2) Avoid overbuying
I love Costco. My buddy has a family of 7, so he shops there a lot. Sometimes I’ll tag along for something to do.
While I’m there, I have to constantly resist the urge to buy gigantic portions of meat, bread, and other perishables. I once saw a 5 lb package of freshly made pulled pork for $20 which looked absolutely delicious. I almost put it in my cart before doing some quick mental calculations. Can I eat this before it goes bad? Maybe. Would I enjoy it after the first couple meals? Probably not.
Meat isn’t such a bad sin; after all, you can always eat what you want and freeze the rest. But when it comes to fruit and vegetables, it’s almost impossible to save them for later.
(3) Buy non-perishables in bulk
Once I discovered my local grocery store marked down all the expired meat shortly after dinner, I immediately became an evening shopper. I’d buy up all the 50% off meat I liked and threw it in the freezer. I didn’t go nuts though, since meat only lasts a few months frozen before getting freezer burnt.
It’s the same thing with everything from flour to ramen noodles. If it’s something that you use a lot of and it’s a non-perishable item, feel free to stock up if you find a good deal.
(4) Take advantage of price matching
Back when I lived in Calgary, both the Wal-Mart and Real Canadian Superstore I regularly shopped at both automatically price matched competitor sale prices. If the Sobeys down the road had an item on sale, the Wal-Mart price was already adjusted.
If your store doesn’t offer that, simply talk to a manager. I’m not sure about other chains, but Wal-Mart and all Loblaws stores will match a local competitor’s price. I’ve even heard reports of Wal-Mart price matching Amazon, but I can’t confirm it. If your store doesn’t offer price matching and you don’t want to go to several stores to load up on specials, I’d do the majority of my shopping at Wal-Mart or Loblaws and take competitor flyers with me.
There are plenty of easy ways to save cash on groceries. Just a few small changes can easily add up to $100 worth of savings. It’s just a matter of questioning our habits.