Savvy grocery shopping is definitely one of the easiest ways to keep our wallets fatter! It’s fascinating to hear how individuals and families view and approach their shopping experience. According to a recent survey, most Canadians choose where they shop based on two factors: fair pricing (87%) and good value for money (87%). No matter your method, the tips below should make grocery shopping a more conscious experience (at least they do that for me!) and in turn help you to master the process in a smart and economical way. Let your frugal flag fly!
PAY ATTENTION TO THE ‘BEFORE AND AFTER’
I know it feels like homework, but writing out a simple meal plan BEFORE you hit the grocery store makes a HUGE difference. Trust me. This will keep you focused and make you feel so much more organized as you move through your eating for the week. Keep it easy: two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners. And rely on leftovers and mixing ‘n matching to fill out the rest of your week. Adjust according to the size and needs of your family. To reach superstar level, look at grocery store flyers and set your meals based on sales at the stores. As a starting point, I love using my Flipp app to see what’s on sale!
Even more important, don’t rush the AFTER portion of your grocery trip. Turn on some tunes when you get home, and give yourself time to store items properly. You’ve spent your hard earned cash on groceries and it pays to keep them fresh and useable for as long as possible. Do some light prep so ingredients are ready to use when you need them. I’ll post a video of some of my favourite food storage tips soon!
GET COMFORTABLE WITH BASIC MATH
Understanding unit pricing at the grocery store is going to save you money. Period. I especially admire No Frills because they keep unit pricing clearly indicated on regular items AND also sale items. Not all stores do! Getting the frill out of your bill is a priority for them. Don’t trust a sale just because there’s a flashy sign attached to the item. Does it make sense to buy that particular size pack, or will you get a bigger bang for your buck by buying a different size or brand? Do the math. You will feel empowered.
- 72-bag pack of tea is $4.87
- How much are you paying for each bag?
- Divide 4.87 by 72 =
- 1 L of cream is $6.99
- How much are you paying per 100 ml?
- Divide 6.99 by 1000 (1 L = 1000 ml) and then multiple by 100 (ml) =
- 69.9¢/100 ml
BE A NO FRILLS FRUGALISTA
Have a plan, have a list, and treat your shopping trip like a job. Ha! Flashy product displays, eye-catching sales signs, food sampling, and bells and whistles are temptations for us to spend more and/or pay higher prices to compensate for store overhead costs. Make sure you shop at a store without these extras or frills because essentially you’re paying for them. I shop at No Frills because I know I’m getting quality, fresh food at low prices without worrying about paying for any frills. Stay focused on finding the best value through unit pricing and brand awareness — stick to what you need, not what you’re made to believe you need.
CHANNEL YOUR INNER JULIA CHILD
The single easiest way to stretch your grocery store dollars is by learning to cook. Ok, you don’t have to be Julia Child (right away!) but your wallet will thank you if you can master a couple of big batch meals. The best big batch recipes are easy to assemble, easy to freeze and can be served in multiple ways.
All of us have access to many delicious recipes on the inter webs. Find a couple that work well for you and shop accordingly. Here’s a video-recipe for one of my personal favourite big batch recipes: CHICKBESA!
IMAGINE YOU’RE ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT!
What do you end up buying almost every time you hit up the grocery store? Milk? Eggs? Lettuce? Imagine if knowing the average price of those standard items stood between you and an amazing prize on the Price Is Right? Would you win? It really does pay to know how much stuff costs! Especially the stuff you’re buying on a regular basis. So, drill the average cost of items into your head. Pay attention to pricing, study the cost of things you use often, and arm yourself with wisdom. If you do, you’ll know right away if the price advertised is a steal of a deal or not. No Frills is a great spot to shop for your grocery staples, especially with their price match guarantee.
And there you have it. Five ways to master grocery shopping! May the savvy shopping vibe be forever with you. #GetTheFrillOutOfYourBill