6 Tips To Save On Groceries
Having never lived on my own before moving to Victoria, I suddenly needed to learn how to grocery shop once or twice a week.
It sounds silly to say that grocery shopping is a skill or an art, but it’s always easier to spend money than to save it.
I’m not the perfect image of saving money (just take a look at my credit card statements), but here are some of my tips on saving money when grocery shopping in Victoria!
Tip #1: Save up on those rewards points
Many grocery stores will have a rewards program to get you to shop there more often. For example, Save-On Foods has the More Rewards program, Shoppers and Superstore have the PC Optimum program, and you can collect Air Miles at Thrifty Foods.
Earning points will definitely take some time and effort but once you accumulate enough points, you could be saving $10 or $20 at a grocery trip in a month or two; a $10 or $20 you couldn’t get anywhere else.
Tip #2: Go for generic
Brand recognition is how many food manufacturers can get you to pay up, but did you know that many generic brands of different products you use can be of similar, if not better quality than the name-brand version?
Of course, there will always be products that people swear by that aren’t the same as the generic, like drinks or chips, but for other items like salt, you won’t notice a difference in taste but your wallet sure will!
Tip #3: Resist the pre-packaged urge
Being a university student means you’re busy, so when you walk past the frozen foods aisle, you might be tempted to grab some pizza bites or a microwave dinner, but the convenience of pre-packaged foods comes at a premium.
Instead of buying a pack of shredded cheese for your nachos, a block of cheese can save you way more money and all you need is a grater and a little elbow grease.
Tip #4: Buy bulk or bust
One of the reasons why I didn’t really like buying bulk foods, like ground meat or a large sack of rice, is that they seemed really big and expensive and I am not a very forward thinker. But when you buy groceries with the intent of keeping them for weeks or months at a time (rice is very shelf stable and ground meat can be frozen), it alleviates a lot of stress when you don’t know what to eat or to continually need to buy groceries to “top-up” what you’ve eaten through.
Tip #5: Begin with the end in mind
Creating a grocery list or only limiting yourself to the staples when it’s time to shop will save you tons of money and time by not being tempted to buy snacks and candy from the “impulse” section at the cashier, distracting you so you forget the whole reason you went to the grocery store – having a list saves you a trip!
In the same way, you should only go grocery shopping after you have eaten. Sure, those samosas in the ready-to-eat section look so good now, but do you really need to spend the extra $5?
Tip #6: Price-match everything
Just like rewards points, some grocery stores have a price-matching program to gain your loyalty. Price-matching is when one store will match or even beat the price of the same product at a different store if you bring in their flyer.
If you’re not big on looking through the newspaper to find the best price, there are apps that collate flyers from all over the area to find the best price on all your groceries.
Price-matching can also save you time from having to drive or take the bus all over town to go to different places. In the Victoria area, Save-On Foods and Superstore price-match other grocery stores.
What’s most important to know about saving money on groceries is that you will not notice it right away. It requires patience and optimism that during most days, I don’t even have myself – see what I mean when I say it’s an art? So go out there, show those grocery stores who’s boss, and in the end, you’ll have a full stomach and hopefully a full wallet too!
Do you have any tips on how to save the most at the grocery store?
And don’t forget – in Greater Victoria, we don’t use plastic bags, so remember to bring a reusable bag or you can purchase one at the till at any grocery store.