No matter what your grocery budget is or where you shop, there are a handful of ways to bite back against the rising food costs in Canada. Half of the battle is what you do once you're inside the supermarket, but the potential for greater savings lies in what you do before you even step foot in the store.
Here are six money-wasting habits you should get rid of:
1. Not following coupon sites and your favourite retailers on social media
Many coupon sites, like Save.ca, and retailers post coupons and deals on their social networks that you might not otherwise find in-store. It's a good habit to source deals -- whether through coupons or your local flyer -- for items you purchase regularly (e.g. pantry staples, dairy goods, toiletries) before you run out. That way, you won't need to pay full price when you suddenly need them next week.
2. Not shopping somewhere that offers price matching
Driving all over town to save on butter at one store and chicken breasts at another comes at a high cost too -- your time. Price matching doesn't require hours of prep time, but it does require a certain amount of tact to get it done quickly and courteously.
3. Not knowing what's in season
In-season produce will almost always be cheaper than off-season produce -- and probably much tastier too. Off-season produce is brought in from far away and those travel costs are often downloaded onto the consumer. To find out which vegetables and fruits are in season in Ontario, check out the Availability Guide on the Foodland Ontario website.
4. Not exploring which food items you can order online
Ordering online can be a great way to save on bulk freezer and non-perishable items, instead of waiting for a sale at the store. Worried 10 lbs of ground beef is too much for your family? You can always #SaveItFwd by going dutch with family and friends!
5. Not having a per-meal budget
Deciding on (and sticking to) a per-meal budget will help you set a ceiling for how much you'll spend for each meal's main ingredient. Regardless of whether your target is a set cost per person or a fixed amount for the whole family, a per-meal budget doesn't mean you can't have a delicious, balanced dinner every night. Rather, it encourages you to plan meals inspired by deals and find creative uses for ingredients you already have in your pantry.
6. Not trying newer, simpler recipes
A complicated recipe that requires several different perishable ingredients may leave you with bunches of parsley and tubs of sour cream you end up having to throw out. Sometimes, the most delicious home-cooked meals are the simplest.