Grocery prices are going up—here are some tips to keep yours down
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2018 2:29PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:56PM EST
A new report indicates that food prices across the country are going up.
Researchers from the University of Guelph and Dalhousie University say the average family of four will spend more than $12,000 on groceries in 2019.
That’s an increase of $411 compared to 2018.
The cost of vegetables was cited as a major factor, expected to jump in price between four and six per cent due to demand and weather.
Canadians reducing meat consumption and an oversupply will actually decrease meat prices by between one and three per cent.
So how can you save money on your grocery bill?
Shop with flyers
Grocery stores issue fliers weekly with their listed deals. By consulting these flyers, you can plan your grocery shop more cost and time effectively.
Using these ahead of time, you can make your grocery list store-specific before leaving the door.
You may not get flyers from every grocery store in your area, but there are a number of apps that help you navigate grocery store deals.
Kitchener app company Reebee allows users to consult different stores and create a shopping list on your phone.
Toronto-based Flipp also collects apps in your postal code to make shopping easier. It also offers you coupons that you can use on products at your local stores.
“You can take these flyers or these digital flyers and just price match them at your local superstore or local grocery store,” explained personal finance expert Barry Choi.
There are plenty of different shopping apps available to consumers—it’s just a matter of picking the one best-suited to you.
Some grocery stores will match prices found at others in order to encourage you to buy there.
This can be an effective way to save time over driving from store to store.
Apps, as mentioned earlier, can be useful in making this process faster by collecting all the ads in one place.
Buying online may also help cut costs.
Grocery shopping online allows the buyer to review their order—and its cost—before making a payment.
Working with a tight budget? You can make sure you aren’t a dollar over without having to do mental math, or remembering whether or not you pay tax on coffee.
The other benefit of online grocery shopping is it can help cut down on impulse purchasing. By creating a grocery list and searching item by item, temptations—especially sensory ones like smell—can be reduced.
Grant Bone gathers a customer's order at a Loblaws outlet, in Toronto, on Thursday, June 16, 2016. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Use loyalty programs
Some companies offer loyalty rewards for shopping with them.
Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Sobeys all have loyalty rewards, which can be redeemed for savings on groceries or spent on gifts.
These rewards can make buying something for a few more cents at a grocery store worthwhile. When combining loyalty programs with price-matching, shopping at one store can very effective in both time and cost.
Shop for tonight
When produce is on its way to its best before date, many grocery stores will slash prices in order to sell them.
If you can implement peppers into your meal in the coming days, you could be cutting down on the cost of them by nearly half.
Many sales are put on for the same reason. Bread is more likely to go on sale if it is closer to expiring, but if you’re willing to buy a loaf and freeze it, you can see big savings.
Buy in bulk
On the topic of freezing, buying things in bulk can also help you save.
Wholesale stores like Costco have made a name by offering more for less, and while you might not need three loaves of bread in one shopping trip, you can take advantage of the savings by using the freezer.
Buying more typically drops the cost per unit, but make sure you only buy what you’ll use.
Visit different stores
For those who opt not to use an app, sometimes getting in the car and driving to another store can be cost-effective.
Different stores specialize in different products, and they also have different sales at different times.
By adding even one more grocery store into your routine, you can take advantage of sale prices on different items.
You don’t need to go far—in Kitchener, for example, there is a Food Basics and a Sobeys within two blocks of one another on Highland Road West.