5 More Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Here are 5 more ways to save money on groceries. Let’s get serious and help you discover how to:
- pay 1/3 less on produce
- save half the cost on luncheon meat
- save big on meat like ground beef, chicken and pork
- reduce money spent on snacks
- use beans and other pulses to save money
Add these ideas to previous tips I’ve shared (see list below) and you’ll save big $$$.
Watch the April 2022 CTV segment I did on this topic here: April 19, 2022 TV Segment
Also Read or Watch:
- How to Meal Plan to Save Money and Eat Healthy
- Grocery Shopping Tips to Save Money
- Grocery Store Shopping Tour on CTVMorning Live
- Canada’s Food Price Report 2021 with Tips for Eating Well
- Budget Friendly Food Tips for MoneySmart Manitoba
- Tips for Eating Well with Rising Food Prices
5 More Ways to Save Money on Groceries
1. Buy Seasonal Produce
When you buy fresh produce that’s in season, you get the most flavourful produce at the best price. Okay, this may not be a new tip – but it’s one of my favourites and worth repeating. With rising fuel prices and the ongoing challenges posed by climate change – buying seasonal, local will become more important.
For example – you’ll pay almost three times as much for asparagus out of season and it won’t be as tasty.
This is true for fruits and berries too. Fresh berries or stone fruit will cost much more when out of season and they won’t taste as good. Buy frozen or canned instead – you’ll get all the nutritional benefits with great flavour at a much lower price.
To keep track of seasonal foods, subscribe to my monthly Seasonal food email. You’ll get a monthly listing of the produce in season, how to store it, favourite recipes and a 7 day meal plan – for free – every month!
2. Buy Whole Foods
Pre-cut or pre-shredded food costs more. There’s a price for convenience.
By doing more prep work at home, you can save money. A lot of money!
Two more reasons to buy whole foods:
Food Safety – pre-cut fruits and vegetables increase the risk of exposure to foodborne illness due to pathogens like salmonella, listeria and E. coli. The more food is handled, cut and processed, the greater the risk of contamination.
Shelf-Life – cut, processed foods have a shorter shelf life than whole foods which could lead to higher food waste.
Here are some examples
Is it EVER Okay to Buy Pre-cut?
Of course! If you prefer them – buy them. I just want you to be aware of the price difference so you can be fully informed.
If buying convenient, pre-cut fruits and veggies is enabling you to eat healthier and prep healthy meals – GO FOR IT! You’ll save money and eat healthier versus take out.
The same idea applies to the cheese, meat and deli counter too. Anytime you have pre-chopped anything – you’re going to pay for it.
Be aware of what you’re paying for, decide if it’s worth it for you and choose accordingly – it’s all good.
3. Buy Big and Freeze
If you have freezer space, there’s often money to be saved by buying bigger sized packages – sometimes called “family size” or “club size”. This is especially true in the meat section.
Getty’s Rant – When I see this practice, I want to have a word with the person in charge of pricing. This practice hurts low income people and seniors more than anyone. If you don’t have extra cash to buy big – you’re penalized. If you don’t have a freezer – you’re penalized. If you’re only buying for one or two people – you’re penalized. I get that there’s extra packaging and labour involved in making smaller batches – but twice as much more?! This is one of those cases where you have to have money to save money. Know what I mean?
How to Repackage Meat to Avoid Freezer Burn
- Do NOT throw the whole cello wrapped package in the freezer. Store packaging is not airtight and will lead to freezer burn very quickly.
- Split large packs into convenient, useable portion sizes. Smaller packs will allow you to thaw only what you need. While thawing and refreezing is technically safe, it leads to flavour and texture loss, so it’s good to avoid.
- For extended storage, wrap meat tightly in an extra layer of plastic, foil or parchment before adding to freezer container.
- Choose a container/bag that fits snugly to reduce the amount of air. When sealing, remove as much air as possible from the package and seal tightly.
Pro Tip: Freezer burn, which looks like dry, leathery gray spots, makes food dry and tough with an off-flavour. It’s not very appealing, but it is safe to eat. If it happens, trim off the spots and add extra seasoning to your food. I recommend a recipe with a lot of moisture – like soups, stews, casseroles or curries.
4. Make Your Own Snacks
The snacking industry is big business and it’s out to get your money! Think about which snacks you can make on your own. You’ll save money and likely have a much healthier option.
Some of my favourite sweet and salty homemade snacks are:
- muffins Lemon Berry Muffins, Cranberry Walnut, Carrot & Applesauce, Seedy Rhubarb Oat
- loaves/cakes Carrot Cake, Banana Loaf, Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
- cookies M&M Cookies, Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies, Cranberry Chocolate Cookies, Banana Oat Cookies
- fruit leather Cranberry Fruit Leather, Rhubarb Fruit Leather, Pumpkin Fruit Leather
- bars & energy bites Crunchy Honey Oat Granola Bar, Chocolate Energy Bites, Apple Almond Bars
- salty snacks Nuts and Bolts, Popcorn Seasoning, Feta Flatbreads, Roasted Chickpeas, Trail Mix
- popcorn – check out the different seasoning mixes you can make at home
5. Use Beans or Pulses More Often & More Strategically
If you have time and energy – cooking beans from their dried state can save you money, almost 1/3 of the price of canned beans. But even if you want to use canned beans, they’re a great choice.
Read: Tips and Reference Chart for Cooking Dried Pulses
Save Money with Canned Beans
Even if you use canned beans – you can save money with pulses. They’re a nutritious and affordable source of protein and fibre so make good use of them. Here’s how:
- Make Meals with Beansinstead of Meat – Beans are a rich, affordable source of protein and work great for nutritious satisfying meatless meals. For example lean ground beef costs ~$9/kg and canned beans cost about ~$2/kg. Try these tasty pulse inspired meals:
- Replace Some of the Meat in Dishes with Pulses – It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even if you just replace a portion of your meat with beans, peas or lentils you’ll save money. What dishes can you think of where you can replace half the meat with beans?
- Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup
- The Ultimate Customizable Chowder – use pureed white beans for thickness and added protein
- Lentil Soup – Top with crumbled bacon to get a hint of meat
- Green Bean and Pork Chili
Stay tuned for more money saving tips next month.
Do you find tips like this useful? Want me to share more? What are your favourite ways to save money on groceries? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on social media Instagram @GetGettyS or on Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.
Yes these are great tips. Families need to hear about this more from our local health units. How to eat healthy on a budget. I cannot get over the price of all goods. It takes time to navigate this world to get bargains. Need to go to 3 stores to get the deal. Working families can’t do this.
Too bad there are no more Home Economists and such limited public health staff to provide this kind of education on an ongoing basis. It does require time and I totally understand that by the end of the day, there just isn’t a lot of energy left for decision making and food prep. Our system is broken.
Very helpful tips! Thank you!
Thanks Stephanie! Good luck out there!
These are great tips. Thanks for going into more detail than a lot of similar articles out there. My favourite way to save money on meat is to buy a half a grass fed/finished beef or a full pastured pork-it’s locally and sustainably raised, I get to choose the cuts, I get to have the bones to make homemade stock, I get free delivery, and even though it’s healthier than grocery store meat, it’s still cheaper than buying meat from the grocery store. I realize this option doesn’t work for everyone, but if you have the freezer space, it can be a great option. Before I started growing my own vegetables, I also loved purchasing a vegetable CSA-I’ve been told it’s often about 20% cheaper than buying the same vegetables from the farmer’s market. I also signed up for a local grain CSA this year, and saved money that way.
Awesome tips, Dana, thank you for sharing. I also think supporting local growers and producers is also good for long term food security and sustainability. It’s worth thinking a little deeper about our food.
I always buy chicken,beef,or pork at my local Sobeys when they put it on “ buy one get one free” special. This is a regular occurrence and cuts your meat costs significantly
Getting to know your grocery store and how they manage their produce/meat/dairy is a great strategy. Once you’re aware of when they mark down items and where they place them in the store – you can really save!
Great suggestions and ideas. I appreciate your insight and delicious recipes.
Thanks for letting me know! Comments like this keep me going!