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 $$$.

grocery basket in aisle
With rising food prices, savvy shopping practices matter more than ever.

Watch the April 2022 CTV segment I did on this topic here: April 19, 2022 TV Segment

Also Read or Watch:

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.

asparagus price
Eat seasonal fruits and veggies for the freshest, most affordable fresh produce.

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!

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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

carrot prices
That big bag of carrots will last for 3 months in your fridge. Pre-chop a bunch at the start of the week, place in water and you save big while still having tasty carrots to snack on.

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.

ham prices
Buy a big cooked ham and slice it yourself – it’s the same thing. The same is true for roast chicken or roast beef.

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.

ground beef prices
Exact same meat in a larger package for almost half the price/kg. True for other types of meat too.

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.

popcorn prices
Air popped popcorn for the win. Even if you add fancy popcorn seasoning at $3.99,
homemade popcorn still comes out ahead.

Some of my favourite sweet and salty homemade snacks are:

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.

dried bean prices
Using dried beans does save money. But even if you don’t have the time or energy for that, go ahead and use canned beans – they are nutritious and affordable.

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:

  1. Make Meals with Beans instead 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:
  2. 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?

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.

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10 Comments

  1. 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.
    Thanks Getty

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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

    1. 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!

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