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How to Reduce your Food Budget

By Debt.ca on September 8, 2021 No Comments
A couple shopping and reducing their food budget

Savvy shoppers are always looking for valid food budget tips. And who could blame them? According to Canada’s Food Price Report 2021, annual food expenditure could go up by as much as $695 compared to 2020.

If you are in debt, consider some ways you can stretch your food budget to put extra money towards what you owe. Staying consistent will reflect accordingly on your credit card statements in no time. conscious of your spending and focusing your money in a way that best achieves your goals. Being frugal with food doesn’t mean compromising your health.

How to Save Money on Groceries

Make a Meal Plan and a Grocery List Before You Leave the House

If you want to optimize your grocery budget, plan your meals. It’s not just a fitness coach’s mantra. When you plan out your meals, you save money on food. It’s as simple as that.

Making a list before you go grocery shopping can help reduce food waste as well. Stick to your list and watch your grocery bill reduce and stabilize.

Don’t allow yourself to go for budget-breaking surprises. You can use a physical list or get an app to help you with your meal prep ideas and shopping.

woman shopping and looking at food budget on phone

Buy What’s on Sale

Sign up for emails or check the website before you make your list.  An easy way to save money while shopping is to focus on what’s on sale. Rather than buying the same item every week, get creative. Enjoy the process and have fun Googling new ways to feed your family.

Coupons

This seems obvious but sometimes it’s forgotten. Don’t just check your local market go straight to the source to get savings.If there’s a brand you like, support them.  Manufacturers will send you coupons and have special deals if  you follow them on social media.

Price Matching

Did you know some stores price match? Check out local competitors’ flyers and online listings and find out if your favorite grocery will match their prices. Save a trip and a few bucks.

Shop with Cash

You will be less likely to exceed your food budget if you only have enough to cover your groceries. If you checked the sales you should have planned for the BOGO ice cream.

Don’t Shop When You Are “Hangry”

Research shows that shopping hungry promotes the purchase of both food and non-food items.  So make sure you are fed before you go shopping. Curb the craving and curve your impulse spending.

Switch to Store brand

Switching to store-brand items is a good first step to saving money. Many one ingredient items such as generic sugar and salt often come from the same manufacturing facility as the name-brand ones. Check ingredients, sometimes the lesser-known brands have less preservatives and cheaper prices. Frozen fruits and  veggies are much cheaper than fresh, especially out of season produce.

Think before You Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk at discount stores is NOT always a cheaper option. When you have a budget to stick to, make sure to compare the price per unit for the item. Buying non-perishable items in bulk could be a great investment for a big family, but you should avoid buying 5 litres of milk when it is just you and your partner.

Shop at discount grocery stores or salvage supermarkets

Comparison shop. take the time to check out other stores online and see if anything you need is cheaper. As long as you are not driving too far away to get there, go to a few stores and get the best prices in your area. Some stores offer discounts on damaged packaging or ugly produce. a dented box or lumpy tomato are still yummy just not as easy to sell. Don’t judge products for their flaws.

Shop Specialty

Check out farmer’s markets and butchers for deals. Farmer’s markets may have ugly produce for a lower price. Some seasonal produce is great for the freezer, just slice, dice, or peal.

Butchers can offer bulk prices on meat you can freeze. Get the large cut of beef or pork, or whole chicken and break it down yourself and divide into freezer bags.

Shop the perimeter 

Take advantage of the store’s bakery, produce, and butcher sections. Load your cart with fresh, healthy, and in-season items, and avoid pre-washed and pre-cut items. Fruits and veggies that are in season are always cheaper. Buy your bread from the bakery, instead of choosing a mass-produced brand of bread. Speak with the butcher about your meat choices. Ask what cuts of meat are lean and how you can prepare them. Get a better deal since fresh meat is more affordable than pre-cooked chicken or frozen cuts.

Grow Your Own

Think about growing some vegetables in the summer. Lots or herbs will sprout roots from stems soaked in water. start a little herb garden from when you just bought at the store. Renewable food!  No matter if you have a backyard or not, many vegetables and herbs could grow in containers on your sunny balcony or window. Turn it into a hobby that saves you money.

How to Save When You Go Out to a Restaurant

Change What You Drink

Often the highest portion of any restaurant bill comes not from what people eat but from what people drink. Many restaurants will keep their food prices at a reasonable level but charge a lot for alcoholic drinks. Imagine how much you could save if you skipped the cocktails and wine, but you had soft drinks instead.

Change When You Eat

Sometimes the key to dining out and saving money is changing what time you go. Early bird specials or happy hours have cheap eats. Sports season can bring specials too, check out a game and grab some grub.

Change What You Eat

You don’t have to get the usual, check out the specials on the menu. Reconsider adding shrimp and just have a plain salad. If the establishment is known for large portions, just split an entree.

Look for Deals

Most restaurants will offer deals like coupons, midweek specials, and social media promotions when they’re less busy. If you’re willing to be a little bit flexible, these deals can be a great way for you to reduce your restaurant bills. Sign up for email or follow your favourite establishments on places like Facebook and Instagram, and you’ll be one of the first to know about their latest promotions and coupons.

Final Thought

Optimizing your food budget can help you focus on your larger goals. You’ll likely find yourself getting more creative with your meals and having more fun with your cooking. Trying new restaurants offering deals while expanding your culinary limits. Enjoy exploring new foods at home and out.

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