You are located in .
Woman in blue button down reaching for small potatoes in grocery store

5 ways to save money when grocery shopping

Family Friendly Meals
Family Friendly Meals

1. Plan your meals for the week and stick to your list!

Does the idea of meal planning sound intimidating? Is it something you downright avoid? I’m here to tell you that this is one of THE BEST ways to save money on groceries. Meal planning can help reduce the frequency of take-out meals and having that grocery list in your pocket can help reduce those sneaky “impulse purchases”. Creating a grocery list doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you focus on the following staples:

  • 3-4 cost effective protein sources like eggs, canned fish, legumes, or sausages.

  • 3-4 veggies and 2-3 in-season fruits. For the month of April this might include cabbage, carrots, squash, onions, mushrooms, apples, and rhubarb.

  • 2-3 complex carbs like potatoes, buckwheat, and quinoa.

  • Finally, 3-4 snack items like hummus, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and whole wheat crackers.

2. Raid your pantry and get creative!

If your goal is to save money on groceries, there is one skill worth mastering - minimizing food waste and maximizing the food that’s sitting in your kitchen right now! Remember, wasted food equals wasted money. Too often, we’re quick to make another grocery run instead of using the food we have on hand.

Take a quick inventory of what you currently have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Next, create your 7-day meal plan based on these foods, and make note of what is missing. This way all that you are buying from the grocery store are supplemental items. Why purchase more food when you have leftover mashed potatoes and salmon at home? This can be a perfect opportunity to fry up some fish cakes and serve with tartar sauce using that leftover Greek yogurt.

3. Go meatless 2-3 times/week

Tofu, edamame, and lentils are just a few examples of plant-based foods that will save you money! Keep in mind that you can find a meatless variation of just about any recipe. Swap your beef stroganoff with a creamy mushroom Greek yogurt stroganoff. Swap your chicken stir fry with a tasty tofu edamame stir fry and pair with a higher protein carb like chickpea pasta or soba noodles.

4. Take advantage of sales

Note which foods you cook with most often and keep an eye out for weekly promotions. Stockpiling 2-3kg of chicken and freezing for later use can be a huge money saver. Going to the grocery store at specific times (either early mornings or right before closing) generally offers a greater selection of clearance items.

5. Start freezing your foods asap

Frozen foods often have a bad reputation for not being as tasty or nutritious, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Frozen and canned veggies can help you cut down on waste big time, and because these foods are frozen soon after harvest at the peak of ripeness, many of the nutrients are retained. Don’t feel like you need to buy buckets full of fresh vegetables - there’s a high chance they will end up rotting at the back of your fridge because you couldn’t eat them fast enough. Remember that foods with a notoriously short shelf-life are the best ones to buy frozen, or to buy in bulk to then portion out and freeze. These include berries, bananas, fish, meat, bread, and leafy greens. Pro tip: remove the foods from their bulky cardboard containers and portion out your food into labeled and dated zip lock bags to make more space in your freezer.

A note about the author: Lisa Makeeva is an in-store dietitian at Loblaws Bayview Village. You can find Lisa on Instagram @loblaws.dietitian.lisam