Struggling with the rising cost of food? Beat inflation with these 10 tips that will help you save money on groceries!
How to Save Money on Groceries
Times are tough, and the rising cost of food is no help! With inflation, it can be challenging to put healthy meals on the table. There are several ways you can cut your food budget without scrimping on nutrition or flavour. Whether it's meal planning, meal prepping or shopping differently, these small changes will make a big impact when it comes to your grocery bill each week.
Shop your fridge, freezer and pantry first
I always recommend doing a full fridge, freezer and pantry sweep before you start meal planning. This way, you can make sure you're using up ingredients you already have before they go bad. There's really nothing worse than food waste!
Once I know what I need to use up, I make a meal plan based around that. If you need any help with that, be sure to check out my guide to meal planning for all my tips and tricks.
Meal plan based on flyers
Looking at flyers is another part of my meal planning routine each week. I often base my meals around what's on sale – especially when it comes to meat and proteins.
I like to buy meat in bulk and freeze it when I get a really good deal on it! Depending on the type of meat you're freezing, it will last at least 3-4 months in the freezer (sometimes even longer!).
Get familiar with your local stores and if they have a price-match policy, too. If so, you don't need to hit up multiple stores to get the best sale prices.
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Use overlapping ingredients
One way to save money on groceries is to use overlapping ingredients. Some recipes may call for half a bell pepper, for example, and instead of letting that go to waste, you can use it in another recipe later in the week.
I do this a lot when I create meal plans for Dinner Prep Pro. I'll look at what sort of ingredients people will have left over from the previous week and figure out ways they can use them up the following week.
Long lasting produce like celery, carrots, and potatoes are great to keep in mind, along with other perishables like dairy and nuts.
Feel free to make substitutes to any recipes, too, when it makes sense to use up what you have instead of buying something new. All my recipes on the blog offer substitution ideas for each ingredient.
Cook with produce that's in season
If you want to save the most money on produce, try to cook in season! Fruits and vegetables are often cheaper when they're in season (especially if they are locally grown) and they taste better, too. See below for a quick list of some of my favourite vegetables for each season. If you want more ideas, I've got a complete guide to seasonal produce on the blog!
Winter fruits and vegetables:
- Brussels sprouts
Spring fruits and vegetables:
Summer fruits and vegetables:
Fall fruits and vegetables:
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potato
Try meatless meals
I love using a variety of proteins in my meal plans, from chicken to beef to seafood and vegetarian proteins. If budget is a huge factor for you, though, try more vegetarian meals.
Canned beans, dried lentils, and tofu are much cheaper protein sources than meat. A bit hesitant? Even meat-eaters will enjoy these vegetarian dinner recipes!
Prepping ingredients on a Sunday is a way to guarantee I use them up throughout the week.
How many times have you had a long day and ordered takeout instead of cooking dinner because you just couldn't be bothered to cook?
I've had that happen a few times more than I care to admit! Since starting to prep ingredients, cooking dinners on weeknights has been so much easier and quicker.
This will help you wallet in two ways. Not only will you cut back on expensive takeout, you'll also make sure your groceries don't go to waste!
Check out how I food prep for the week in just one hour to see just how simple it can be.
Embrace and repurpose leftovers
Leftovers are a key to saving money! By planning to eat leftovers once or twice, you don't have to cook more food than you need which saves time and money.
Get creative and repurpose your leftovers, too, to make quick and easy meals. Yesterday's leftover rice can become fried rice, shredded chicken can be added to a salad, or throw some extra veggies on a pita pizza.
I rounded up all my top leftover meal ideas if you need any more inspiration!
Stay away from packaged foods
When it comes to packaged foods, you're going to pay a premium for less food.
You can make whole food ingredients stretch a lot further and use them in multiple meals to keep costs down.
If you're finding it hard to break up with frozen meals, try making a batch of your own freezer meals one day. Homemade salad dressings are easier, healthier, and a lot more affordable than store-bought alternatives. You can't forget the snack aisle, either! Try these healthy snack recipes and bring them to work instead of buying pre-packaged granola bars.
Take a look at the unit price and don't be afraid to buy bulk
Next time you're at the grocery store, take a look at the price label. You'll probably see a unit price on the bottom of the label that tells you how much an item costs per gram or ounce.
This can be really useful in figuring out what the best buy is. Sometimes, it's cheaper in the long run to go for the bigger package and pay less per unit. However, keep note of the expiration date to make sure you and your family will use up everything before it expires.
Don't be afraid to buy in bulk when it comes to household staples you use again and again like rice or pasta. While you might spend a bit more upfront, your future grocery bills will be smaller and much more manageable.
Shop after eating or consider online ordering
Want to avoid impulse purchases? Easy! Shop when you're full, not hungry!
I like shopping right after breakfast or right after dinner. That way, my rumbling stomach won't be calling the shots and I can stick to buying just the essentials on my grocery list. Try it and see just how much less food is in your cart once you get to the checkout!
You can also try ordering your groceries online and doing curbside pickup instead if you want to cut back on unnecessary purchases. That way, you won't be lured in by the snacks and treats at the end of each aisle. While ordering your groceries may come with a fee, it should still save you money if you're prone to loading up your cart every time you're in the store.
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