Friday, February 6, 2009

Ways To Save On Groceries...

Groceries are a huge part of our monthly budget. We have a family of four + a dog so we spend a tonne at the grocery store each time we go. Our previous ( before budget ) months expense was around $900 !! I have smartened up since then and I have been able to slice our grocery bill buy using some of these tips :

Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

  • Shop at the cheaper version of your favorite store ( sure it may not look so nice when you walking down the aisles but you can get many of the same products for way less ) ( For example did you know that No Frills is the 'basic' version of Zehrs/The Real Canadian Super Store - I love the Presidents Choice brand, good quality but it is way cheaper at No Frills )
  • Plan your grocery list and STICK TO IT !! This has to be one of the hardest things for me, I just can't do it - I go there with the list, but then my mind starts wandering...oh look my favorite shampoo is on sale ( yep, I have a bottle at home but its on sale ... ), an oooooooh there is such a great deal on those chocolate treats - just one pack won't hurt, wow look at those dvds for only $6.99 ( meantime I have probably 500 dvds at home that we never watch )
  • Don't buy prepackaged foods ( you can cut the cheese yourself - sure it won't be a perfect circle like in the lunchables but it will taste better, be less money & better for you/your kids )
  • Buy whats in season as far as fruits and veggies go - then buy the frozen veggies/fruits for anything out of season - they are just as good and usually cheaper
  • Stock up on items that are on sale ( mainly things that you use every day like paper towels, toilet paper etc. )
  • Plan your grocery list around meals you will make for the week ( and plan on making the meals with sale items as your base ingredient - for example if Roast Beef is on sale that week than have that for one nights dinner with the following night being stir fry using the leftovers, maybe some rb sandwiches for lunch ? ) I have heard people say that you should create a weekly menu and buy your groceries based only on that, I don't have time for that kind of planning ( I tried it once and it didn't work out for me, I just ended up frustrated ) So it is a good idea if you have the time and energy - just not gonna work for me
  • Have a set amount of money per month /week that you are allowed to use for groceries - try your absolute best to never go over
  • Clip coupons - this is the easiest and best way I have found for saving money ( actually the other day at Walmart with just coupons alone I was able to shave $32.75 off my bill ! ) You can find coupons online at ( this is one of my alltime favorite sites, they update with new coupons all the time, and they send them to you in the mail very quickly ), you will also find coupons if you search your local flyers ( sometimes as a promotion there will be coupons in food packaging as well ), Brandsaver is a great one that most Ontario residents should get in the mail with their local paper Also check out this site which updates all the time with various coupon offers
  • Use BONUS POINTS and don't forget you have them !! There are lots of really great bonus point systems available, most of which you can redeem for gift cards which equal CASH - my current favorites are listed below :
  • Presidents Choice Mastercard This card can be used anywhere and earns you points, but more points are earned in stores where PC Products are sold ( like No Frills, Superstores etc. ) You get PC points each time you use it plus they mail you all kinds of bonus coupons - just make sure that after you spend the money on the card to get the points you go home and pay that exact amount back on the card so you aren't charged interest. Their points system is that for every $1.00 spent you get 10 PC Points, plus they have certain items that will give you bonus points ( usually Presidents Choice products ), you also receive points for using reusable grocery bags. Basically 20,000 points will get you $20.00 ( which sounds like a lot of points but they send out coupons all the time for 10,000 bonus points, 5X points etc ) It really is a great system, since joining up about a year ago I have gotten around $100 of free groceries ( which you can redeem right at the grocery store - just ask the cashier and she will see if you have enough points to redeem ) * Note don't forget that this is a credit card with a pretty high interest rate so if you use it for the points, go home and pay it using online banking that very day so you aren't charged any interest
  • Sobeys Club Card ~ This card can be used at any Sobeys grocery store. This one is fairly new and is along the same lines as the PC points system, but you don't have to have a credit card ( although they do offer one and you get more points that way ) If you just sign up for the regular Club Sobeys card ( which is what I have and enjoy ) you get one point for every $1 you spend, plus there are all kinds of bonus offers/coupons etc. to get you more points ( 2,000 points = $15 which can be redeemed at the cash, or you can get something from their online catalogue of goodies ) Its not a bad system, I joined about 2 months ago and although I don't shop at Sobeys very often I have gotten $5 so far
  • Airmiles Card ~ This card has been around for a very long time and can be used at a wide variety of locations including Safeway, I.G.A., LCBO, Pharmasave, Rexall, Holiday Inns, Boston Pizza, American Eagle, Footlocker, Eddie Bauer, La Senza, Sport Chek, Victorias Secret, Shell Gas, Toys R Us, Global Pet Foods, PetSmart, The Bay, Zellers and a bunch more. The reward system is great and can be redeemed for things other than just air travel including my favorites - gift cards ! ) They also mail out lots of bonus offer coupons - so watch your mailbox
  • HBC Rewards Program ~ This card can be used alone at any Zellers/Bay or Home Outfitters or for added points use it with your HBC credit card ( just remember to pay the amount you spend right away so you are not charged any interest ) You get 50 points for every dollar you spend ( the points double if you use the credit card ). These points can be redeemed for a variety of goodies on their website, exchanged for airmiles or you can cash them in for gift cards ( 200,000 points for $25.00 ) You will get loads of great bonus point offers in the mail and if you use them you will be amazed by how quickly points accumulate - since joining about 2 years ago I have cashed in around $75.00 and I don't shop at their stores as often as I probably should
  • Restaurant Loyalty Cards ~ This is something that you must get if you eat out often, almost every restaurant has some kind of a reward program for people who visit more than once a month. Just ask before you pay your bill - we have one for Jack Astors ( you buy 6 lunches, and get one free ), Canyon Creek ( loyalty card gets %10 off every bill - they have to send this one to you and it is hard to get - so don't be disapointed if they say no, only at certain locations ), sub club cards ( most sub shops have some sort of system - ever seen that Seinfeld episode where Elaine just has to eat 'one more sub' - I love Seinfeld ! You can also get great loyalty cards with some clothing stores ( my favorite is Suzy Shier , you have to pay for the discount card but if you buy a lot of clothing there it is well worth it - I have saved a lot)

I will be posting again shortly with more ideas, I just need to give my mind a little rest for the moment...

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