No, you aren’t having a nightmare! The grocery cost is skyrocketing as governments keep printing money leading to a higher than expected inflation. Cost of food increased by 1.50% in May of 2021 over the month of May 2020. It is very import to find proven methods to save money on groceries and food in general.
My family’s second highest annual spending after traveling is grocery. In this post, I will be covering our proven money saving strategies so we can invest that savings to generate more passive income.
How to Save Money on Groceries and Food Shopping & Best Grocery Shopping Apps in Canada?
If you would like to know the answer please tag along as I will provide detailed answers we have been using for years and proven to be a game changer in saving lots of money on grocery shopping in Canada.
Use Free Loyalty Program PC Optimum App
PC Optimum is my favorite grocery shopping app. I accumulate points when I shop from No Frills, Superstore, Maxi, Shoppers Drug Mart, Esso, and all Loblaws markets.
Before going to one of the mentioned stores, I check the app to see what offers are available for the week. I try to maximize the points by buying more of the weekly offered items. We love the no name Frozen Vegetables so that is one of top items which usually comes with a 400 Points for every $2 which is a 20% discount. Every 10,000 PC Points can be redeemed for $10 worth of shopping.
You can usually find items like Ketchup, Canned Vegetables, Pickles, Pudding, Tortilla, Yogurt, Cream Cheese, Canned Tuna, Mayonnaise, and many more on the list.
I also love when they have special offers such as spend $100 and get 15000 PC Points or the almost weekly offer of get 20,000 points for $60 in Shoppers Drug Mart. Occasionally, there are Bonus Redemptions as well which basically means you get extra off for points redemption. Get up to $40 off when you redeem 30,000 points.
Don’t Grocery Shop Hungry
I didn’t believe this until I started shopping in the evenings when I am full! You look at all the snacks and just don’t feel liking them so ignoring junk is much easier when we aren’t hungry.
Basically, our stomach can influence our decision making. Try it and you won’t regret shopping with a full stomach.
Utilize & Check Fliers and Coupons on Flipp App
Flipp is my second favorite shopping app which serves as a one-stop marketplace for savings and deals where browning weekly digital flyers is super convenient. I have my local stores marked as favorite and I only check those stores to avoid temptations. For me, the list contains Maxi, Super C, Metro, and Walmart.
Maxi is the No Frills version of Quebec. I also occasionally check Provigo which is the Superstore. The app has over 2000 stores listed. In addition, there are coupons to use, and it simplifies the price match process which is another proven method to save on grocery shopping!
Don’t Let Costco Membership Seduces You
This is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t believe in paid loyalty membership programs where you are promised to get discounts. Therefore, I don’t have a Costco membership.
This also saves me from struggling with finding a parking and waiting in long lines. However, many people find buying canned goods, rice, pasta, and frozen items cheaper in Costco.
Buy Generic Brands (no name, President’s Choice, Great Value)
I love generic brands like no name, President’s Choice, and Walmart’s Great Value. I read the Nutrition Facts and I can say with confidence that generic brands are often much better. Dave Ramsey did a detailed comparison to show how much can be saved by using generic brands.
Use a Cashback Credit Card
I have been using BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card which offers 5 BMO points (~3.5%) on gas and groceries. Find out how and why I applied for this card under 3 New Credit Cards in 2 Days! A Potential Free $1000 in Points and Cash.
Other great credit cards include CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite and Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite which both earn 4% on groceries. Although, the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard racks up 30 PC Points per $1 which makes it a 3% return in Loblaws stores.
Earning cashback on grocery is another great hack to save more on groceries which everyone should take advantage of as long as they pay their balance in full.
Use Ampli App
Ampli which is powered by RBC offers cashback on some of Canada’s favorite brands. It works by connecting your debit and credit cards on the app. Pay the normal way you pay for any purchase. If the brand is supported, you will earn cashback which can be transferred by e-Transfer when it reaches $15.
Related to out food saving topic, you can earn extra cashback for purchasing from HelloFresh which is a meal kit delivery service when you use a linked card to Ampli App. Please note that HelloFresh is just an example and not a recommendation.
Stock-up on Sale Items
Buy more when on sale! I stockpile all kinds of non-perishables food plus anything that can be frozen like bread, meat, chicken, and even Cheese. Recently, I have been also seeing great deals for eggs so I have been buying a lot as long as I know we can eat them before the expiry date.
Once, we made a last minute travel plan and had eggs going to expire before our return. Basically, we ended up mixing some eggs enough for a meal (4-5) and froze in a small zipper bag.
I do this every time there is a deal to avoid paying the full price as much as possible. This technique saves us a lot of money on buying groceries.
Create a Grocery List
This avoids falling a victim to the colorful brands in stores. I admit that even though I always have a grocery list, I don’t resist a good deal on a required item which I missed while checking the flyer.
In addition, sometimes, stores offer deals not mentioned on the flyer or there are discounts on expiring items. I make exception for these items and buy them if I am certain they will be consumed by us.
Make your list direct your shopping. I don’t try to memorize my grocery list and instead I use Evernote app. This grocery list should be realistic and comprehensive.
Take Advantage of Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)
This is a voluntary practice in participants stores across Canada except for Quebec where it is a law with all stores participation being mandatory. If the item is more than $10, the customer is entitled to a $10 off the lowest advertised or displayed price.
It does pay to watch the register prices as they go in or scan the receipt on your way out of the store. This code applies even if there is a 1 cent difference, and you get the discount on each unique Universal Product Code (UPC).
Compare the Unit Price
Don’t just look at the total sticker price but calculate the cost per pound or gram. I personally use my smart device (Phone or Tablet) calculator while staring at items in the fridges or inside the isles all the time to figure out if buying the bigger, heavier, and more expensive item saves me some dollars or not.
Use Checkout 51 App
Checkout 51 App offers money back on specific products after purchase. You just need to take a photo of your receipt, upload it through the app, and once it’s approved, generally within 48 hours, you’ll see money in your account. Once you’ve acquired $20, you can request a cheque.
Don’t Take the Kids
This is a big saving practice. I personally never take my kids when I do grocery shopping especially since the pandemic started. I just ask them what they’d like me to buy before going.
It is also interesting that the kid’s list is always full of fruits and ice cream! You are going to save a lot by not having to deal or listen to cranky kids begging to buy some colorful junk foods.
Rakuten helps saving and earning cashback by simply opening the site you are shopping from through Rakuten. It works like an affiliative program and shares a percentage of the profit with you. Rakuten isn’t primarily a grocery service, but it has offers on department and grocery stores or services.
For example, it offers up to 1.0% cashback on Walmart or $7 on HelloFresh at the time of writing this article.
Use Flashfood App
Flashfood helps getting massive savings on fresh food items like meat and products that are nearing their best before (Expiry) date at grocery stores across Canada and is very simple to use.
First, use the free app to find discounted food quickly from wherever you are. Pay inside the app using debit or credit card, and finally pickup your Flashfood item at the grocery.
Final Thoughts to Save Money on Grocery in Canada
Saving money on grocery is a mentality and lifestyle change. The savings might look small but it adds up quickly. I can honestly say, we have been saving hundreds if not thousands yearly by following all the mentioned practices above.
There are some other recommendations which I didn’t mention such as to avoid buying bottled water. Another recommended practice is to cut the sugar which is a health and financial boost.
I am certain there are other techniques and services which can help save more on grocery. However, consistency is a golden key in any savings or investing plan and whatever solution to utilize, you need to be consistent with the approach to see the benefits.
Thank you for reading! Please share your personal experiences in grocery savings. What is your favorite app or service?