Are you looking to save money on groceries but not quite ready to become a total frugalista? Perhaps you recently decided to monitor your spending more closely, or you are interested in becoming more frugal but you are not quite ready to start making all your food from scratch and radically change your eating habits. That is ok. Sometimes becoming more frugal can require major lifestyle changes, but it can also come in small, simple changes to your regular habits. Consider the following tips a gateway on your journey to smarter spending.
Save Money Without Buying Less By:
1. Price Matching
If the idea of flipping through a zillion fliers and then holding up the line at the grocery store does not sound like your idea of fun, I do not blame you. Price matching does not have to be a burden. It can be easy and rewarding. Not only will it save you money on groceries, it will save you money on gas and time when you are not running from store to store trying to get the best price. Find a store where you can price match with a few other retailers. My local No Frills will price match with Metro and Walmart. Three flyers. That is doable. If it is not on sale at one of these three stores, I likely can wait to purchase it until it is. I circle everything in the fliers that I want to price match and put all these items on the counter first when I go to check out. Being organized makes the price matching go very quickly and it does not feel like a burden at all. Price Matching saves me, on average, about $10-$12 per week. A friend with a large family told me that she saves about $50.00 a week by price matching. This is a big savings without you having to change what you are buying or eating.
2. Join a Rewards Program
Does your supermarket offer a rewards program? Is it worth switching to get one? I try to get double rewards on all trips to the supermarket. Most of my grocery shopping is done at Costco (where I have an Executive Membership), No Frills (where I have PC Plus), or Shoppers Drug Mart (Optimum Rewards). You can read about Costco Rewards vs. Optimum rewards by clicking here. In addition to this, I use my BMO World Elite MasterCard to earn points. Everything spent on groceries is tracked, and I pay off my MasterCard every two weeks to make sure that I never pay interest. Every year I redeem approximately $1000.00 in Optimum points. Many rewards programs also send specific coupons to you that are tailored to your shopping habits. This is the first year I started using PC Plus so I cannot say yet how satisfied I am with that rewards program, but I will update on that later. Most major food retailers in Canada offer some type of customer loyalty program - you should join one.
3. Shop at a Discount Grocer
Discount grocers carry many of the same products as non-discount grocers, but typically at a lower price. Think No Frills versus Loblaw, or Food Basics versus Metro, FreshCo. versus Sobeys. Buying the same things, but at a different retailer can save you money every time you go to the store. Every time. Without changing what you are actually buying. If you are a produce or meat snob (I can confess to sometimes being like this), you can always purchase these particular items at a different location. However, after trying out various locations I found a discount grocer with a fantastic produce section where I am more than happy with the quality and selection of produce and they price match produce sales at other stores.
How much money will all this save you? It is hard for me to give an accurate estimate for #3, but for #1 and #2 combined I know that I am saving roughly $1500.00 - $2000.00 annually. That is not included the reward points I get on my MasterCard which we use for travel.
So what are you waiting for? These three simple things, with no changes to what you buy, can start you on the path to saving thousands of dollars every year.