For families across the country, trimming their food costs is a top priority — especially since the average Canadian family of four is expected to spend $12,1571 in groceries this year.

It’s easy to get caught in the cycle of wandering the aisles several times per week, trying to figure out an answer to the classic, “what’s for dinner?” On the flipside, food waste is a big problem in Canada — to the tune of $1,766 per household annually2. Frequent, unplanned grocery trips can lead to a fridge full of overlooked and borderline-expired food...and then, of course, it’s back to the store. 

With a little extra planning, you can both keep your fridge tidy and find big savings in your weekly grocery bill. Here are 5 easy ways to get you started:
 

  1. Plan it out: Make a meal plan for the week3 and buy everything you need in one go.

  2. Buy in season: Not only will you get the best taste, you’ll get the best price. 

  3. Find the deals: Don’t forget to check store flyers (either the physical copy or online) and compare prices once you’ve made your plan. Clip or print any coupons if they’re for items on your list. 

    Keep in mind that most stores will have a shelf or two with reduced-to-clear items. Produce found in this section can be cut and frozen, or used right away in soups or stews. Get creative4!

  4. Stock up on basics: When household staples go on sale, buy extras (as long as they are freezable or non-perishable). Once you build up your pantry, meal planning will be that much simpler. 

  5. Fill your stomach first: Don’t shop when you’re hungry, or else a stomach rumble might lead you to load your cart with extra snacks or items you don’t need. 

  6. Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, your weekly grocery store trip should be when you’re most focused and energized — and when you actually have the time.

Keeping your grocery bill on budget and your fridge waste-free doesn’t have to be a huge endeavour. Plan ahead — a few small changes to your typical food shopping routine can go a long way.

A little can do a lot.

Sources: 

1 Canada’s Food Price Report: https://www.dal.ca/faculty/management/news-events/canada-s-food-price-report.html (Dec 2018) 

2Second Harvest Report: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/food-waste-report-second-harvest-1.4981728 (Jan 2019) 

3Custom Weekly Meal Plan: https://www.thekitchn.com/the-kitchns-meal-plan-template-252951 (Jan 2018) 

4How to Use Food Before it Goes Bad: https://www.chowhound.com/food-news/217209/how-to-use-food-before-it-goes-bad/ (Jan 2019)