SaltWire E-Edition

Buy more groceries with strategic planning

Using coupons, points cards and other measures to maximize your grocery budget

CHRIS IBBOTSON @Saltwirenetwork Written by Christine Ibbotson, national radio host, Youtuber and author of three finance books, plus the Canadian best-selling book “How to Retire Debt Free & Wealthy.” Visit www.askthemoneylady. ca

Dear Money Lady, I can’t believe the high price of groceries nowadays. Any advice?

— Grace.

Dear Grace, you are so right — the cost of groceries has gone up 12.4 per cent, according to Stats Canada, from January 2022 and, with the continued trend that we are to experience a mild recession this year, we can expect the costs to rise a little more.

Let’s go through five quick tips that will help lower your food expenses.

1.Go back to the old way of shopping — clip those coupons.

There are many coupons online that you can print off and use from retailers or product manufacturers.

I just went online to Kellogg’s Coupons Canada and found many printable coupons for all their products.

Why not try this with other items you always buy. It’s like getting free money with a few clicks on your laptop.

2.Use points cards to redeem cash towards your next grocery bill.

A lot of grocery stores these days have incentives to shop with them.

Some examples are using your cash-back credit cards, Scene cards, Air Miles cards or even proprietary shopping cards to earn points and redeem as cash towards groceries. Why not make the store help you pay?

3.Try not to shop with those giant silver wheelbarrow carts designed to get you to spend more. Instead, opt for the much smaller carts — not the two-tiered monsters that make you feel like a chariot driver.

Subconsciously, when you see very few items in those giant shopping carts, we tend to easily say “yes” to an extra few items not on our shopping list.

4.Stay out of the boutique sections of the grocery store. The outer aisles will always have the produce, dairy and meat sections you need with all the inner aisles favouring more expensive favorites that entice you to spend more.

There is a science to grocery store layouts.

Popular food brands pay more to be shelved at eye level to get you to easily spot them. Often, cheaper options are on the lower shelves out of your line of sight.

This is the case for everything, except food and snacks for kids, especially cereal. Often you will find the more expensive foods catered towards children on the lower shelves at a child’s eye level.

Some stores may even put colourful stickers on the floor or on the shelves to capture the attention of your little shopping helpers.

Aisle endcaps are another prime location to lure you in with more expensive name brands always on display to entice you to pick up just one more item before you leave.

5.Lastly, I want you to consider starting a DIY plan in your kitchen.

Make fresh bread: throw three to five ingredients into a bread machine and, voila, you have bread healthier and cheaper than buying it.

Plant a garden of indoor pots with herbs, lettuce, or small vegetables. Make cookies from scratch, instead of buying them, (your kids will love it). Buy larger servings — like a

whole chicken — or produce and meats in bulk to save more and then divide food up into single or family meal portions.

Remember, paying for convenience and ambiance is the easiest way to overspend.

If you spend a little more time and effort in planning your groceries, you most likely will be a lot healthier with less on your waistline and more in your wallet.

Good luck and best wishes, Christine Ibbotson





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