5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries in 2017 - The Dime Turner

Official blog of Refresh Financial

5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries in 2017

Rising food prices actually slowed for the first time in a very long time in 2016, but forecasts for 2017 don’t look like we’ll be on the same path. Experts have voiced their opinions already: British Columbia, in particular, is headed for a huge hike in food prices over the next year. Food is projected to begin costing us upwards of 3 to 5 percent more than it does now.

The reasons for this are many. Firstly, BC has one of Canada’s best economies. This means the western province experiences a more rapid rate of inflation than some other areas of Canada. Secondly, the American economy is projected to continue rising, which will bring the Canadian dollar down. This always makes food more expensive for Canadians. Thirdly, the US's stance on immigration could have a direct effect on who the agricultural industry hires to raise and harvest many of our imports, sending the cost of labour in the industry soaring. The end user will pay the difference, and that end user is often the Canadian household.

In the year ahead, it might pay off to think about adopting some new food consumption habits so that the rise in food costs doesn’t have as much of an impact on you. There are ways to cut down on our food bill! In fact, there are ways to save yourself hundreds of dollars a year just by changing a few things with your shopping strategy.

How to save money on groceries every month:

1. Schedule your meals

Make a menu. When we are unprepared and hungry, we tend to opt for quick and easy. The problem is that quick and easy often means expensive. At least, more expensive than we have to accept. The best way to prevent spending on more expensive food sources is to plan out our less expensive food choices. Planning also helps us to ensure that everything we buy is consumed, rather than thrown out. Food is money, so when you’re throwing it away, you’re throwing money away, too.

2. Get on the rewards plan

Rewards points add up to huge savings if you stay on top of them. For instance, the PC points plan from Loblaws stores puts a whole lot more spending power in your hands. If you have a credit card, consider switching to a card that offers you more reward points for your grocery store. PC Financial has a MasterCard that rewards with PC plus points that can be redeemed in store for groceries. If you make a habit of paying your bills with your PC Mastercard, and then paying off those bill payments with cash in your bank account right away, you build points and avoid debt. It takes very little time to earn enough points to pay for an entire grocery shop for an average family. Get the supporting apps and watch your points grow - you can even save them for when you’re having a particularly tight month.

3. Forget brand names

Opt for cheaper in-store brands. Canola oil is canola oil, whether it’s a yellow No-Name label or not. When you choose the brand name, often you are paying for a logo, and a colourful label and that’s all. While quality differences can be detected in some products, ask yourself, what is most important? The highest quality orange juice or a secure financial future? Trust me, you will not miss the brand name juice when you see your financial situation improve.

4. Take advantage of sales

Centre your meal planning around what proteins are on sale. If you often have beef tacos in the menu rotation, but chicken breasts are on sale this week, switch it up! You might even like your new recipe more! You can also keep your eyes peeled for bonus points events so you can collect even more rewards points. The best way to stay on top of these things is to subscribe to your grocery store's email newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook. You’ll be the first to know about all the sales that way, and in a better position to take advantage of them.

5. Avoid impulse buys

Even if you’ve spotted the most amazing price on something you’ve ever seen, it’s no reason to buy it. You have to consider whether or not this is something that you need. Are you going to eat this? Does it fit into your menu? Will you end up throwing it away? Stay away from sweets and junk food - there’s not a person on earth who needs these items. If you stick with your list, you’ll always spend less.

Getting organized with your food spending is the key to making sure you’re not overspending and throwing away food. The ways to save money on your groceries are many. Plan your meals, save your points, go for cheaper in-store brands, remember the sales, and stay away from impulse buys. This is how you save money every month. If you adopt these five new habits, you’re going to be well on your way to saving a significant amount of money on your grocery bill.

What are some of your tips to save money on groceries? Share in the comments so other readers can get some ideas!

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