Are groceries eating up too much of your monthly budget?
Canadians spend an average of around $200 a month per person on food bought in stores, according to Statistics Canada. For a family of four, that’s a minimum of $800 a month on food. That number was definitely higher in our household prior to finding FreshCo!
With daily household expenses increasing by the year, how can we stay within our budget for groceries? Spending less on groceries doesn’t mean giving up on healthy food choices. If you shop at FreshCo, you can easily lower your bill.
Here are a few ways to lower your grocery bill:
Skip the Prepared Meals
Ditch the processed food, snacks and prepared meals. If you’re buying pop, candy bars, chips, and TV dinners, your bill will likely be much higher.
Cut back on prepared meals, even if that means you’re spending more time cooking your own food. But the effort can be well worth it for both your wallet and your waistline.
Here are a few quick meal ideas:
- Grilled fish with salad
- Chicken breast with vegetable rice
- Sesame peanut noodles
- Mushroom risotto
- Pasta with sausage
- Miso vegetable soup
- Quinoa salad
- White bean soup
- Vegetable or shrimp stir-fry
- Baked fish with lemon and dill, and kale salad
- Black beans and rice
- Lentil soup with pita and hummus
- Pork souvlaki and tzatziki
- Grilled cheese and butternut squash soup
- Homemade stovetop mac n’ cheese
- Chicken fried rice
Cut down on meat
Another larger grocery expense is meat. Canadians spend nearly 20 per cent of food budget on things like red meat and chicken (and only 3.5 per cent on fish and seafood), according to StatsCan. Choosing more legumes and grains is another way to get enough protein in your diet, without sacrificing your bank account. Beans, lentils, chick peas and brown rice are great sources of protein and vitamins, and FreshCo offers a great assortment. The prices at FreshCo are also considerably lower than other grocery stores.
Shop in-season produce
Fruit and vegetables take up almost 24 per cent of the average Canadian’s grocery list. There’s no need to cut down on healthy fruits and veggies, but the trick is to buy more that are in-season. Costs go down when apples and strawberries in your grocery cart are grown locally, rather than from Mexico or the United States. You can always load up on local berries and freeze some to use later.
When our fruits and vegetables are in-season, we do a lot of preserves; we make our own tomato sauce in August, as well as grill and freeze peppers. I also roast, puree and then freeze both squash and pumpkin. I also poach flat beans and romano beans, and freeze for the winter months.
During the winter months, you can load up on frozen fruits and vegetables, which are just as nutritious as fresh.
Make a meal plan
Another biggie when budgeting for groceries is having a plan for the week. Write a list of what meals you’ll be making for the week, then come up with a grocery list. Try to stick to the list! I find that even if you go off of the list at FreshCo, you’ll still find you’re getting a great deal compared to other grocery stores.
What I love about FreshCo, too, is the international foods section; they have an amazing international foods aisle. I can find specific Greek, Italian and Asian food items here for my favourite dishes, without having to go to a specialty store. FreshCo also has a good a gluten free and organic section too!
Check the flyers
I tend to look at FreshCo flyers before I head to the store, noting the specials of the week. Sometimes I base my meal plan around the specials! If chicken breast happens to be on sale this week, I’ll make a few chicken dishes and then freeze some for later as well.
I also note the specials for pantry items as well. Stocking up on staple items that always end up in your cart will give you considerable savings.