Is it cheaper to buy processed foods, than to stock your fridge with healthy, nourishing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and good fats? Many people think so. There are lots of reasons for you and your family to eat nutritious foods: you will enjoy better health, which will end up costing you less in the long run. Think of all that tissue you won’t need to buy when you skip out of cold & flu season, not to mention the financial drain of fighting heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer all found to have a connection to a diet rich in white sugar, white flour and preservatives found in processed foods. Still, we know it can be difficult for young families to afford pricier organic fruits and veggies, and whole foods. So we thought we would offer you our best tips for cutting your family’s grocery bill.
Shop the Sales
Of course things are better when they are on sale! Try to structure your week’s meal plan around your favourite store’s flyer of weekly deals. If chicken is on sale, make sure to include a chicken meal in your meal plan.
Many stores offer price matching. You can bring in a competitor’s flyer and they will match the price. This is a great way to save on organic produce, which when on sale can often be just as inexpensive as conventional produce.
Buy in Bulk
Sometimes doing away with the packaging and buying bulk (great for the environment – bonus!) means enjoying some deals. As does buying in larger quantities to enjoy savings per pound or unit. In Ontario, visit the Bulk Barn and across Canada many grocery stores and health food stores have bulk foods on offer. This is a great way to buy your nuts and seeds. Store them at home in an airtight container, in the freezer for maximum freshness.
Try Deals Online
Companies that don’t have to pay for the pricey overhead of a physical storefront and large staffs can often pass along the savings to the consumer. Don’t be afraid to shop online. Check out Canadian online retailers like Well.ca and healthyplanetcanada.com. Look for free shipping on minimum orders.
Invest in a CSA Program
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Here is how the program works: you invest in a local farm by providing the farmer with money at the start of the season. This is literally seed money! Each week, all season long, you take home a basket full of fresh fruits and veggies, or your share in the farm’s bounty! This is a really great program for young kids. Bring them to the farm for your weekly pick-ups and show them where their food comes from! You often get fruits and veggies that you wouldn’t normally buy, allowing you to expand your repertoire and learn new recipes. Plus, because you cut out the middle men of the traditional food system (grocery stores, distributors) you save money.
Sometimes saving money also means making do with less; while we don’t want you to make do with less food, we can suggest that you shop for gently used children’s clothing, rather than hitting far pricier chain stores, that you cut your monthly entertainment bill by finding free fun around your community – like a trip to the library (free books!), a hike in the woods or a bike ride around the block. As the warm weather hits, consider putting your gym membership on hold and staying in shape through walking, running, biking, or hiking. Saving in other areas of your budget will allow you to devote more cash to eating healthy.
How do you and your family save money on your grocery bills? Share your tips with our readers by commenting below!