Canadian inflation affecting grocery bills
While inflation is often the domain of the economist and trained analyst, you don’t need to belong to a think tank to understand how it works. Without getting into the economic mechanics of inflation, suffice to say that there are real-life implications for the average consumer.
Think about your last visit to the grocery store. Were you scratching your head, trying to figure out how the total on the cash register matched up to what you had in the cart? You could have sworn that, even a few weeks ago, you had more in that cart for the same price.
Nope. It’s not your imagination. It’s a fact. Prices for grocery staples, like meat and produce have skyrocketed (meat in particular, which went up a shocking 11 percent in April, year-over-year). So, unless your income also went up 11 percent last month, you’ve got to be creative to get more for less.
“One of the greatest costs in your household is groceries, especially if you have a family,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. “The good news is that there are many tools and strategies available to slash that spending while still providing good nutrition.”
Here are some tips on how to stretch those grocery dollars:
Don’t worry steak lovers. We aren’t suggesting that you need to cut your meat out of your diet (and budget) altogether.
Even by making a small change, like swapping out meat one or two days a week in favour of another source of protein will give your grocery dollars significantly more mileage.
The thought of Tofu have you running for the hills? Consider other options like eggs, legumes and nuts.
Buy in bulk
When you buy greater volume, you get a greater discount. With the rising price of meat, it makes even more sense to take advantage of those discounts. Get a friend and load up at your warehouse club or grocer and split the bill.
It’s not just for meat either. You can stand to save a lot of money buying many of your grocery items in bulk.
Go to the source
If you skip the middle man (i.e. your grocery store) you will be saving as well. There are costs involved in getting your meat to the grocery store for you to purchase, like fuel. This holds true for produce as well.
Seek out local farms or other direct buying opportunities.
Flyers are your friend
Need your grocery dollars to go a little further? Be flexible in your menu planning.
Make a habit of sitting down every week, armed with the flyers. Write a menu based on what’s on sale and for what fits in your budget.
While coupons are the smart shopper’s best friend, they are hard to come by for meat and produce, usually. That doesn’t mean that your shopping tool box is empty though.
Try to centralize your grocery shopping to one or two stores, so you can save on gas. Go to the checkout armed with flyers advertising sale prices and take advantage of price matching to slash that bill.
Are you wondering where all your grocery dollars have gone? Are you worried about how to manage rising food costs within your budget? Rather than taking on more debt to feed your family, call to talk to a trained credit counsellor or try our free debt analysis.