The grocery store dilemma: having to do more with less

If you’ve experienced some shock at the grocery checkout recently, it’s not your imagination, and you’re not alone facing the current grocery store dilemma. The cost of food is rising.

grocery store dilemma

As food prices continue to rise, many Canadians are realizing their pay cheques are not able to keep up the pace. As a new poll from Angus Reid demonstrates, most Canadians are finding it harder and harder to feed their families. And this economic shift did not just impact those with lower incomes. The middle class are feeling the squeeze created by a mismatch of cost of living and incomes.

Some highlights from the Angus Reid poll include:

  • 57 per cent of Canadians say it’s been harder to put food on the table over the last year
  • 71 per cent say that they’ve had to switch to cheaper brands
  • 40 per cent of respondents have been choosing less healthy options
  • 53 per cent of respondents feel that rising food prices is one the most important issues facing Canadian families today, but 63 per cent of respondents feel the government isn’t doing enough to address this growing problem.

“Canadians increasingly have to do more with less when it comes to feeding their families. The challenges many Canadian families face are real. It comes down to being creative with your household budget to keep from going into debt just to make ends meet,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director at the Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“The good news, there are many common-sense strategies to use when shopping for food that will literally help you stretch your grocery dollars. It takes a little more planning and a little more work, but it’s well worth it when you see the savings.”

Menu planning

One of the best money saving tools for grocery shopping is to plan your menus each week. Spend some time on a set day each week in which you scour flyers and look for deals. Once you’ve identified what the best deals are, work backwards to come up with frugal meal ideas.


As the Angus Reid poll points out, you can save money by switching brands. You can save even more money if you switch to no-name brands wherever possible. In many cases, you are getting the same (or very similar) product for less money.

Go Meatless

There is no denying the appeal of a big juicy steak, but that’s a bit of a luxury when you’re on a tight budget. You can seriously shave down your grocery spending by switching out meat from your menus even just once or twice a week. Legumes, like lentils, black beans or chickpeas are a great source of protein for a fraction of the cost. Another low-cost, high-protein option is quinoa. It’s all about experimenting.

Is the rising cost of food making it hard for you to make ends meet? Do you find that you are increasingly relying on debt just to feed your family?  Stop this cycle before it gets beyond your control. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at 1-888-287-8506 or check out our free online debt analysis tool to get started.

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