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How to save on groceries

Credit: GPOINTSTUDIO/THINKSTOCK

Living independently forces young adults to cut back on a lot of things - and groceries aren't an exception. How can students eat well and live on a tight budget?


Jessica Klaver | Interrobang | Lifestyles | November 10th, 2014



Moving out of your parents' house and out on your own comes with a lot of adjustments. One of them being that the house is no longer magically filled with food. You probably woke up one morning, had nothing in the house to eat and realized, “Oh, I have to buy groceries.”

Buying groceries is not as simple as it may seem. Food is expensive.

Here are some tips on how to save money at the grocery store.

Plan ahead

Determine how many meals you will need to make throughout the week. Then plan out what meals you would like to make. I form my menu plan based on what I already have in the house and what is on sale that week. Put together a final shopping list so that you don't pick up anything that you don't need - back away from the cheesecake.

Know your limit

Be sure to include a reasonable amount for groceries in your monthly budget. I aim for $160 a month, which breaks down into $40 per week. That is generally enough for my needs although some months you will require some extras in case you run out of cooking staples so be sure you plan accordingly. If you find yourself struggling with the temptation to go over your allotted budget, shop only with cash. If you leave your debit and credit cards at home then you won't be able to overspend.

Where to shop

We have a lot of grocery stores to choose from in London and your choice can make a big difference in how much you spend. I recommend choosing one that offers a loyalty program such as PC Plus that is offered at Superstore, No Frills and Valu-Mart. With this program you earn points every time you shop at one of those stores and your points are then converted into dollars you can spend. Also, what is great about these programs is that stores tailor their offers to what you normally buy. The 10 per cent student discount on Tuesdays is why Superstore is my choice of grocer.

Get the most for your money

Saving money on groceries is simple; it just takes time and minimal effort. Start with going through your local flyers. I use Reebee, which is an app that holds all of the grocery flyers for the week. Make sure to go through all of the flyers because you can use this app to price match at the grocery store. When I find an item that is cheaper elsewhere, I write down the item and price and also the store that has the sale and the page number of the flyer that the price is shown on. This makes it easier once you get to the cashier. You can save a lot of money this way.

I recommend only buying in-season veggies because they are priced much lower than the others. Try to purchase fruits and meats only when they are on sale. Instead of buying bottled water you can use a Brita or other water filtration system and fill up at school using the water fountains on campus.

Upload your grocery receipt to an app like Grocery 51, Snap, or Save. ca and receive cash back on your purchases. Once you have reached a specified dollar amount the app sends you a cheque or deposits it into your PayPal account. It's another easy way to save money on life's necessities.

Need Help?

If you are struggling and cannot afford to buy groceries please visit the Sharing Shop located in B1050. If they are closed you can contact the Student Union at 519.452.4109 for more information.

Use these tips to save as much money as you can while buying groceries. The holiday season is coming up and you'll be pleased to have more cash to spend on your friends and family — or yourself.
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