Canadian grocery prices are getting costlier, and Montrealers are certainly feeling it. In fact, it has become scarily expensive to be able to feed a family in Montreal nowadays, making it clear that saving where you can, when you can is a top priority for many.
A study done by the Montreal Diet Dispensary indicated how food prices have increased significantly for many essential products, with staples like pasta and white flour experiencing staggering jumps in cost. Over the past year, pasta prices surged by a remarkable 116%, while white flour saw an even more alarming increase of 225%.
Additionally, other vital necessities, such as baby formula and baby cereals, have also seen notable price hikes. Formula prices rose by 40%, and baby cereal costs increased by 36%. These steep price hikes are undoubtedly putting financial strain on families in Quebec, particularly those from low-income households.
Despite rising food prices, there are still many ways to save on groceries. We asked Montrealers for savvy ways they save on groceries and folks delivered loads of grocery shopping tips and hacks that can easily knock off some of those dollar signs on your next grocery trip.
Use The Flip App
Considering many of us have smartphones at our disposal, you can take advantage of loads of grocery-saving apps such as Flipp, which helps you stay updated on local weekly ads. This ultimately ensures you have timely access to relevant coupons and information about the latest discounts and deals in your area.
Flipp also does more than just provide weekly grocery deals. It extends its services to help you find savings and exclusive offers in categories including pharmacy, home and garden, electronics, pet supplies, and more.
Buy Private Labels
An effective strategy for reducing your grocery expenses is to opt for store-brand products instead of purchasing items from well-known brands. Numerous supermarkets offer their own private or generic labels, which are not only more budget-friendly but also deliver comparable quality to their brand-name counterparts.
When shopping for groceries on a tight budget, consider visiting these stores renowned for their cost-effective yet high-quality private-label items. Stores with many notable private labels include Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand, Walmart’s Great Value and Pharmaprix’s Life Brand.
Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk saves money on groceries by offering lower unit prices, reduced packaging costs, and fewer shopping trips. Not to mention it also minimizes food waste. Long-term savings and portion control can further reduce costs, and watch for sales, promotions, or online bulk retailers. However, it’s important to consider storage space, product shelf life, and consumption patterns to maximize the benefits. So, spots like Aubut, Costco and Bourassa should definitely be on your radar.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask About Price Matching
If you find an identical grocery item (same brand, size, and quantity) at a lower price in another store’s ad or flyer, some grocery stores may match that price when you make your purchase. This allows you to get the same product at a lower price without having to visit multiple stores. That’s what working smarter, not harder is all about folks.
Take Advantage of PC Optimum
President’s Choice offers its customers loads of ways for them to save money and even earn money (in the form of points, of course). You can sign up for a PC Express pass for free grocery deliveries. While there is a yearly membership, there are times when you can sign up at a discounted rate.
You can also get a PC Optimum points card, which you can use at Pharmaprix and Esso gas stations that allow you to accumulate points. Look out for PC Optimum special points days too where if you spend a certain amount, you get a certain amount back in points, which can then be used to reduce your bill during your next trip. You can also download and check out the PC Optimum app so you can stay up to date on any new deals or ways for you to score extra points.
Plan & Organize Your Meals
Meal planning or simply sticking with a certain dish for every night of the week and a strict shopping list not only helps you save on groceries, but it can also help prevent impulse purchases. Not to mention it can also minimize food waste and allow to you take advantage of sales and discounts, especially when purchasing ingredients in bulk.
Use Flyers & Coupons
Flyers can often be annoying when they start collecting in your mailbox, but they highlight sales and special offers, which essentially lets you plan your purchases around discounted items and save money. Additionally, coupons, whether digital or paper, also offer additional savings on specific products, which can lead to substantial cost reductions on your grocery bill, and who doesn’t want/love that?
Grocery Shop Every Few Days
Shopping for groceries every few days is like having a more flexible and budget-friendly approach. You can pick up fresh items in smaller quantities, which means less food goes to waste. Plus, you get to catch more frequent sales and discounts, so you can snag your favourite items when they’re on special. It also allows you to adjust your meal plans based on what’s available, making your shopping trips more efficient and cost-effective.
Stick To Cheaper Grocery Stores
When you make a habit of shopping at cheaper grocery stores, you’re basically helping your wallet breathe a little easier. Stores such as Segal’s, Maxi, Super C or Walmart usually have lower prices and better deals on your everyday stuff. So, by sticking to these budget-friendly options, you can steer clear of the more fancy stores with premium prices.
Keep Your Eye On The Cash Register
Now, while this tip might not apply to every single grocery trip, it’s still important to pay attention while the cashier is ringing up your items. If you spot something for sale, but it scans at a normal price or if there is a mistake, you could be entitled to a free item or a discount.
A law called the Consumer Protection Act says that Quebec merchants must follow several rules when they post the price of products they offer consumers. While there are many technicalities involved and fine print mumbo jumbo, you could walk away with savings and free food. In fact, for products priced at $10 or less, the customer receives the item for free if a pricing error is detected. Whereas, if a pricing error affects a product with a price exceeding $10, the merchant is obligated to honour the advertised price and provide the consumer with a $10 discount.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.