In a scenario where everything increases in price exponentially each day, knowing how to save money on food becomes necessary for everyone. Food prices are hitting records globally, which would be no different in Canada. These 53 smart ways to slash your food budget are imperative when shopping or preparing meals at home.
Why these 53 ways to slash your food budget are important
The amount spent on food represents a good part of the general expenses. Every dollar saved on food can make much difference in your food budget, due to the frequent increase in food prices. So, it is necessary to find ways to save some money on your food. However, many people face the challenge of reducing their basic food expenses. Do not worry; here are some tips on how to slash your food budget.
Purchase ingredients rather than ready-to-eat meals
It is easy to buy a ready-to-eat dish that only needs to be heated in the microwave. That is not the best way to save money on your food budget. You can buy each of the ingredients and prepare the food at home. The amount you spend on a ready-to-eat meal may sometimes be equivalent to the cost of food prepared at home for several days. Program and everything will be fine.
2. Choose seasonal fruits to save money on food
Did you know that seasonal fruits are cheaper? Seasonal fruits are fruits harvested naturally during a particular period, as the name implies. Seasonal fruits always have a lot of supply during the harvesting season, and this consequently leads to a reduction in their prices. So, keep an eye on the season of your favorite fruits and buy them at the best price!
Freeze food whenever possible
Freezing is a great tip for those who bought more food than they needed to cook. Beans, mint, and various types of leafy greens, for example, can keep well in the freezer, as long as they are stored correctly. You can also freeze an already prepared leftover dish.
Freezing makes food last longer. So, you can use the remaining money in your food budget to buy other things that also interest you, but were left off the shopping list because of the price.
You can also use ingredients that are ready to use; they just need to be defrosted before preparing dishes. You will always have a meal that can be prepared more quickly since you only need to heat it up.
Several articles on the internet teach how to use launch boxes for freezing prepared food. So, you can take just one day (like Sunday) to prepare your meals for the entire week and freeze them. This helps to make the routine less taxing and allows you to make better use of your time.
Create a weekly menu to save money on food
How about organizing your meals and shopping in a better way? One of the things that help with this mission is planning a weekly menu. You can do that by assessing what you already have in your fridge, cupboards, and pantry. This will help you better identify what’s missing and avoid buying something you already have at home.
For those who work during the week, you can dedicate time on the weekend exclusively to cooking. Plan a weekly menu for yourself and cook food for the week. Some items need to be served fresh, but try to sanitize them beforehand. For example, washing lettuce, drying it with a clean cloth, and storing it in a container with a paper towel can keep it in the fridge for several days.
Recycle the pomace and seeds
Always try to avoid food waste by making the most of your stock. Pomace and seeds can also be used to prepare your meals. Another tip is to know how to make the most of vegetables: do not discard stalks, leaves, or even peels. Everything can be used in other dishes, such as creams, sweets, and cakes. In addition to adding flavor, these “leftovers” also contain most of the nutrients.
You can implement this by looking for recipes that use the ingredients in their preparation and avoiding throwing everything away without any need. This may seem simple, but you can write it down because it will yield good savings at the end of the month.
Use the pan lid when cooking
You might wonder how using the pan lid can help you save on food. The pan lid can help to retain heat while cooking and allow the food to be ready faster. With this, you save gas or, in the case of electrical appliances, energy. The bill at the end of the month will be lower than usual because of this practice.
Keep an eye out for discount days to save money on food
Most markets have specific days for product offers and discounts. Some of them are fixed, such as “the day of the fair,” and others are punctual, but it is important to keep an eye out to take advantage of them whenever they come. The discounts are sometimes offered only when you buy a lot of products at once, so make sure they don’t spoil before consumption.
Do the math to understand if the offers of the day are really interesting or if the low prices are for an inferior good. Some people might believe they are paying cheap money for an item when the discount price refers to an alternative brand with inferior quality products.
Organize your pantry and shelf supplies by the expiration date
Try to organize food by expiration date instead of just shoving older products to the back of the fridge or pantry. By putting them at the top, you make sure that you first consume products with the closest expiration date and shorter shelf life before they go bad. This will help you avoid wasting food, which would end up becoming an expense.
Don’t buy anything that isn’t absolutely necessary
Have you ever had to go to the grocery store to stock up on a single item that was missing from the pantry and ended up coming home with a full bag? Well, the market is really a temptation. However, you can resist the temptation! Try to shop only when necessary, avoiding unnecessary expenses.
If you plan to feed your family every week, start a new week by scheduling meals that use ingredients you already have. You’ll be amazed at how many interesting dishes you can create with the stuff you already have in your fridge!
In addition, avoid going to the grocery store hungry; it makes you spend more than necessary and still give preference to higher-calorie foods. You can choose to go after lunch or have a little snack before you leave.
Reuse and recycle products and meals.
You can reuse everything you bought at the market that you forgot on your shelf. The same goes for leftovers from meals. You can create a variety of dishes from it with a little creativity.
Give priority to wholesale
Research is essential to reduce costs during purchase. First of all, you need to constantly practice comparing the prices of items in two or three supermarkets in your area. Also, opt for establishments that sell wholesale when shopping for the month. Consumers who purchase products, even in smaller quantities, in bakeries end up paying 30% more for the same foods.
However, don’t get carried away and buy more than necessary. A lot of items may end up losing their validity on the pantry shelves of those who live alone and buy things wholesale. Supermarkets can be a good alternative to buying products that do not need to be replenished all the time.
Plan children’s meals to save on food
Do your children always eat at the school cafeteria? If so, know that you are missing out on a great chance to slash your food budget and even implement a healthier diet for children.
Good meals for the little ones are bread and cheese sandwiches, various fruits cut into cubes, natural juice, yogurts, and crackers with water, salt, and jam. Take the test and start calculating your savings without buying ready-to-eat snacks every day!
Pay attention to the way of cooking
Expenses can be beyond food; they can be from your way of cooking! Don’t forget that it can also influence your expenses. Therefore, avoid waste when it comes to the use of gas, water, and electricity.
Simple attitudes, such as turning on the oven only when necessary, not leaving the tap water running the entire time you are washing food, and avoiding opening the fridge and freezer too many times in a row, can make a big difference in your total expenses. Remember, there are many ways to save on food!
Do not order food for delivery
Ordering food for delivery is relatively expensive. A hamburger here, a pizza there, and a Sunday lunch here can cover a lot of your monthly expenses because of laziness. You don’t have to completely stop deliveries, especially if it’s a very specific dish or one you don’t know how to make at home.
If you aim to slash your food budget and save money, start prioritizing eating food made by you and your family. Limit eating out, especially fast food, as you will end up spending unnecessarily on items that are high in fat, salt, and calories. All that is a danger to your pocket and your health.
Take a shopping list to the market
Create a list that includes only what is necessary and focus on buying only what is written there, when you are in the market. Deviate from your plan only when you realize you forgot to write down something you really needed. You will save time by doing so because you won’t have to go around the supermarket.
If possible, avoid taking children shopping. They get excited and ask for various items, especially cookies, yogurt, and other snacks they love. All this helps to save on food, preventing you from having some unexpected expenses much greater than planned. On top of that, it helps you cultivate healthier habits when it comes to eating at home.
Set a spending limit
Setting a spending limit is important as having a list of items on hand before going to the supermarket. Thus, it is possible to control the budget and avoid big surprises at the cashier’s desk.
One way to track values is to use the calculator while placing items in the cart. This is a way to follow the evolution of spending from one month to the next and identify which items are weighing on your pocket.
Avoid food waste
One of the ways to save money on food is to avoid waste; prioritizing conscious consumption of food before spoilage. You lose money when you throw an item in the trash because it’s expired on your shelf or you forgot it in the fridge. That is because there was an expense to buy the items in the first place.
You can end up reducing the value of purchases by reducing waste. You can consequently use the savings to do other things, such as increase your savings or even buy other necessary items.
Always have fruit at home
Fruits are cheap in many places. You can buy a variety of fruits when you go to a grocery store, without having to spend a lot of money. Fruits are also a great snack option throughout the day. Fruits are also healthy foods that help to maintain a balanced diet.
The benefit of this involves both the improvement in well-being and health and the possibility of saving even more on the expenses that are meant for regular foods. Nothing is better than reducing costs and still eating well, right?
Set up a small vegetable garden to save on food
Have you ever thought about growing your own spices at home? You can plant chives, basil, and oregano without needing a lot of space. They can be placed in the kitchen window or in some other environment that has favorable conditions to create a small vegetable garden.
Setting up a garden is good for apartment dwellers. It is also a way to save money by planting an even wider variety of items, from fruits to vegetables. You would not only have the pleasure of growing part of your food, but you also gain a very pleasant hobby, gardening, by doing so.20.
Look in all directions to find the generic or less expensive brands on supermarket shelves. Items from less popular brands are often similar to higher-priced brand names but packaged under different labels.
Stores deliberately place the highest-priced branded items at eye level, but if you compare the cost per unit, you will be able to figure out the most economical purchase.
Follow the promotions
Take advantage of special offers on broths, soups, pasta, rice, canned vegetables, and even bread. Many of these items have a long shelf life or can be frozen for short periods.
Search, compare, and don’t be afraid to experiment
Don’t be afraid to browse the internet for recipes that use specific ingredients that you can find in promotions, even if they aren’t all that appealing at first glance or they are new ingredients on your menu. In fact, it is always good to try new ingredients only and only when they are on sale.
Attend the fair to save on food
Start going to the nearest fair and try to stick with some key stalls. The higher the frequency of going to the same tents, the more advantages you can have. For example, you will have a better idea of the price of fruits and vegetables, which will give you a good parameter for bargains.
You can also check the opportunity to deliver products to your home if it is very close to the fair, which saves time! The classic tip of going at a cheap time, that is, close to the closing of the fair, is always valid, to get good offers.24.
Save water when cleaning food
There is really no way to skip the food hygiene step. Try to save water in the process by using basins. When using running water, you don’t need to open the entire faucet, a trickle of water is enough to wash the food.
Avoid purchasing perishables at very long intervals. It is important to separate which types of products should be replenished at longer and shorter intervals, to save money at the supermarket.
Non-perishable foods, such as beans, rice, coffee, and oil, do not need to be purchased very often, as they have a longer shelf life. These can hence be put into the monthly shopping list. Fruits and vegetables, meat, and dairy products have a shorter shelf life and can be purchased weekly.
In general, avoid very large purchases: when the cart is too full, the person runs the risk of including products that they will not need. In addition, the account can get out of your control and, in the end, you spend more than you should.
Don’t go to the supermarket hungry to save on food
We’ve already talked about this a bit and we’ll say it again: going to the supermarket on an empty stomach is not a good idea when the goal is to spend less and save on food. When hungry, the person tends to buy more food and opts for nutrient-poor foods.
However, people become more selective, tend to buy only what they need, and prioritize healthier foods when satisfied. Therefore, the rule is clear: there is no way to save money at the supermarket when you are hungry.
Don’t be fooled by the packaging
It sounds hard to believe, but packaging has become one of the determining factors in whether or not people take the product home. Industries have been investing in more and more beautiful boxes and packages for that reason. The packaging trick to convince the consumer is even more common among products that do not fall into the category of first necessity.
This strategy is not just bad for the pocket only. The beauty of the presentation can also “makeup” products that are not good for health. Therefore, evaluate the packaging with a critical eye and observe some quality parameters instead of being enchanted by the photo and the colors. For example, you can check the nutritional table and the ingredients that the product contains.
In the list of ingredients, the ones that come first are the ones that are in the greatest amount in the food. It is common to find bread sold as whole-wheat, that has more white flour than whole-wheat in the composition. Therefore, keep an eye on what really matters at the time of purchase so as not to take products on impulse and not be attracted by a beautiful box or “gifts”.
Use leftovers to save on food
The fundamental attitude to saving with food is to avoid waste. After all, this way you don’t have to go to the market several times and the food lasts longer. Do you know that portion of food leftover from the week in the fridge? How about heating it up for a meal? It can be very tasty, believe me! The main thing is not to let anything go to waste.
Pay attention to the availability of products
Many people do not know this, but supermarkets work with the organization of products strategically. Items that companies want to sell more are usually arranged on the shelves closest to the shopper’s eye, and this is a ruse to induce consumption.30.
Place sweets on the lower shelves
Another common trick is to place sweets, chocolates, and sugary cereals, which children love (and adults too), on the lower shelves, at eye level. The tips sound simple, but it’s effective: instead of selecting the products that have the most shelf space or are the most affordable, pay attention to all the shelves and labels to make smarter choices.31.
Prepare your food at home
Just hearing this tip scares many people. After all, not everyone enjoys or has time to cook. However, know that this simple practice can make your wallet thank you a lot.
The measure may seem insignificant, but if you spend, for example, CAD 20 a day on a meal and choose to take your own food just two days a week, you save almost CAD 2 thousand in a year. The same goes for snacks, which can add up to more than hundreds of expenses at the end of the month.
So, preparing your own meal and bringing snacks from home (fruits, cereal bars, and cookies, for example) can make a big difference in your budget.
Those who usually cook at home can easily fall into the sameness of preparing meals. This is discouraging and ends up making restaurant and supermarket ads and offers even more tempting.
However, with the ease of the internet, it is quite simple to find healthy, versatile, and easy-to-prepare menus that can completely change your relationship with the kitchen.
To make this task even easier, try to plan your meals for the week in advance and prepare the dishes in one go, freezing portions for every day of the week. So your only job is to take a jar out of the freezer the day before and heat it up when you’re at work.
Pay attention to expiration dates
Still, about preparing your meals, it is very important to be aware of the expiration date of food. That’s because many people end up generating high rates of waste by not taking care of fundamental steps like this.
Whether forgetting an open item at the bottom of the fridge or buying many units of the same product and not being able to consume them in time, this carelessness is responsible for the disposal of about 41 thousand tons of food every year in the country. In addition to being a waste of natural resources and money, the problem further exacerbates the lack of adequate food for thousands of people around the world.
Reuse leftovers to prepare other foods
You know that stroganoff that was leftover from yesterday’s dinner and you kept it in the fridge? How about using this delicacy to prepare a delicious pizza? Or who knows how to turn Sunday beans into a tutu of beans, just beating the contents in the blender and sautéing the mixture in the frying pan?
There are many recipes in which you can use leftovers and turn them into new and tasty dishes. Leftover vegetables can be reserved to make your own vegetable stock. In this way, you not only save money but also create nutritious bases for stews, stews, soups, and many other recipes.
Set a spending limit on the meal voucher
It is quite common for meal vouchers to cover a lower amount than the average lunch price. The average cost of a complete meal (main course, drink, dessert, and coffee) in Canada is around CAD 30 per day.
Only the main course costs CAD 18 on average the total sum. Therefore, use the meal voucher and not have to take more money out of your pocket, you can choose to give up other items, such as drinks and dessert, during a few days of the week.
Make a list of reasonably priced restaurants close to work
If the highest food expenses are related to meals eaten away from home, measures must be taken to minimize them. A good practice is to do a search for restaurants within a few miles of work. Then list them according to prices and discount possibilities for large groups or regular customers. That way, you are sure of the average value of the establishment and you don’t run the risk of prices exceeding your daily limit for food expenses.
Know how to buy
Choose to shop according to a list, so you don’t buy what you don’t need and don’t end up buying on impulse when you go to the supermarket. Also, search for the days of the week when establishments have promotions, such as a day when meat is cheaper, for example.
Taking advantage of the wide variety of fairs is another great help, as you can find fresher and more affordable products. If you can plan your menu for the following days, it is even easier to buy wisely and economically.
Limit the amount of leisurely eating out
Many people like to take advantage of the weekend to go out, relax and have meals with friends and family. If you fall into this group, you probably know the costs of these outings. You need to make small cuts with leisure options like this to really save money.
However, this does not mean that you should exclude pleasures from your life. How about inviting your friends over for a meal at your house instead of opting to dine in expensive restaurants or fast-food chains. In addition to having some good times together, you can also put our previous tips on how to prepare delicious lunches and dinners into practice.
Shop on strategic days
Avoid purchases on the 5th business day. Most people receive their salary on the fifth working day of the month — and the markets know that. That is, prices tend to increase in this period. On the other hand, the last ten days of the month usually have more interesting promotions. So, one of the first tips to save at the supermarket is to shop on strategic days, prioritizing the last week of the month.
Be your own butcher
You might actually be getting less for your money in some cases. For example, boneless chicken is more expensive per kilo than a whole chicken. This is because the service cost of the butcher who did the cutting has been included in the cost of the chicken.
You can get a better deal on your chicken by buying a whole bird and removing the bone yourself — rather than purchasing the boneless variety. You can do it yourself with a sharp knife, and that’s pretty simple. Just defrost the chicken and cut it into smaller pieces. That should save you money.
Make smart food choices after
knowing what you want to buy, you need to make better choices. Fruits and vegetables are cheaper if they are in season. So, if your goal is to buy “fruit”, choose the most affordable ones or simply do a search on which fruits are in season.
Exercise your creativity in the kitchen
Creativity can innovate your financial life and you will need to exercise yours in the kitchen to save money. Being a creative person in the kitchen means knowing how to reuse foods that are almost expired. It also means being able to create dishes with substitute foods, and developing different dishes with the “leftovers” from the previous day. You will be able to create amazing and delicious dishes and save on food with a little training, YouTube video marathons, and a dose of hunger.
Consume all parts of a foods
You might ask if consuming all food means eating the pulps, peel, and seeds. Yes! You can use banana Peel to make banana peppers, which is delicious. More so, seeds can be used to complement or even replace breakfast granola. These are just a few examples but you can search for different recipes and learn how you can enjoy every piece of food that you are throwing in the trash today.
Know how to save at the fair
Going to the fair is already a way to save money, but you can go further. Check all the stalls as the price difference can be different. Go at a cheap time or as late as you can. Buy seasonal foods. Negotiate with the vendor.
Store the manioc and carrots in pots with water. Do not leave ripe foods close to others, especially bananas. Store the ripper ones in the fridge as soon as they arrive from the fair. Wash the leaves, dry them, and store them with a paper towel in between.
Here’s another tip: buy only the essentials. You may find the fair very cheap and end up taking more than necessary if you are used to shopping in markets. Remember that waste is not saving.
Save on food apps
The best way to save on food is to cook at home, but there are days when the rush wins, right? So how can you save money on food apps? Check the offers on the app’s main page. Use coupons and filter by “Free delivery”. You can also take advantage of loyalty programs. More so, refer your friends to the application and earn rewards that can be redeemed for foods. Other ways to save money on food apps include choosing just one day to order food, and avoiding buying Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Do not buy spices in large quantities
Spices are essential parts of food that give it a good aroma and flavor. However, they are often used in minute quantities. There is a saying, “You can not take salt based on how wealth you are.” This holds for spices.
It is, therefore, logical to buy small quantities of spices because you won’t use them in large quantities. This will help you avoid throwing away unused spices after it’s been long on your shelf.
Register at a discount club
Some markets have discount clubs, you just need to register, which is usually very simple. This tip alone helps you save a good amount at the end of the month.
Follow the social networks of your favorite market
Following the social networks of your favorite markets can also show you good discount coupons. It’s always good to keep an eye out! You can also look for flyers from supermarkets in search of deals, some supermarkets send them by WhatsApp!
Preserve your herbs
As with most herbs, rosemary is best if used within a couple of weeks of harvesting. To extend that shelf life, gently rinse and dry the herbs, then wrap them in a damp paper towel. Place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can place the herbs in a glass of freshwater. Either way, they will keep for up to a week.
Our best advice is to grow your own herbs and let them flourish in their natural environment. It’s a highly rewarding activity and you will be able to use the herbs on the same day!
Cook food under pressure.
Pressure cookers have been around for decades. Pressure cookers are a must-have in every kitchen. First of all, pressure cookers are a great kitchen investment because they allow you to cook fast and preserve more of the nutritious food you put in them. It’s a great appliance for any cook and it’s also a time-saver, especially for students and professionals who are always in a hurry. So if you’re looking for a new appliance for your kitchen, this might be the best one for you.
Shop in a group
Shopping in a group is another way to slash your food budget and save some money. Some grocery stores offer discounts on certain groceries when you buy them in bulk. You can take advantage of the discount by buying the stuff in bulk for a group of people. Buying in a group does not necessarily mean that all the members of the group follow you to the supermarket. You’ll just buy the stuff and share it with them after returning from the market.
Make Use of Stale Bread
There’s still some good stuff in the bread even after the loaf has gone stale! Reviving stale bread isn’t difficult and it’ll save you money and help you cut down on waste. You can revive a stale bread by wetting its crust with water and oven drying it at 300 degrees Celcius for 6 – 12 minutes.
By putting the loaf in a warm oven, the inside of the loaf becomes moistened by the steam generated and keeps it soft. Also, the oven heat will firm the bread crust, which revives it and makes it taste fresh again! You can do this as many times as you want, so don’t throw away old bread – It’s just been waiting for its moment to shine!
Another way to use stale bread is using it to make bread crumbs. Have you ever bought bread crumbs from a supermarket? If yes, then you have been buying dried and grounded stale bread. You can prepare bread crumbs by oven-drying stale bread, and grinding it. That’s another way to put your stale bread to use and it will work!
Revive Wilted Greens
It’s sad when you try to get a salad ready and some of the greens have wilted. One of the biggest causes of wilting greens is simply the loss of moisture. Thankfully, there are simple steps that you can take to revive them!
First, remove any leaves that are already dead or dying. Then, place your greens in a bowl and fill it with lukewarm water. Cover it with saran wrap to keep it from getting any light. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then remove the greens and place them in a cold water bath. Rinse with cold water to lower the temperature and any excess dirt. Now you have greens that are ready to be used!
Do you love to cook? Is your freezer bursting at the seams with food? If you want to make more room in your freezer and save a few dollars, consider freezing food that you purchase in organic form. By freezing garlic, ginger, and lemons, you can cut back on your grocery bill and have these ingredients on hand whenever you need them!
Useful tip: freeze minced ginger in ice cube (or other small) trays. That way you can make the right amount of ginger paste that you need when you need it. Add the ginger paste to Thai curries or stir fries. Most often use fresh lemons and grate the zest instead of using frozen lemons.
In conclusion, knowing how to save on food in Canada is a way to have greater control over your budget and expenses. It is also worth finding ways to save on food expenses from your pet. Knowledge of how to save on cat food will definitely reduce your food expenses.
Taking simple actions like the ones brought in this post can make a huge difference in the bills at the end of the month. Expenses that seem insignificant, when added up, are great saboteurs of your finances. However, small savings can help you a lot.
If you thought you would never be able to save on food, review your concepts, put these 53 smart ways to slash your food budget into practice, and observe the results. It’s small measures like these that lighten the final budget! What did you think of this content? Don’t forget to comment and share with your friends.