For Dan Flatt, the answer to higher food bills was to look to his neighbours.
In 2021, when food prices really began to soar, he utilized his North York condo’s Facebook group to start out bulk buying with other residents within the constructing.
“It first began with toilet paper from Costco and seeing who desired to pitch in, and it just grew from there to other items,” he says.
“You save by doing it and get to know your neighbours,” Flatt says. “It was helpful in lockdown and now it’s helpful with higher grocery prices.”
For Jenn Wilson, the answer was within the frozen food section. She avoids the fresh produce aisles at her local No Frills.
The soaring costs of fresh fruit and veggies aren’t price paying, in her view. “The worth has gone up but the standard has gone down,” she adds.
A whole lot of Canadians have taken to social media to complain concerning the sticker shock, and a few items have been hit worse than others. Outcries over the price of eggs, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, cereal and oil are only a number of the items that plague shoppers on their weekly haul.
In December 2022, the value for eggs and cereal shot up 16.5 per cent in comparison with December 2021. For chicken it’s 11 per cent, cooking oil is 21 per cent, tomatoes are almost 22 per cent, and lettuce is a whopping 32.8 per cent, in response to Statistics Canada.
While inflation fell to six.3 per cent in December, it stays persistently high within the grocery aisles. The annual rate of grocery inflation fell to 11 per cent, down barely from November’s 11.4 per cent. Food prices have outpaced the headline inflation number for 13 months straight.
Canada’s big three supermarket chains are taking advantage of the record high grocery prices, a Star evaluation found. It doesn’t make the large chains inclined to lower prices any time soon, experts say.
So what can shoppers do, beyond coupons and price-checking, to avoid wasting some bucks once they money out?
While they require more time and planning, financial planners offer five ways to administer the upper cost — and still eat the foods you like.
Buy in bulk with others
Buying products in bulk on sale is a sure-way method to avoid wasting, says Janet Gray, certified financial planner with Money Coaches Canada.
“Let’s say you wish five cans of tuna, but it’s essential to buy 10 cans to get it on sale. Buy the ten cans and split the price with a member of the family or neighbour,” she says. “You’re doing two things without delay: buying in bulk on sale and splitting the price with others.”
It’s exactly what Flatt did.
He got 80 per cent of the condo dwellers in his constructing to pitch in on collectively buying in bulk. It began with Costco then grew to directly sourcing from suppliers and farms, which might offer discounts if Flatt and his neighbours bought large quantities of food and other items.
“There have been significant savings in plenty of essential categories, especially compared against other delivery options like Instacart,” he says.
It was so popular that Flatt decided to show the concept into an app, where other communities of neighbours could organize themselves for group buying. The pilot for the app, Naborino, will begin in North York next month.
Get on the apps
There are numerous useful apps that buyers can use to avoid wasting, said Jessica Moorhouse, financial educator and host of the More Money Podcast.
The primary suggestion is Flipp, which is the very best app for price comparisons and deals, she says. The app acts as a digital version of paper ads and flyers for sales and discounts, helping people find the very best deals at local stores.
“It’s very easy to make use of and probably the most comprehensive for deals,” Moorhouse adds.
One other app is Flashfood, which notifies you when food is about to run out on the food market and is being sold at a reduction. The produce remains to be fresh and it avoids food waste. You possibly can browse deals of as much as 50 per cent off and select the items to select up on the app.
Mix it up with a neighborhood grocer
It’s convenient to only go to your closest store and get all of the shopping done in a single go, but sometimes it helps to combine up where you shop, says Gray.
The Star previously reported that food terminals sell rejected food loads from chain supermarkets at a less expensive price, which is why you see that reduced value on the local, independent grocer. The $8 romaine lettuce at Loblaws is closer to $3 on the independent store.
“Buying local is vital and likewise buy what’s in season,” Gray says. “It may well find yourself saving you quite substantially nowadays, especially with fresh produce.”
Meatless Mondays? Make it every other day
Many households commit to Meatless Monday for environmental or health reasons, says Pamela George, a financial literacy counsellor. But now, her clients are committing to meatless dinners multiples times per week to reduce on costs.
On Twitter, Brad Dart shared that two kilos of beef tenderloin on the food market was selling for $104. “And I assumed $40 for chicken was bad,” he said.
Meat is so expensive now that going to a neighborhood butcher and ordering food boxes from local farms could actually be cheaper, George says.
“Also not getting those premium cuts might help,” she adds. “Chicken breast is the prime meat to purchase, so possibly get brown meat as an alternative. Or get that vast value pack at Costco. These are small ways to reduce on costs.”
Meal prep around those flyers
Preparing meals prematurely is probably the greatest ways to avoid wasting because only obligatory items are bought, financial experts say.
But planning a meal around food flyer items is even higher, says Gray. “Search for the items on sale and construct a recipe around that. Should you buy chicken and mushroom soup on sale look up what you may make with it and also you’ll find so many recipes,” she says.
Being creative about making recipes with sale items ensures that you simply’ll save and simplifies what you make and buy, George adds. “Make more with less.”
For Wilson, she has already adopted a number of the expert advice by shopping at quite a lot of stores for various items and heading to Dollarama for cheaper, non-perishable items and no name brands.
“The food I purchase for my dog at No Frills was 79 cents in September 2021, and now it’s $1.79. At Dollarama it’s 30 cents cheaper, so why would I keep going to No Frills if I should purchase the identical product for less elsewhere?”