7 easy ways you can stretch your grocery budget

Canada Life - Apr 11, 2023
Grocery costs continue to rise, but these small changes can help you stretch your budget.
Father and son at the grocery store looking at the price of food.

Grocery costs continue to rise, but these small changes can help you stretch your budget.

1. Meal planning and menu making

Determine ahead of time what you'll eat for breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks during the week. Meal planning ensures you won’t spend money on food you don’t need. Check the ingredients you already have in your kitchen and plan your recipes accordingly. Then make a grocery list and stick to it. Buy foods that you can incorporate into several meals. For example, you can use a whole chicken for dinner one night and in wraps for lunch the next day.

2. Double check your food before shopping and get creative

Finish the groceries you have by figuring out how to make them into a meal. Double checking the food that’s already in your fridge and pantry can confirm you don’t buy double and is a great way to reduce food waste.

3. Opt for pantry items

Some of the cheapest foods are those stored in your cupboard. Beans, rice, pasta, oatmeal, and lentils are just some examples of cost-effective meal staples that can keep you full and satisfied. Buying food with longer shelf life can also reduce the number of trips you make to the supermarket. Such foods are versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of cuisines. From Indian lentil curry to Jamaican rice and peas you can keep your meals interesting with pantry staples. 

4. Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Hungry shoppers are likely to buy far more than they need. Grocery shopping on an empty stomach also increases your desire for high-calorie foods. Bring a grocery list and go after you've eaten.

5. Check the higher and lower shelves for better deals

Grocery stores keep expensive food options at eye level (or on middle shelves). Trick the system: look at the upper and lower shelves for cheaper items. This is true for everything from canned goods to liquor.

6. Make your own condiments

Homemade dips, dressings and sauces not only taste better, but they’re also healthier and more cost-effective. Rather than purchasing store bought items like hummus, guacamole, pesto, and tomato sauce, prep your own using free recipes available online. Making condiments from scratch is much cheaper. In fact, homemade guacamole is about half the price of store-bought. Avoid condiments expiring before you can use them, by stocking your pantry with items like canned tomatoes and canned chickpeas until you’re ready to make hummus or pasta sauce. Making your own condiments is a great way to get more bang for your buck.

7. Freeze food

Buying food on sale or in bulk with the intention of freezing it saves you money. Freezing food to prevent waste also saves you money. Meat and poultry are high ticket items, take advantage of meat that’s been marked down for sale freeze it for later use. Buy butter on sale and freeze it in its original packaging. To stretch your grocery budget, buy fruit in season and in bulk then freeze it. Ripe bananas can also be frozen and are great in breads and smoothies. Freezing baked goods, soups and casseroles not only reduces waste but is great for getting meals done ahead of time.

Stretching your grocery budget can be fun and easy once you get into the routine of it. Looking for other ways to budget so you can reach your financial goals? Contact me and we can discuss how I can help you. 


The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.