Budgeting, strategizing and couponing are great ways to save money.

(Save 25%) Buy Generic Brands instead of Name Brands

You can save 25% on your groceries if you buy generic brand groceries instead of name brands. Sometimes generic brands don’t taste as good as brand names, but you can work around this. For example, real Cheerios taste better than generic brands of Cheerios, but if you’re buying for a toddler, they probably won’t care. When it comes to staples like sugar, salt, flour, bleach and many other items, there is no discernible difference in quality—only in the price. You might not want to completely ignore brand name groceries because they do go on sale. However, suppose you can substitute generic or no-name brands for brand names; in that case, you can begin to experience some real savings.

Potential Annual Savings: $880*

(Save 23%) Make a Grocery List and Stick to it

According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, people who can avoid impulse spending can save up to 23% on their grocery bills. Making a grocery list and sticking to it is the best way to shop.

Potential Annual Savings: $2,360*

(Save 25%) Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

You can shrink your grocery budget by up to 25% and trim your waistline at the same time by adding more fruits and vegetables to your snacks and meals. Research from the American Dietetic Association shows that every member of your family can benefit from this and lose weight. Your budget can also breathe easier as you introduce more fresh produce into your family’s diet.

Potential Annual Savings: $880*

(Save 10%) Shop at Discount Grocery Stores

In our comparison shops, we found that you can save at least 10% on your groceries if you shop at a discount grocery store like the Real Canadian Superstore, compared to the next best alternatives. These savings are based on comparing name-brand items that every store carries.

Potential Annual Savings: $1,000*

(Save 32%) Shop at a Discount Produce Store

You can save up to thirty-two percent on your fruit and vegetables by shopping at a discount produce store or at a farmer’s market. Not all farmer markets will save you a lot of money, but some will. Stores like Safeway sell premium quality produce. Discount stores usually sell lower-quality produce at significantly lower prices. Suppose premium or organic produce is essential to you. In that case, you will have to pay more for it, but if your produce doesn’t always have to be perfect, then you might be able to save a lot by shopping at a discount produce store. Compare prices at produce stores, farmer’s markets and grocery stores in your area and see if you can find some significant savings.

Potential Annual Savings: $620*

Buy Fewer Pre-Packaged Foods

You can save a lot by purchasing less food that is pre-packaged.

(Save 10%) Request Coupons from Manufacturers

You can save around ten percent on your groceries by requesting coupons from manufacturers you usually buy products from. Email them and ask them to send you any coupons that they might have. Some people do this once every month or two, and they can get coupons for almost everything they buy.

Potential Annual Savings: $1,000*

(Save 10%) Price Match

You can save at least ten percent by shopping at a grocery store that price matches competitors’ flyers. Make sure you bring your flyers with you when you shop to cash in on this. This sort of trip doesn’t appeal to everyone, but if you want to save about ten percent on your groceries’ annual cost, this is a great tip to follow. For a family of four, this tip can save $1,000 per year. Wal-Mart stores that sell groceries are great places to do this. The Real Canadian SuperStore will also price match. However, the SuperStore does not advertise this. Some other grocery stores may also match competitor’s prices. Speak with a manager at your favourite grocery store to see if they will price match competitors’ advertised prices.

Potential Annual Savings: $1,000*

(Save 10%-20%) Stock Up on Sales

You can save ten percent, twenty percent or more by stocking up on grocery items that are on sale. You can stock up on groceries that are non-perishable or can be frozen, like bread and meat. You are only saving money if you stock up on things that you usually use. Compound your savings by stocking up when groceries are on sale. Use a coupon or buy on a customer appreciation day (if your grocery store has one of these). Safeway is one store with monthly customer appreciation days.

Potential Annual Savings: $1,000-$2,050*

(Save 25%) Stockpile and Skip a Grocery Shop

Save almost twenty-five percent on your groceries’ annual cost by stockpiling them when they are on sale and then skipping a grocery shop once every month. When you miss a grocery shop, you live off of what you stockpiled. If you can’t do this monthly, then try for once every three months. It will still save you a lot of money. You can stockpile all kinds of non-perishable food, and you can freeze bread and meat when you find them on sale.

Potential Annual Savings: $2,560*

(Save 12%-18%) Shop with Cash

You can save 12% to 18% if you leave your credit cards at home and shop with cash. According to Dunn & Bradstreet’s study, people who shop with a credit card pay twelve to eighteen percent more than those who shop with cash. McDonald’s has also found that when people buy their food with a credit card, average transactions jump from $4.50 to $7. If you only shop with cash or your debit card, you can only spend what you have. Shopping with $50 in your pocket can be much different than shopping with a $10,000 credit limit.

Try using cash for all your shopping—like clothes, shoes, electronics and restaurants—and see how much you can save. If you want to use your credit card to collect points, make sure you stick to your grocery or shopping list, and you still may come out ahead.

Potential Annual Savings: $1,230-$1,850*

(Save 48%) Put Your Grocery Budget on a Diet

Statistics Canada reports that the average Canadian household spends about $214 per person on food each month. This amount does not include eating out. If you’re single or live in certain parts of the country, the average will be higher. As a general rule, the Credit Counselling Society recommends that consumers allocate $200 to $250 per person for grocery money every month, or even a little more if you buy toilet paper, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies at the grocery store.

However, in her book Zero Debt, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox suggests that a family of four can aim to spend only $125 per week on groceries. That means striving to pay $125 per person on food each month rather than the Canadian average of $214. This goal is ambitious, but if you implement many of the tips outlined above, it is possible.

Potential Annual Savings: $2,560*

Combine Money Saving Strategies

Combine as many of these money-saving ideas as possible, and you can drastically reduce your grocery budget. Create a grocery list, and then only buy what is on your list. Next, start by shopping at a produce store. These stores allow you to eat healthily and save money. Watch your prices, but usually, you will want to buy most of your produce at these kinds of stores. The exception would be when other stores have good sales, or if you are willing to pay more for fruits and vegetables that are of better quality at another store.

Continue your savings by doing your big shop at a discount grocery store and buy as many generic brand goods as your taste buds can handle. For the brands you love, ask the manufacturers for some coupons and then watch for a sale. When your favourite brands go on sale, stock up and use your coupons. If Safeway has the deal, hopefully, you can time your visit so that you shop on their customer appreciation day. When there is a sale on a customer appreciation day (and then stocking up), buying with coupons can save you some serious money.

Remember to shop with cash or your debit card and stick to your list.

If you can find a grocery store in your community that will price match, take advantage of that. Wal-Mart supercentres offer the same low prices that the SuperStore does, plus they price match all competitor’s ads. If one of these stores opens near you, you can save gas by doing almost all of your grocery shopping in one place. Hopefully, this increased competition will cause other grocery stores to become more competitive and allow more Canadians the opportunity to save big.

What does this mean for you?

Some of these saving tips may be a little hardcore, but we know that some people are more motivated to save than others. That is why we are trying to lay out as many creative and insightful options for you as possible. You can decide how motivated you are to save. Some people find saving money fun, and some find it to be a necessity. If you can only apply a couple of tips from this page and save 20% a year, that could save you $2,050 if you feed a family of four. Is $2,050 worth the effort? That could pay for your next holiday.

* Savings based on numbers from Statistics Canada. The savings shown are how much a family of four could potentially save from implementing each strategy.

Source: mymoneycoach.ca