Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Ways to Save on Your Food Bill #tips

Five Ways to Save on Your Food Bill

Money doesn’t grow on trees. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d be rich. But I’m not. Given the fact that we travel six months of the year and support a family of four on a single family income, I make sure that when it comes to shopping for food, we watch what we eat.

That doesn’t mean that we go without. In fact, quite the contrary. I find that we enjoy a larger variety of foods because we are conscious of our spending. And, we still enjoy a healthy diet with money left for some treats. Everything in moderation (except caviar) is my motto.

Five Simple Ways to Save on Your Food Bill

1. Make a High Level List

Before I leave my house, I take a quick look in the cupboards, fridge and freezer and add any staples to my list. If I remember, I ask Ed if he knows of anything we need. I do not make an itemized list of all the extras. In fact, when I walk in the store, I have no idea what we’ll be eating that week. That’s where #2 comes into play.

However, I know how many meals we’ll be home for and what staples we need. I star the critical items so that I don’t have to make another trip and I know that I have to come home with them even if they aren’t on Sale. Speaking of sales…

2. Check the Flyers and Shop the Sales

I’m not suggesting that you sit down at the table and pour over flyers before you shop because I generally don’t. My flyers don’t usually arrive until after I’ve left for my weekly shop. However, the first thing I do when I get to my primary store is get a flyer. I take a minute or two to look through it and compare it with my list.

I do shop infrequently at two other stores but I find that their sales are usually more expensive than the regular price at Food Basics. The odd time, I miss out on a deal, however, if you have a cell phone with data, you don’t have to miss a thing!

There is a site called SaleWhale. You provide your location and they provide you with all the flyer sales for stores in your area. For me, Canadian Tire, Food Basics, Giant Tigers, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and Independent come up. If you’re going to be stopping by more than one store anyways, you can see where is the better deal and take advantage of that.

Then, I buy just enough fresh food and meats for the week. If there is a really good sale on apples and I know I have room in the freezer then I might buy some to freeze for apple sauce or all the pies that I (don’t) bake. If meat is really cheap, I will buy enough for two weeks. Remember, you don’t know what will be on sale next week and it might be a better deal than this week.

3. Ask if they’ll Price Match

Food Basics is my primary store and while they do give rainchecks on flyer items, they don’t Price Match however, some stores do. If you use download a Free app called Reebee, when you’re in the store, you can pull up the flyer and show the cashier. This will save customer service from having to call their competitors store and you time in line and possible embarrassment (although you shouldn’t feel embarrassed by saving money!). I don’t personally do this because I usually only go to one store, however, if it will save you a trip to another store and money, I say go for it!

4. Sign up for “Get Paid to Shop” Apps

The gist of the phone app is that you purchase items, upload a copy of your receipt and receive cashback. Seems too good to be true? That’s what I thought but it seems to be legit.

I would describe it as the modern way of couponing. The consumer doesn’t need to remember the coupon, the retailer doesn’t have to mail in the coupon and the manufacturer doesn’t have to process their rebate. Brilliant if you ask me.

Last week, I signed up for SnapSaves and Checkout51 and after one shop for food and drinks, I’ve accumulated over $10. In one week.

My suggestion is to only purchase products that you would anyways. Otherwise, you can get caught up in the hype of saving money when you’re not really because you don’t normally buy Kettle Chips (oh but they’re so good). The only catch that I can see is that you have to wait until $20 is in your account to cashout. They mail you a cheque/ I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you are interested in checking it out. I would really appreciate it if you used my referral link. I will receive a one-time payment of $1 if you redeem an offer. It all adds up!

5. And last but not least… Use Coupons!

There are tons of ways to get your hands on coupons.

  • Once a week, I get a coupon flyer delivered to my door. Uncle Eric doesn’t use coupons so I ask him to give them to me.
  • Get an account with Websaver, and Walmart. They have a variety of Print and Mail coupons on major brands like Jergens, Kelloggs, Kraft, Tassimo and so much more.
  • The Kids and I play a game with Nanna’s old magazines. We look through them for coupons. It gets them asking a lot of questions about pictures that they see and I get to save on shampoo.
  • If you’re in Canada, there will be a group in your town or city that gets together to exchange coupons. Guaranteed. Or, if you’re familiar with Facebook, do a search on your city and “Coupon Swap” and you’re sure to find others like you.
  • My Independent has a huge coupon board right when you walk in the door and I always take a minute to look it other. The Kids are always willing to tear them off for me.

Speaking of Coupons, now that I’m home, I have over $125 worth of coupons stock piled and I’m going to give them away to one of you! Name Brands such as; Dempsters, Melitta, Royale, Aspirin, Irish Spring, Speed Stick, Carnation, Astro, Cracker Barrell, Kelloggs and so much more! This stack of coupons also includes 3 BOGO’s and an FPC for Dog Treats.

Five Ways to Save on Your Food Bill.

Journeys of The Zoo did not receive compensation in exchange for sharing about these companies.

Besos, The Zoo

172 thoughts on “Five Ways to Save on Your Food Bill #tips

  1. Debbie S.

    Awesome, I just had so many questions answered that I’ve been wondering about, Reebee, I’ve heard about it, now I will be signing up and downloading, thank you!
    Next, yes I use coupons but someone must have been dishonest in my town because I can’t find a store to take printed coupons, but I do use as many other coupons for things I need and sometimes try a new item if my curiosity and a coupon lead me to something that catches my interest.
    Also I will be back to use your referral link, I will be signing up. Thanks!

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Debbie,

      I’m glad that you find this post useful. It’s just the tip of the iceberg in food savings but it’s the basics and has worked for me week after week.

      Thank you so much for using my SnapSaves referral link. I hope that you save tons of money purchasing items you would anyways.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…WIN at the Weekly Giveaway Linky, WW, 04/29My Profile

    2. Carole

      I Love to save money with coupons, and shopping tips are always appreciated. Just note that Food Basics has started offering Rainchecks, In Brampton I was offered a raincheck for Turkeys before Easter and was surprised, the meat manager of the store advised me that rainchecks were now being offered for any sale items in the flyer, it seems to be a well kept secret as I did not see any signs of advertising of this in the store, but get a raincheck I did 🙂

  2. April

    I personally use flyers, coupons, and apps. I’m a big believer that every penny counts. A newer app that just came out that I’ve been using for the last week is Zweet…pretty good so far.

    1. Tricia Hope

      I use coupons that I find because I think it is silly to buy something you may not use because of a coupon

  3. Rene

    I think I do them all – I use Checkout 51 and Reebee as my main apps. I love that Reebee gives you access to the stores’ upcoming flyers too, so you DO know what is on sale next week! We eat different food each week because we eat mainly what is on sale.

    We have a family of 8 (if you count the 2 dogs and 2 cats) and basically one (mid-range) income so every bit counts.

    I also got a PC Points card because I shop mainly at Independent/Loblaw. In just a couple of months I have $50 that I can use for groceries! Add that to my $21 at Checkout51 and we’re feeling pretty smart over here!

    1. Rene

      Oh, and I love finding sales that coincide with Checkout51 deals. Sometimes things can end up being far less than half price. Almost as if I’m in America and on ‘Extreme Couponing’…well not quite, but it’s pretty good!

    2. Sarah Post author

      Dear Rene,

      I too have a PC Points card and while I only spend 10-15% of my food money at Loblaws/Independent it still adds up to a savings of around $40 a year. I love that you receive points for using your own bags. Something I’ve been doing for years anyways.

      I just got back from the store and purchased Nutri-Grain Crunch bars. They were on sale at Food Basics for $1.99. I had a $1 off coupon and Checkout 51 was offering another $1. I made 1 cent on the deal and got a free box of granola bars. The best news is that since joining the apps, I’ve done this a number of times. Free is my favourite price.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Easter Egg Hunt Crafts for KidsMy Profile

  4. Juliee Fitze

    I most of the steps. I use coupons, price match, and check the fliers. Plus I like to go to the store first thing Monday morning to get the price mark down on the weekend meats.

  5. ashley p

    I make a list, price match and use coupons. If meat goes below a certain price then I stock up with what I can. I use snap saves and checkout 51 (I have earned $70.00 from CO51 and received 2 cheques) Haven’t enough to cash out from snapsaves yet
    ashley p recently posted…Parents of Preemies – OttawaMy Profile

  6. Elizabeth D.

    I use flyers for price matching plus coupons. I also use snap saves and checkout 51. In addition to these I accumulate Air Miles to get cashback because I like immediate rewards instead of waiting two years to earn enough for a trip. 🙂

      1. Elizabeth D.

        Wow, I’ve never done the math. That’s really good to know. There are several of the Air Miles rewards that aren’t that great of a deal but I always figure free groceries or gas are still free.

        I’ll tell you a funny story along the same line of thought. My 80 year-old mother participates in a monthly health study and as a thank you they give her a $5 gift card for either Tim Hortons or Shoppers Drug Mart. She didn’t want either and kept trying to give them to me because she didn’t buy coffee from Tim Hortons and didn’t shop at SDM because she felt the prices were too high. I had to explain to her that even if she spent the $5 on just a chocolate bar, that was still a free to her chocolate bar so it didn’t matter what it cost. LOL! Now she gets it and happily redeems her gift cards there.

  7. Doris Calvert

    I do most of the steps above except I do make a list of things we need and want, then look for sales and go to 3 or 4 stores where the sales are and use the coupons

  8. Stephanie LaPlante

    Flyers & coupons are the most common in my house. Another thing I do is message companies for the best buy in bulk locations to save money, like cat food…for my 7 cats. Crazy Cat Lady in the house! No more though lol. I never meant to love this many.
    Stephanie LaPlante recently posted…FunDayMental FridayMy Profile

  9. Ali P

    I look through the flyers and match them with my coupons. If there’s an item we need, but I don’t have coupons for, I wait for it to go on sale before I buy it. No exceptions! And lastly, I always shop with a list, and use my cashback apps.

  10. Jennifer L.

    I do all of the above, but I’m still trying to figure out the best way to use Checkout 51 and SnapSaves.

  11. Cheryl Grandy

    I make a list of staples that I need (I try to find them on sale before I run out out the items), I check flyers and I use coupons. I don’t often price match – instead I usually just wait for the item to go on sale at one of the store I regularly shop at. I don’t have a smart phone, so I haven’t used any of the apps.

  12. Jennifer P.

    I do all 5 of the things you mentioned – I am a big “saver” with coupons, pricematching, sales etc. I try to almost never pay full price for anything. I only work part time, so this is my way of contributing more “money” to our income – by spending less of it!

  13. Wendy hutton

    yes I do all 5 steps, it helps save on the grocery bill, I check flyers weekly for sales and bonus if I have a coupon for it, and I like to keep the pantry well stocked at least 6 of each item, unless if something I don’t use much of

  14. kathryn

    I check flyers, make a list, bring flyers with me to price match. If hubby wants something, I check sale whale, show the cashier the flyer on reebee. I/also carry coupons

  15. sarah sar

    I do use flyers for price matching but have found couponing to be quite a challenge. It’s so hard to find coupons in my area because of tearpad thieves so I pretty much just rely on price matching now to save money!

  16. lori b

    I swap coupons, I also buy items that are on sale and freeze them if they can be. I use the most out of left overs, such as chicken etc..

  17. missbobloblaw

    Lol! I do everything on your list! 🙂
    My tip to add is to use those points programs! I rack up my Shopper’s points and redeem at Christmas during their holiday bonus promos and get Christmas goodies. I get my prescriptions filled at Safeway and earn Air Miles for them- someday my ill health will get me some place fun….like Vegas or Mexico! 😉

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Missbobloblaw,

      Yes on the Vegas or Mexico trip. Either way, mum’s the word.

      I too use Shoppers, PC and Air Miles Rewards Programs. I forgot about them because I only shop there about 15% of the time. However, it does add up. Thanks for the reminder.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…WIN at the Weekly Giveaway Linky, WW, 04/15My Profile

  18. Tammy B

    I do all of the above steps.. I just started using CheckOut51… I usually do the same with weekly shopping, buy what I need for the week unless of course there is a sale… I like No Frills, but lately I have been shopping at freshco, it’s just around the corner but I find they don’t have everything I need or the products I could price match with. The more I save, the extra treats we can get…
    Tammy B recently posted…Easter Bunny Trail – WWMy Profile

  19. Teresa Claire

    I am huge on lists…I would end up forgetting to buy things that are really needed without my lists. I love Check Out 51 and have used it. I always check the sale flyers but sometimes I find it is more economical to shop closer to home.

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Shari,

      I find that I use SnapSaves more often as their products are usually on sale that week and if I have a coupon, I get the product for Free (Sale, Coupon, SnapSaves). I really like that Checkout 51 has tons of basic items like oranges, apples, eggs and milk. Thanks for sharing. Good Luck!

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Free Advice is Worth What You Paid For It… NothingMy Profile

  20. May

    I always go through the flyers and plan the meals and of course use coupons. I would definitely check out the apps!

  21. Sunshine G

    We try to use coupons but also grow food in the garden…freezing berries for smoothies in the winter makes a huge budgetary difference!

  22. Jen L

    I use flyers for meal planning and coupon matching. I use the coupon apps (snap Saves, etc.). I switch stores only for the coupon stacking on high value products I use frequently (Jamieson vitamins @ London Drugs). Also at work we trade/share coupons. I participate on review sites like ChickAdvisor etal to get free products.

  23. krystyl olson

    i use 1 & 2 but am hoping to get hubby into ‘extreme’ (not really) couponing – he is amazing with math, computers and competition. 🙂

  24. KD

    I always check my grocery store flyer and shop the sales, stocking up when a non-perishable or freezer item we use is on a good price.

    I can’t price match since the next grocery store is a 90 minute drive each way.

  25. Maegan Morin

    I do all of the steps! Its the only way we survive lol. And its nice to be able to have the foods that you want and having paid nothing for them.

  26. Brianne Hager

    I always check the flyers and buy only what is on sale. Usually we pick up what is on sale the day before the flyers change and then do the same thing right away on the next day for the new flyers. Then we pick up our staples at regular price if we didn’t find them on sale. We also stock up when things go on sale at really good prices and freeze extras.

  27. Lori Bazan

    I plan my weekly meals through the various flyers and price matching at my grocery store. I use coupons and I do use websaver to order coupons. I have a friend that saves and belongs to a group for coupons and I am looking into joining. Food prices are going up so much faster than my wages!

  28. Peady

    I use Checkout51 and a few other “point” type cards. It can be a help. I try to use coupons when I have a decent one, but the good ones seem few and far between, since they are usually a way to motivate people to try something new.

    The best thing I do is meal plan. If you know what you need and use what you have you definitely save money!

    Plus minimal waste. 🙂
    Peady recently posted…Some like it hot!My Profile

  29. holly o'gorman

    I do all of your steps! I like to save as much money as possible while at the grocery store and I’ll do jsut about anything to keep more money in my pocket!

  30. andie

    We do everything we can to save on food. We buy no name brands, use coupons religiously, and only if the product is already on sale. I shop by the flyers and roam the clearance aisles in every dept. I do end up saving quite a bit.

  31. BobbiJo Pentney

    I do all of them except for number 4. Coupons, lists, comparison shopping and price matching are a must.

  32. Amanka75

    To save money I use coupon apps such as Checkout 51 and SnapSaves. I also use coupons and price match. Last Saturday it was no tax day at Real Canadian SuperStore, so I price matched and bought all the taxable stuff that was on my list that day. I saved close to $20. I’m a member of all sorts of rewards programs including Starbucks(got a free tea last week when I used my own re-usable cup), Airmiles, PC points and PC + points, Shoppers Optimum(my absolute favourite), the Body Shop and a few more.

  33. Elva Roberts

    I do watch the flyers for sales and I take stock of my pantry before I head out to shop. I use coupons but not as many as i possibly should.

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  35. Vicki W

    I have a favorite website that I use for store deals each week and follow along with my coupons. I wait until the flyers come out to plan the following weeks meals using what is on sale that week. We also grow our own garden for stocking the freezer with fresh veggies each year. And every time we dine out, I check for restaurant coupons and also check for mobile coupons for stores such as JoAnns or Hobby Lobby.
    Vicki W recently posted…Comment on ProSonic Glow Cleansing & Exfoliation System Review by ISA VALMy Profile

  36. Crystal Quibell

    I do all of the 5, but I always use the flyers to price match. As well, I use the app Flipp to price match those flyers I don’t receive a paper copy of. I also use my VISA to get cash back on all the purchases, and pay off the balance. (the only card that gets paid off, lol.)

  37. Sandi Tymchuk

    I use coupons, check flyers online before major shopping trips, and just recently I’ve started to price match at Superstore.

  38. Bailey Dexter

    I do all of them on the list but after I have what I need to get, I google coupons for everything on it! This way I can print them off as I need them as well.

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  41. Alison K

    Of the five steps you mentioned, I “Check the Flyers and Shop the Sales”, “Ask if they’ll Price Match” & “Use coupons”. You seem to have all ways to save on your food bill covered. I’d just add that it’s true, one should only buy what they need. I live off sale items ‘cos it really is heart wrenching when you buy something full price only for it to go on sale the next week.

  42. Marlene V (Enelram)

    Make a menu for the week and create a shopping list from that. Then when you shop stick to your list and plan for the week — this way you won’t overbuy

  43. roger simmons

    We use coupons, we do SCOP and we do MIR. We also preplan our menu for the week so we go shopping prepared.

      1. roger simmons

        SCOP is the Scanning code of Practice. essentially, if a retailer has a listed price on the shelf and it scans wrong, the product if it is under $10 is free. If it is $10 and over $10 is deducted from the cost. In some ways, it keeps retailers on their toes as I have used SCOP before in Walmart and Superstore when they have posted a price on the shelf and it rings up as being more expensive.

        MIR is Mail in Rebates. I normally wait for MIR with Glade products or other products that say “Try Me Free”. I will pre purchase the product and the manufacturer will reimburse me with a cheque a few weeks later with proof of purchase.

        1. Sarah Post author

          Dear Roger,

          I am familiar with “SCOP” and always check my prices. ALWAYS. Not all Canadian retailers subscribe to it but most of the places I shop do. I know that one didn’t, can’t remember which one.

          Here is an article with some more information (

          I’ve done MIRs before but had a bad experience and have decided to stop doing them.

          Thanks for highlighting two other ways to save money. Good Luck.

          Besos, Sarah
          Sarah recently posted…A Grandparents Love Knows No BoundsMy Profile

  44. Karen E. Hill

    I use coupons every time I shop and plan out my groceries around my regular shops with coupons.
    I dont use a cell so the apps are not used.
    I always wait for my Thursday night grocery flyers and price match at Walmart

  45. lucy

    I make a list and take it with me while a shop. I look at flyers for on sale items and stock up on those.

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Christa,

      That is great news and 10% on top of already great savings. I love Food Basics.

      I find that my store is often unaware of upcoming sales and is out of stock. Sometimes they’re so great that I make a point of going back to try and catch the truck. Thanks for letting me know.

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Easter Egg Hunt Crafts for KidsMy Profile

  46. Lauren E

    I use apps and coupons. I almost never price match though, a lot of stores around here are weird about it

  47. Christy Martin

    I pour over the flyers and coupon match what I can. Waiting for sales on things like shampoo etc. and stock up on this that are no-perishable. Lots of freebies out there if you take a bit of time to plan.

  48. Emily Chui

    I make a list, I also plan out my meals so I know exactly what I’m missing so I don’t get tempted into snatching up other things!

  49. Ashley L

    I definitely check the flyers and use coupons when I can. I also love to scan for online deals first. For electronics, price check is a must!

  50. Darlene W

    Price matching, using coupons, checking out the sales flyers are the thingsi do before going shopping

  51. Wayne Lecoy

    I am entering your giveaway.
    It would be great to win Over $125 worth of coupons .
    In response to your questions of Do you do any of the five steps I mentioned? If so, which one(s)?
    Do you have any other ways to save on your food bill?
    Yes i do number 2. Check the Flyers and Shop the Sales.
    and to save money on my food bill i buy no name products for some stuff.
    Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!!

  52. anna key

    I use a lot of coupons, use several of the “get paid to shop” apps, price match, check the flyers and try to just buy items when they’re on sale. Not always possible but usually is!! 🙂 Doing these things have made a huge difference in my life. I don’t feel as much sustained financial pressure

  53. Tara

    my biggest way to save on the grocery bill is planning ahead, its not always easy, but it is the best method

  54. RichyRich7

    People say that those who laugh last laugh best. My friends laugh at my couponing but I have the last laugh with extra money in my pocket!

  55. Toby

    #1,2 and 5 I do…I also look for the 50% off sales…don’t fall for the 30% lol, and only items I need! 🙂

  56. candy kratzer wenzel

    I do almost everthing listed. I also belong to facebook groups of grocery stores in my area and we trade coupons, take pics. of hauls, share saving.

  57. marilyn crocker

    Always makes me feel good when I save
    but nowadays it’s a necessity to survive
    please bring on the coupons

  58. Elisabeth S

    I use coupons and try to check the sales. Usually, I buy the same things each week, so it doesn’t matter if they’re on sale or not, we need ’em.

  59. Wanda Bergman

    I always check the flyers and shop the sales. I love the challenge. I also try to stick to things I actually use and not buy something just because it’s on sale.

  60. Sheryl

    I use Checkout 51 (on multiple devices – there is a limit of 1 per DEVICE, not household 🙂 ), SnapSaves, CartSmart and Zweet. Starting using apps about 7 months ago and have already saved approximately $300 from them!!!

    1. Sarah Post author

      Dear Sheryl,

      I just looked up CartSmart (hadn’t heard of it) and it isn’t available on Android yet (coming).

      As for Checkout51, are you the same person and/or email address on all devices? I have a phone, tablet and laptop so that would be three times the savings.

      Thanks for stopping by and Good Luck!

      Besos, Sarah
      Sarah recently posted…Mother’s Day Craft for Kids – Flower Bouquet My Profile

      1. Sheryl

        I am the same person on 2 of the devices, but using my 2 different e-mail addresses. My husband and son each have a device that I created an account on, using their names and e-mail addresses. All cheques are sent to the same mailing address. Additionally, when I contacted customer service one time, they asked which account I was contacting them about and there was no issue – it’s also right in the terms and conditions of one account per device.

        The only pain about it is if you purchase the same item (one for each account you have) you have to purchase them on separate receipts. Even if you purchase 2 items on one receipt, CO51 will not accept the duplicate upload for the same item. This came from a customer service rep as well.

        1. Sarah Post author

          Dear Sheryl,

          Thanks for the information. Having to remember to buy two items on two different receipts is a bit of a hassle. I guess if I was really organized, I could create a separate “Checkout 51” grocery list and run those items through separately. Personally, I’ve made twice the amount of money using SnapSaves but everyone else seems to prefer Checkout 51. It’s only been a month so we’ll see.

          Besos, Sarah
          Sarah recently posted…This Mothers Day Gift a Photo Art that Matches Her Style @PosterjackDotCAMy Profile

  61. Penny R

    I coupon, check flyers, price match,Ii’ve also signed up to the paid to shop sites, and I sometimes make a shopping list. It feels so good to save money.

  62. Kirby

    I do all of these things! I also can/freeze bargain bin fruits and veggies so that I get more use out of the cheap (but good) produce.

  63. Laurie P

    My hubby does the flyer read thru. We’re always, always price matching. I get coupons and FPC’s mailed to the house regularly. And we always have a list going on the fridge. Some days I have to make a list as soon as I walk in the door from already grocery shopping (usually for items I couldn’t buy during that trip). Trying to get Jr. to start adding to the list, since he has his own washroom now, I think it’s only fair he keeps track of what he needs/wants seeing as he is 16 now.
    Also, my parents do grocery trips to the U.S. We live pretty close to the border, and that helps a lot too.


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