Simple and Easy Ways to Save on Food

Monday, January 21, 2013


Sorry everyone, I know it's been a while since I've written anything for The Cannon, but I'm back with one of my most recent articles about how to save money on food. So here are some general things that I think about when I go to the grocery store.

  • Purchase generic brand or private label products instead of name brand foods - Yes I know everyone thinks that No Name brand tastes like crap, but that's exactly what they want you to think. Most big companies spend millions on branding each year to get you to think their product is better. What's often the case is the same company that produces private label/no name food often also produces the name brand product you always buy. If not the quality of the no name brand food is just as good, their food safety testing is often also much more strict.
  • Purchase full fruit instead of cut up packaged versions - Please don't be extremely lazy. You can buy a full pineapple for $1 on sale at No Frills or pre cut pineapple for almost $3-$5. Oh and fruit trays are extremely expensive too, so please don't buy them. Buy a big bag of regular carrots, peel and cut them. It will turn out to be a lot cheaper than the $2-3 dollar bag of baby carrots. Check out this site on how to cut an avocado, pineapple and mango, because yes I know they are annoying to cut. http://diyfather.com/content/how-to-cut-difficult-fruit-and-veg  
  • Buy in Bulk - For the most part, buying in bulk will save you money. This is often the case with meat products. Of course you're thinking, I don't need 8 chicken breasts. Well eventually you do. Buy ziploc bags and bag up the meat in meal size portions and you have meat for a while and you've saved by buying in bulk and probably purchased it on sale as well. You can also buy yourself a really large piece of pork and cut your own pork chops and once again bag them in individual portions. Check out the video here http://video.about.com/gourmetfood/Butcher-Your-Own-Pork-Chops.htm 
  • Don't Buy in Bulk - Yup I know, I'm contradicting myself, but there are situations where buying in bulk may not be your cheapest option. Costco is one example. It's really important to know your prices when you go to Costco because some products aren't that cheap, it just seems cheap because its a massive box. A few products I have found at Costco that are a great deal is Liberte Greek Yogurt, 2 Tubs for about you $7.50 I believe, or 3kg of Oatmeal for $7 approximately as well. Know your prices and you will be fine Also when using coupons it actually makes more sense to purchase smaller formats of the products and use more coupons. Instead of saving $0.50 on a $4 item, buy the smaller format at $2 and save more if you are using multiple coupons on multiple smaller formats.
  • Don't Go For Variety - I've learned this the hard way. I thought I was going to be a gourmet chef and would make a variety of meals all the time. And of course I didn't finish a bunch of food I purchased, it went bad and all the ingredients cost me quite a lot more. If you stick to a few staples and go for less variety you end up spending less and using it up without dumping half of it in the garbage. You're a student not a chef.

Also another tip when you really need to buy something and it's not on sale, make sure to check the unit price of the product which is often in grams or kg. This is a great way to compare 2 products and determine which is less expensive based on the cost per oz, lb, g or kg. A product that costs. $0.263 per oz is cheaper than a product that costs about $0.5 per oz.

Or getting your parents to buy your groceries works too.


Lauren Bernardo is a current University of Guelph Commerce student.  Her blog Cheap Students aims to help students save money and keep it. Her writing is inspired by her personal experiences as a student on a budget and by her love for saving money.

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