The price of groceries is climbing, and it’s a big source of stress for Canadians from all walks of life. Here’s how to cope.If your bills have made you anxious recently, you’re not alone. Everything – from housing to gas and groceries – is more expensive these days, and it’s causing no shortage of stress.
According to FP Canada’s 2022 Financial Stress Index, the cost of a trip to the grocery store is the biggest stressor for most Canadians. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) say that rising food prices are having a direct impact on their stress levels.
Grocery bill pain is particularly acute – and higher than the national average – in Atlantic Canada, Alberta, and among Canadians with disabilities, though it’s being felt across the country by individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
With rising inflation, tightening global supply chains, and ongoing geopolitical conflict impacting food and energy prices, costs are unlikely to stop rising any time soon. To reduce stress and take control of their financial well-being, Canadians will need to keep their grocery spending in check.
Here are a few strategies to help shrink your grocery bill and stretch your food dollar.
1. SET A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
The 2022 Financial Stress Index shows that 29 per cent of Canadians believe creating a budget would help to reduce their financial stress. Tracking and planning your ongoing and future spending, including on groceries, is essential if you want to take control of your finances and (by extension) your own wellbeing.
According to Credit Canada, most households should allocate about 15 per cent (or around $595) of their monthly budget to food and groceries, including household and personal care products.
2. MAKE A (MEAL) PLAN
It’s Sunday – do you know what you’re eating next week? If you prepare a large pot of chili or chop up some ingredients for salads and refrigerate it all in Tupperware containers, you’ll be all set for the week.
You can also take advantage of grocery store sales by stocking up on reduced-price items and using them as key components for your weekday meals.
Creating a meal plan is an effective way to reduce impulses to order take-out, which can get expensive fast. Read more below.
3. AVOID THE TAKEOUT TEMPTATION
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, ordering takeout or delivery was a convenient way to support local businesses while feeding yourself or your family.
While there are still bound to be times when you want to order in, it does add up. Scale back by sticking to your prescribed weekly meal plan or starting the day with a clear picture of what you’ll be making for dinner. Save restaurant takeout or delivery for special occasions.
4. NO SHOPPING WHILE YOU’RE HUNGRY
Your grocery list only calls for milk and eggs, but you skipped lunch and that tenderloin in the deli window sure looks tasty, even at $20/kg (so does that bag of potato chips, the seasonal Québécois cheese that’s only available today, and on).
Before you know it, a $10 trip for essentials has ballooned into a $40 venture, all because you were shopping on an empty stomach. Before you walk through those doors, have a quick and healthy snack. Your stomach, brain, and wallet will thank you.
5. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
In addition to meal planning, making the best possible use of leftovers and minimizing waste while preparing meals is a no-brainer that will save you money. It’s also the right thing to do for the environment.
These are just a few simple tips to keep your grocery bill from getting bloated.
If you would like to discuss this topic in greater detail or have any questions, please reach out to a member of your Arbutus Financial Team.