5 Grocery Mistakes I've Been Making That Have Been Blowing Up The Cost Of My Food Bill

Save yourself those precious loonies, folks!

A person holding a grocery bill. Right: Grapes in a grocery store.

A person holding a grocery bill. Right: Grapes in a grocery store.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

It doesn't look like the cost of groceries in Canada will be getting cheaper any time soon. With that in mind, I've been taking a hard look at my grocery shopping habits and looking for ways to save myself some money.

As it turns out, there are quite a few mistakes that I've been making that have been costing me in the long run, so after implementing some grocery tips and tricks, I've managed to cut the cost of my weekly shop down.

Times are tough, and I know I've definitely been struggling with my food bill. If you are too, here's a look at some of the ways I was inadvertently racking up costs — and how I've fixed the problems.

Not using meal-saving apps

Bakery products from Metro via Too Good To Go.

Bakery products from Metro via Too Good To Go.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

I recently discovered an app called Too Good To Go, and y'all, it saves me so much money.

The app works by connecting you to nearby restaurants and stores that have food items that are still good to eat but might be going out of date soon.

I rarely shop at Metro due to their prices being higher, but through Too Good To Go, I've been getting a bag of "surprise goods" from their bakery counter for $5.99.

In my most recent bag, I got two Kaiser buns, two onion buns, two cheese bagels, a pesto flatbread, six cheesy bread sticks, two naans and a pack of mini cinnamon croissants.

All of that together would easily cost over $20, but by shopping through the app I get to save some cash by not having to pay full prices for my bread products.

Not checking our bill

Grapes at the grocery store.

Grapes at the grocery store.

Joni Hanebutt | Dreamstime

When my boyfriend came home and excitedly told me he bought grapes for $2.99, I was almost positive he was wrong.

I made him find his bill and double check what the actual cost was, and lo and behold, the grapes he thought were $2.99 were actually $2.99 per pound — meaning he paid almost $8 for a fruit that is not worth that price.

He's learned his lesson and, thanks to his new bill-checking habit, he'll always know exactly how much he's spending on something to avoid making costly mistakes in the future.

Not storing produce properly

I love having a big salad for lunch, but the way baby spinach gets weird and wilted after two days in the fridge is infuriating.

I recently learned that if you slip a sheet or two of paper towel in the leaves it sucks up the excess moisture that leads to the product going soggy. It helps any kind of lettuce I buy last a few extra days, which saves me from having to spend more money to get my greens in.

Everyone has their own tips and tricks to stretch the shelf length of certain items and this is by far the most useful one I've come across in terms of savings.

Not checking Flipp for best prices

Flipp on Sarah's phone comparing the price of chicken.

Flipp on Sarah's phone comparing the price of chicken.

Sarah Rohoman | Narcity

There are a variety of grocery price comparison apps out there that show you where to score the cheapest items — and my favourite one is Flipp.

After entering your location, it scours the grocery stores around you for prices and presents all of your options. For instance, if you search "chicken," it'll show you where you can find the cheapest price per pound in your neighbourhood.

I usually shop at the No Frills beside my apartment, but if I know chicken is going to be the main protein for my weekly meals and Flipp shows me it's a few dollars cheaper at another store, I will 100% go out of my way to shop there instead.

I've noticed that doing this can knock up to $5 off my weekly bill — it might not seem like huge savings, but it all adds up!

Not freezing produce

I can be a bit lazy with my cooking, so sometimes the veg I've bought for a stir fry, for example, ends up sitting there for longer than I intended and it starts to show signs of going off.

Instead of throwing it out, I've started chucking everything in my freezer so I can later add it to various meals.

Celery looking a little limp? Dice it up, freeze it, then add it to a bolognese later.

Bananas have gotten riper than you like? Freeze and add them into your next smoothie!

I also freeze bread and bagels — when I'm ready to eat them I just pop them in the toaster and they come out exactly as if they'd never been frozen.

Of course, these are tips that work for me, and what works for you might look a little different.

In terms of federal assistance, in July, around 11 million Canadians will be receiving financial help to help offset food prices via the new grocery rebate.

Low and modest-income folks can get up to $234 if they are single with no children, up to $467 as a couple with two children and up to $225 as senior citizens.

Best of luck, shoppers!

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Sarah Rohoman
Sarah Rohoman is an Editor for Narcity Media focused on Canadian celebrities and is based in Toronto, Ontario.