Canadians Are Sharing Their Best Grocery Shopping Hacks & These Tips Will Lower Your Bill

It's time to start saving! 💰

The aisles of a grocery store in Toronto, Ontario.

The aisles of a grocery store in Toronto, Ontario.

If the high cost of groceries in Canada has got you down, some new grocery shopping hacks might be just the help you need.

As food prices and the cost of living continue to climb, Narcity asked Canadians to share their best grocery shopping tips and there's no doubt that many of these will lower the cost of your grocery bill.

We might all be paying more for food these days, but these answers prove there are certainly ways to save whether you're shopping at Loblaws, Metro, No Frills, or Walmart.

With over 200 reactions and comments on our recent Facebook post asking, "Fellow Canadians, with the cost of food so high, what tips & or tricks do you have for saving money at the grocery store?", we've divided the best answers into four categories of grocery-saving tips and tricks that just might be worth giving a try on your next shopping trip.

Let's dive in and take a look at some of the ways you can save money on groceries!

Shop at different grocery stores

An overwhelming amount of the responses we received had something to do with diversifying how to shop for groceries and not just sticking to one grocery store.

While for many of us, where we do our groceries is largely related to location, plenty of people shared how they're able to save by shopping at multiple different spots.

"Shop at multiple stores for the best pricing per item," Kate commented.

In some cases, you may know that a particular store often sells meat or produce at a lower price, or you can go the price match route.

"We shop at No Frills who price matches," Sharon, from Ottawa, wrote. "Whatever we can't match at No Frills, [then] we go to Food Basics."

No Frills is far from the only grocery store in Canada to price match. There are seven grocery stores in Canada that do it, including Real Canadian Superstore, FreshCo, and even Giant Tiger, according to Flipp.

Speaking of Giant Tiger, with just shy of 270 locations in Canada, one grocery shopper gave the brand a shootout for having, "the best prices."

Other shoppers shared their tip of paying less for their groceries when shopping at Walmart.

"I find Walmart Supercenters to be cheaper than the grocery stores for most items," Chrystal commented.

Matching some of these suggestions for shopping at different or multiple groceries store to find the best deals were suggestions to avoid some of the more expensive brand names.

"Don't shop at Fortinos or Metro," said Brandon.

In a recent report by the Competition Bureau of Canada on the country's grocery industry, Metro was ranked among the top three grocers with the largest profit in 2022, alongside Loblaws and Sobeys.

Sales, specials, and only buying what you need

Everyone loves a good deal.

It's no surprise shopping sales was a popular tip shared by those who are trying to lower the cost of their bill, but still, some offered some useful tips when it comes to grocery store sales and specials that you may not have thought of.

"Only buy what you need," Tara wrote. "Rather than doing one big shop a week, I just get stuff as I need it. It means more trips, but I'm spending less and not wasting as much food.

Others echoed the sentiment of being smart when you shop and waiting for sales the items on your grocery list to go on sale.

"Only buy meats and bigger items when on sale, and stock up!" Lois commented.

"Buy off-brand if need be" Andrew advised. "If you can do without it, wait for a sale. Try and stay within your budget."

Others advised to "look out for what's going cheap that week," and some shared flyers, websites, and apps they use to keep on top of that, which we'll dive more into later in this article — because there are tons of options.

But as many shoppers said they save by only buying what they need, Ermie said it's important to recognize when a good deal is worth spending a bit extra on.

"If there is an item that I don't need but is a great bargain, then I will buy it in bulk and stock up. I refuse to purchase something I need with an overinflated price. It can wait!" they said.

Trying different ingredients

Have you ever heard of Meatless Monday?

The international campaign may have started as part of an initiative meant to improve people's health and the overall health of the planet, but it's also quickly becoming a smart way to budget on your groceries.

How can it not when the price of meat in Canada is up more than 6% from last year, while fresh or frozen poultry products cost nearly 10% more than in 2022?

"Cut out meat," wrote Joanne, while Dawn wrote how she's doing just that. "I have swapped out a lot of meat for beans and legumes for my proteins."

And when it does come to buying meat, Alex advised shoppers to avoid "premium markets" like Metro or Sobeys, instead suggesting people buy their meat for cheap at No Frills or directly through local farms.

Meat isn't the only thing shoppers said they're crossing off their grocery lists right now.

"I have stopped buying some things like cheese, butter, [and] cereal," Valerie commented. The prices for each of these products have climbed by between 7% to as high as 16% in the last year, according to Statistics Canada.

With that in mind, others suggested getting a bit creative, or even throwing it back to their student diet.

"Ramen noodles, KD, and goulash," said Theo. "It's like being in university all over again."

Mike shared some of his money-saving recipes, which included macaroni with onion, preppers, tuna, or lean ground turkey or ham, and added how inexpensive it can be to make french toast.

Harry shared that his breakfast staple is oatmeal. "I buy the big bags from Walmart and add fruits, maple syrup etc," he wrote.

Along with trying some foods or ingredients you might not typically cook with in order to save some money at the grocery store, plenty of other shoppers also suggested meal prepping and planning or making enough food to have leftovers.

Apps and websites

Now, if you're still left looking for where exactly to find some of the best deals and discounts for groceries in Canada, shoppers revealed many different apps and websites they're using these days.

The most common appeared to be the Flipp App, which over a dozen grocery shoppers admitted they use to find deals and price match on as many grocery items as possible.

"The Flipp app is a game changer,' Fabian commented, while another shopper said the app has helped them a lot.

If you've never tried the Flipp App before, you can use it to search for particular products and see which grocery store closest to you is selling what you're looking for at the lowest price.

There are tons of other grocery shopping rebates and price matching apps like it, with other shoppers in the comments mentioning the Flashfood App and the Foodhero App in Quebec, both of which offer discounts on meat and produce that are close to their expiration dates.

Other seemingly more frustrated shoppers admitted that the high cost of groceries in Canada right now has them trying out options like Chef's Plate or Hello Fresh, with some even suggesting they can save money ordering takeout some of the time.

No matter, the grocery shopping hacks that work the best for you, we hope this list helped you to learn of some new trips and tricks that might just lower the cost of your next bill.

Happy saving!

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

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.