How to Save Money Tip Day 7: 34 Easy Tips for Shopping Smart in the Grocery Store

How to Save Money Tip Day 7: 34 Easy Tips for Shopping Smart in the Grocery Store

Food tends to be one area of our budget we can overspend so easily. How do we control our costs in the grocery store? The key is learning to shop smart.

The number 1 suggestion I can provide is to plan!

For example, have you ever bought lots of fresh fruits and vegetables with great intentions and than have to throw out most of it because it went bad before it was eaten. Plan out your meals in advance- what do you need to make these meals? What do you already have in your house?

Here is a list of my suggestions for shopping smart for groceries:

Plan in advance:

  • Plan out your meals (make a list of all ingredients you have already and what you need to buy)
  • Shop with a list- don’t put items in your cart that are not on your list
  • Look at the grocery flyers before hand (make a detailed list)
  • Look for coupons especially on toiletries and household products
  • Check out recipe books and searches online for new and interesting recipes to try


  • Prepare double meals and freeze your leftovers (spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and chili are great examples of foods that freeze and reheat really well) *label and date the container before putting it in the freezer
  • Use leftovers in a creative way take leftover roast chicken and make chicken tacos or a chicken and rice casserole with it
  • Pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch
  • Label all leftovers
  • Try to use ingredients in more than 1 meal- if tomatoes are on special this week try to use them in a couple different meals

Grocery Shopping:

  • Do not shop on an empty stomach
  • Consider shopping at multiple stores -look at warehouses for certain items
  • Look at smaller stores (ethnic markets for example)
  • Take advantage of stores that allow you to price match
  • Stick to the outside edge of the market for healthier foods
  • Look for alternatives to pre-packaged foods- make your own macaroni and cheese to ensure the quality of the ingredients- you can also add in extra veggies by pureeing some butternut squash to add to the cheese sauce

Fruits and Vegetables: Try to Save Money Tips

  • Shop local- look at farmer’s markets for fresh produce
  • Prepare your fruits and vegetables when you get home- makes for quick meal preparations and snacks on the go
  • Look at alternative sources to fresh produce such as low sodium canned options or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Check out the grocery sales for different types of vegetables on sale
  • Consider jarring or canning fruits and vegetables while in season
  • Grow your own vegetables or herbs

General Tips:

  • Shop with cash
  • Use a calculator to add up your costs
  • Consider your needs and wants- do you need that chocolate milk or do you want it?
  • Check out the top and bottom shelves for hidden bargains
  • Check unit prices not just the overall price to see which product is a better deal
  • Look at store brands not just name brand items- you are paying for the label/brand
  • Take advantage of store loyalty and reward cards- collect points
  • Stockpile foods that don’t expire quickly such as canned goods, dry beans, and pasta
  • Look for loss leaders in your store flyers
  • Find out when or if your store has a clearance section or discounts products such as meat or bread (freeze immediately)
  • Look at club size packs of meat and sub-divide into smaller portions at home
  • Look for discounted fruits and vegetables (I often find red peppers marked down that I then roast and freeze at home).

How to Save Money Tip Day 6: Quick Ways to be a Tourist in your own Community

How to Save Money Tip Day 6: Learn How to be a Tourist in your own Community

Have you given any thought to taking a lower-cost staycation this summer instead of a pricey vacation?

  1. Definitely take some time to plan out your staycation. What are you going to do during this time?
  2. Research possibilities within 100-150 kms from your town or city. Look at museums, art galleries, provincial parks, nature trails, aquariums/zoos, a play in a local theater, wine tours, concerts, bowling, historical sites, amusement parks, miniature golf, just to name a few possibilities
  3. Look for special programs, activities, or events- often there are big celebrations for holidays such as July 1st (Canada Day) or July 4th (Independence Day)
  4. Worried about putting mileage on your car- then rent a car
  5. Look for discounts and coupons for entrance fees or rentals
  6. Book online- compare prices for renting cars, tickets to special events, or even a hotel
  7. Look at alternatives to a pricey hotel- camping outside, a log cabin, bed and breakfasts, a rental with a group could be cheaper possibilities
  8. If you have kids- find fun and exciting activities for them during the day
  9. Have fun at night- make sure you plan some fun date night activities for you and your partner
  10. Take lots of pictures- you want to capture special memories
  11. Consider your local environment- do you live near the beach or on a lake? Look at local relevant activities such as fishing or canoeing or sun-bathing. In the mountains you might enjoy hiking adventures
  12. Check out your local town/city website, listen to the radio, look in the newspaper for lots of unique possibilities

How to Save Money Tip Day 5: Cheap and Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself

How to Save Money Tip Day 5: Cheap and Simple Ways to Pamper Yourself

Spending time and money on yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. Really the key is finding things that you enjoy and find relaxing.

Some ideas for pampering yourself include:

  • Beauty rituals at home (for example, facials, body scrubs just to name a couple examples). This website provides some recipes
  • Pedicure and manicure
  • Bubble bath (try setting the mood with candles, relaxing music, aromatherapy)
  • Hair cut or dye your hair
  • Cup of tea or coffee
  • Reading a book or magazine (Can’t afford these treats, check out your local library)
  • Listen to music
  • Watch a movie
  • Play a quiet sport such as golf or tennis
  • Play a favorite video game
  • Catch up on a favorite tv show
  • Some creative pursuit such as scrapbooking, card-making, quilting or knitting, painting, jewelry making or anything else you love doing
  • Window shop at the mall
  • Go for a walk
  • Walk through the grass, watch the clouds, enjoy some time in nature
  • Photography (take some pictures of nature)
  • Meditate
  • Write in a journal or diary

I am thinking about lots of ideas that involve spending time alone and relaxing. Recharging your own batteries will allow you to be more present in your other roles!

How to Save Money Tip Day 4: Cheap Ways to Entertain Family or Friends

How to Save Money Tip Day 4: Cheap Ways to Entertain Family or Friends

Having your friends or family over doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are lots of fun activities that you can do that that are inexpensive. Cheap is often seen as a negative word but I think we need to change our perception. I think we should look at frugal ways to entertain both at home and elsewhere.

Involve your kids in planning fun activities such as games like tag, hide and go seek, jump rope etc, artistic ideas like drawing with chalk. Kids can help make inexpensive decorations for parties or holiday celebrations.

Be honest with your friends and family- tell them expectations need to change and that you value their friendship but that your pocketbook needs help. They might also feel the same way but find talking about it difficult.

Cheap doesn’t mean less fun.

Alternatives to expensive nights or activities include:

  • Potlucks
  • Cooking parties (freezer meals, cookie swaps, etc)
  • Clothing swaps (trade no longer worn clothing with your friends)
  • Day trips to a local beach
  • Beach party- bon fire, roasting marshmallows
  • Movie and popcorn at home
  • Picnics
  • BBQ’s
  • Pool parties
  • Board or card games
  • Wine and cheese parties (everyone contributes food and a bottle of wine)
  • International food nights (everyone brings a different dish)
  • Coffee date
  • Manicure or facials at home
  • Video games
  • Etc.

Remember to think outside the box for different and unique ideas. After all it isn’t about the amount of money being spent but rather time spent together and all the fun experiences we share.

How to Save Money Tip Day 3: Simple and Inexpensive Ideas for having Fun

How to Save Money Tip Day 3: Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun this Summer

Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive, it is more about having the experience.

Look for low-cost or free events, activities, and programs in your own community.

Listen to the radio or check out your community’s website for ideas.

Some suggestions for fun activities include:

  • check out charities that can benefit from your time and energy (for ex. charity walks)
  • train for a marathon
  • fun days for children
  • a fair, exhibition, or circus
  • heritage days or sites
  • a local park (play catch, frisbee, picnic lunch)
  • nature trails (bike or walk)
  • museums
  • just to name a few

Sometimes the real key is to think outside the box and look for different alternatives you can enjoy….

How to Save Money Tip Day 2: Bring Lunch to Work and Save More than $2000 a year

How to Save Money Tip Day 2: Bring Lunch to Work and You Could Save More than $2000 a Year

I am not suggesting that you can never eat out but rather look at the money you can save if you brown-bag your lunch even 1 day a week.

How much do you spend on average for a lunch out? $5-20 a day. Let’s say you spend $10 a day on lunch, that is $50.00 a week or $200.00 a month or $2400.00 a year.

Instead you brown bag your lunch 1 day a week so now you spend $40.00 a week, $160.00 a month, or $1920.00 a year. That is considerable savings- what could you use that money for? That would make some nice payments on your existing debt, extra mortgage payments, save for a vacation, help fund an emergency fund, extra money for retirement savings or saving for your child’s education.

What if you choose to make this shift 2 or 3 days a week? Every day we make money choices, sometimes we need to weigh out the costs vs the benefits. We can make better choices if we change our behaviors.

How much would it cost you to make your own lunch? It does cost some money and also time to plan and make your lunch but the savings is still considerable.

Tips for Making your Lunch Quick and Easy:

Consider leftovers from last night’s supper or low-cost meal options like soup, sandwiches and wraps, salads, just to name a few. Try cheese, deli meat, and crackers for a light lunch.

Make your lunch the night before so it’s quick and easy to grab and go.

Buy big bags of snacks and divide them up into individual size portions *often cheaper.

Make extra portions of meals such as chili, spaghetti sauce, casseroles, and lasagna which can all be frozen in advance. Defrost and reheat at work for a quick lunch.

Cut up vegetables and fruit when you get home from the grocery store so its easy to grab when running late. Add some dip or salad dressing.

Freeze a water bottle or grapes to help keep other foods cold until lunch time.

Invest in a thermos for hot and cold foods and an insulated bag.

How to Save Money Tip Day 1: Are you looking for free entertainment? Check out your local library

How to Save Money Tip Day 1: Check out the Library for free entertainment ideas….

Your local library is a great source of free entertainment and resources for the whole family.

Literacy is important- reading opens doors and allows us to imagine ourselves somewhere else.

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

Maya Angelou from

Have you ever bought a book and realized that it wasn’t what you thought it was? Ever see a magazine while standing in line at the grocery store and you just wanted to read one of the stories? Want to watch a movie or listen to a new cd that is totally not your normal style?  Do you need some volunteer experience? Want to join a book club? Are you a new mom and you and your baby need to get out of the house?

There are so many reasons I can suggest checking out what resources are available at your own local library.

Some of the resources may include:

  • Use a computer or access the internet
  • Access to a wide array of magazines, newspapers, and books
  • Access to a variety of dvds, cds, books on tape, and ebooks
  • Activities, programs, events, and groups for children, teenagers, adults, and seniors
  • Summer programs- reading clubs for kids
  • Quiet space for studying or research
  • Research (genealogy for example)
  • Meeting spaces for groups of people
  • Adult or ESL literacy help
  • Computer training or help

Some of the reasons to use the library:

  • Most services are free
  • A few services are low cost for some services like a photocopier
  • Lot’s of choice and variety
  • Good way to try new types of books or new authors
  • Entertainment value
  • Be part of the larger community
  • Meet and talk to other people (you never know who you might meet)
  • Participate in groups
  • Learn research skills
  • Literacy is a vital skill
  • Librarians are a key resource and source of information

A book is a gift you can open again and again.

-Garrison Keillor from