How to Grocery Shop & Not Break The Bank!

How to Grocery Shop & Not Break The Bank!

Here are 7 tips to help you prepare and spend less:

Make a menu plan:

Planning what your family will eat can seem like a very time consuming task. I assure you, it saves you time, stress and money! Spend a little time each week to figure out what meals you have food for. Maybe you have enough food in your house to make 4 supper meals. This means now you only need to buy for 3 other meals that week. Here is an example of my relaxed menu plan.

Check your pantry:

Be sure you know what you already have on hand. It is so easy to over buy, especially on items you use often. You can even keep an inventory of what you have on hand and then when you reach a certain number, you stock back up. Here is a list of Pantry Basics you should have on hand.

Search the sales flyers:

Flyer sales are great to help you plan. If you have items you use all the time, and they are on sale, consider stocking up. You do not need a room full of stuff, but perhaps picking up 4 boxes of your favourite cereal, instead of 1, will get you through to the next sale.

Remember: Everything you buy is on a 4-6 week sales cycle. If it is on sale this week, you will see it on sale for roughly the same price in 4 to 6 weeks.

MAKE A LIST - Only buy what you need:

It is much easier to only buy what you need when you do the previous steps. Having a plan for the food you are buying, and knowing what you have on hand, means you will only buy what you need that week. If you see something on a clearance or in store sale and it will not be used/eaten, then it is NOT a deal if you throw it out! Download our Shopping List

Eat before you shop:

Hungry shoppers buy more. If you go to the grocery store when you are hungry, everything will look good and you will put more in your cart than you need.

Shop alone:

It is not always possible, but if you can shop alone, you will spend less money, stick to your list and not be distracted.

Look High and Low.

Manufacturers pay big bucks to have their products placed at eye level. The higher priced brands will be displayed where the majority of shoppers are bound to look. ALWAYS look above and below eye level when browsing.

Use Coupons, Loyalty Cards and Cash Back Apps to save even more!


CBC Radio Column: Holiday Shopping

CBC Radio Column: Holiday Shopping *


How early do you start shopping?

It really depends on what I am buying. If it is toys for kids, I shop closer to the holiday or birthday, they like everything they see. What they like in August may be completely different than what they “want” in December. As our kids grow and reach teen years, you can shop more in advance. Gift get pricier and usually they are a little pickier. We'll get to online shopping in a second, but if you're out in the stores, what's the advantage to starting early? Selection is your biggest advantage. Getting out before the mad rush of holiday shopping will provide you the opportunity to find exactly what you are looking for. Sometimes, depending on the item, seasonal sales afford you better deals as well. Crowds are another reason to shop early. I would rather not shop when they malls are packed! Shouldn't we just wait for the inevitable sales? Sales will happen closer to the holidays, but you risk not getting items in stock, as mentioned above. Many retailers also have a price guarantee. Some are up to 30 days. You can buy and watch if the item goes on sale, go in with your receipt and get the price lowered. When it comes to savings, what advantages does online shopping offer?
  • Shopping from home
  • Comparing prices easily
  • Selection is often much better online
  • Prices are often lower
  • Options for earning Cash Back or points (eBates, Mr. Rebates, Airmiles, etc)
  What are some of the disadvantages of online shopping?
  • Using Credit, or Paypal may not be convenient
  • You can’t touch the product, for some items you may prefer in person shopping
  • Returns and exchanges can be tricky in some cases
  • Shipping costs are a factor
  • ALWAYS read fine print
  If it's not apparent on websites, how do we find out about great deals? Best tip to stay on top of online deals is to subsribe to the various retailer’s newsletters. Of course following will help as well. We post as many of the best deals as possible. More and more we are including online retailers in our deals posts.   What's your favourite one stop shopping site?  One stop sites would be either or Log in through for cash back on these and many more sites. has a great site, I would shop from them if it is getting close and stores are busy. Did I mention I don’t like crowds? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *This is based on the script from my CBC column about Shopping during the holidays. The actual on air column may or may not have covered everything we had prepared. I am sharing this as part of our articles on the site as it was prepared with a few additions. It is in an interview format, myself being the person responding to the questions. Each column is prepared to allow for approximately 5-7min of air time. I may have added additional info on this page or links to further details.

Do You Shop Clearance Bins?

Do You Shop the Clearance Bins and Racks? 
Do you check the clearance bins when you shop? If you don't, why not?
Some people have the misconception that clearance bins are full of junk. They are the people who never look in them!
Can I just tell you one thing?  If this is you, you are missing out on some huge savings.
When I first started trying to save the most on my grocery bill, I learned quickly that many times the clearance bins were one of my best ways to cut back. I get some of the best deals in clearance sections. 
What about using coupons? Certainly you can't use a coupon on an already reduced to sell item....or can you?
YES, you CAN use a coupon on a clearance item, often making the item FREE or almost free!
They contain items that are being cleared for different reasons.
Here are just a few reasons items may be in the clearance sections:
  • Discontinued: Most often the manufacturer is no longer supplying the product, so the retailer clears it out to make shelf space.
  • Package Design: The product may not be changing, but the packaging is. Again, the retailer makes room on the shelf for the new stock with pretty new packaging.

  • Packaging: The packaging may be damaged, but the product is fine inside.
  • Close to expiry date (this is sometimes the case with food items, be sure to check) I buy yogurt on 50% off and freeze for use in Smoothies or yogurt  tubes for lunches. I NEVER pay full price for yogurt.
  • Produce Mark Downs: Most of the time there is one fruit or veggie in the package that is going bad, the rest is fine. (50% most common mark down)
  • Meat Mark Downs: Often the meat department marks down trays soon to expire and if you are going to cook it or freeze it the same day, why pay more? (30-50% savings are typical on meats)


These are just a few examples of saving big on clearance. Of course there are seasonal items, school supplies, toys, etc to watch for on clearance as well. Be sure to always have a look, don't be afraid of the clearance items, 99% of the time there is nothing wrong, missing or damaged, it's just time to make room on the shelf for new items.
Hope you enjoyed this article, and if you did, be sure to share!
Happy Savings,
Ruth Ann

© 2012 The Moncton Coupon Lady
Putting Money In Your Pocket One Coupon At A Time!