Deals for Meals

If you’re anything like me, grocery shopping was one of the most jarring transitions to adulthood. 

I’d carry one of my mom’s recipes to the store, fill my cart with all the necessary ingredients,  and then get to checkout and somehow have a $70 bill. So on the next trip to the store, I’d simply pick up a few packs of ramen and call it a day. 

But, what if I told you that I can now take that same recipe, to that same store, and leave spending half the cost. 

Below you’ll find a few food shopping tips and tricks that work for me. Since every store and everyone’s dietary restrictions are different, tailor the process to what works for you.  

Rewards Points 

Many larger grocery stores and credit cards offer rewards points to clients. With these cards, every purchase is an opportunity to earn cash back. For example, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers users 2% cash back on purchases made at grocery stores and wholesome clubs. This would mean you’d receive $10.00 for every $500 spend. 

Similarly, some stores offer shoppers a client card to collect points on certain items. Once earning a certain number of points, card holders can cash in the points for groceries. 

For Canadians, the PC Optimum card is widely used by shoppers. At stores like Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix, you can earn approximately 15 points on almost every dollar spent. And once you hit 10,000 points, you earn $10 worth of free stuff. 


Clipping coupons might sound old fashioned, but it’s a classic for a reason. And nowadays you can find electric coupons that scan straight from your phone. If possible, plan your grocery list around the sale items. And take advantage of price matching policies. Just remember that these money saving tactics do take a little longer, so expect a longer haul at the store.  

It’s also useful to learn your local stores’ sales patterns. For example, my local grocery store sells their salad kits for 50% off on Wednesdays, as they resupply their stock on Thursday morning.  Learning when your favourite items hit the sale section, can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Return Bottles 

If you’re heading back to the store, consider bringing empty glass bottles back with you. While this won’t earn you too much money, you could earn around five to fifteen cents per pound. And you’d be doing a little something green in the process! 

Read Labels 

If you’re prone to buying name-brand products, take a minute to compare the ingredients and nutritional facts with a generic version of the same item. With many food products, the main difference between the name brand and the generic one is the marketing. If you find the nutritional value to be the same, try making a switch, you might be surprised to find they taste the same. If you’re unsure what items to save on and what items to splurge on, there are many helpful guides online, like 


Even the simplest recipes require a few costly ingredients. If you’re planning to make a homemade stove-top macaroni and cheese dinner with friends, you’ll need some ingredients that can add up to a hefty bill. While all stores, cities, and products have different prices, there will likely be a substantial difference in pricing between generic and name-brand items.  Below is a chart that depicts your savings if you were to opt for generic ingredients at 

Item Name Brand Price Generic Price 
Dried elbow macaroni $1.29 $0.85 
Heavy Cream$4.99$3.59
Cheddar cheese$4.29$2.39 
parmesan cheese$3.69$2.59
TOTAL $14.26$9.42 

While $4.84 in savings may not seem like much, it’s important to remember that this is your savings for one dinner. Careful grocery shopping can save you hundreds in the long run! 

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