A recent story from our May issue, "Honey, I Shrank the Grocery Bill!", struck a chord with lots of readers and with media. It’s no wonder, really’who doesn’t want to save money these days? The most important aspect for us though is that we share with readers how they can get the same nutritional value, but at a better price. Writer Matthew Kadey is also a registered dietitian, so he was the perfect person to pull this article together. And we got tons of requests from radio stations to talk about the story. (One of the interviews I did can be heard here on CHML, a Hamilton, Ont., radio station. It’s with host Jamie West and is part of his Health Matters segment. Click on Jennifer Walker interview under featured interviews. )
One of the points that I use regularly is to do my own food prep. It really can save you a lot of money (and it is also something my personal trainer encourages as a way to help you lose weight). I regularly spend some time on Sunday afternoon cooking chicken legs or pork tenderloin (or my recent favourite is seasoned pork souvlaki) in the oven. While that’s cooking I’ll throw some zucchini, red and green peppers or whatever veggies I have on hand in a frying pan and I’ll saute them with some olive oil and a little garlic seasoning. Then I fill reuseable, microwaveable containers with about 3 oz of meat each and an even portion of the veggies. I top it all off with some goat cheese.
It takes some work and a little planning, but it really is a great lunch option for me. It saves me money at the grocery store (the cuts of meat I choose are among the least expensive and leanest’check out the story if you don’t think chicken legs are’but still my favourites) and I save again during the week when I would normally be heading out to buy my lunch. When I stick to this plan during the week it also makes the scale go in the direction that I want, so that’s just one more bonus.
Another tip that doesn’t appear in the magazine, but that I learned from a neighbour years ago, was to make the drive to the No Frills store. It may sound so crazy for people who regularly shop at No Frills (they obviously know the deals you can get) but I had attached a stigma to these stores. But when my neighbour told me they carry many of the same brands that the big grocers carry and that she saves at least $50 every time she goes for a major shop, I had to give it a try. Sure, the presentation of the products isn’t beautiful and the aisles can be crowded with boxes, but if you can go when it’s not busy you can really save a lot on name brand items you use all the time. And you can’t beat the $1 days that happen a few times a year.
If you have other suggestions to share on how to save money when you are shopping, I’d love to read them.