Why is it that groceries seem to get more and more expensive every year? Between the produce and expensive proteins you typically need to make a healthy meal, it often feels that the only way to cut down on your grocery bill is to swap out a flavourful meal with beans. And no one wants to do that.
Thankfully, Spencer Watts from Spencer’s Big 30 (Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET) offered some helpful advice on how to go about cutting down that hefty grocery bill… without sacrificing the quality of your meal. After all, every penny counts.
1. Herbs, herbs and more herbs
“Your aromatic vegetables — onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, dill — are like loose-change cheap, and used in the right way, will elevate anything,” Watts explained.
And if fresh herbs are out of the question, you can always just grow them yourself. Many herbs — like basil, parsley and chives — can be easily grown right in your home.
2. Don’t go for exotic cuts of beef
Inexpensive cuts of beef can still be tender. Watts suggested reaching for flank, skirt or flat iron steaks instead of some expensive beef tenderloin.
Just make sure to marinate whatever you buy before cooking it to ensure it comes out tender and full of beautiful, beefy flavour.
3. Shop at more than one store
Instead of being a loyal shopper at whatever grocery chain lies on the neighbouring street, splitting your shopping between different specialty stores could pay off in your savings.
In fact, Watts likes to go to a farmers’ market for produce, the butcher for meat and special seafood markets for fish. It’s the best way to get the high-quality ingredients for the best possible price.
4. Plan your meals
If you can set aside the time to plan a menu for the entire week, you’ll know exactly what ingredients you’ll need — which means you’ll also know what you don’t need.
5. Buy things in bulk
Sometimes, the best way to save some cash is to buy a lot your food at once (stores will often lower prices of bulk-packaged ingredients so it sells). Though you might be uncomfortable splurging on so much at once, it’ll pay itself off in the long run.
6. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
Now this might seem like an obvious one, but Watts really does have a point. When you enter the grocery store with a rumbling stomach, you’re more likely to make impulsive purchases.
7. Choose whole chickens
“It’s really easy to break the chicken down into legs, drums, thighs, wings, breasts,” Watts explained. Whole chickens are cheaper than pre-portioned chicken — so just buy the whole thing, portion it up yourself and freeze whatever you don’t need for later.
8. Go to a farmer and buy directly
Whenever it’s possible, skip the box stores and buy directly from a local farmer.
“That way, there’s no middle man, so you’re not buying from the big box company and paying the extra costs,” said Watts. Plus, if you’re going to spend your money, you might as well feel good about supporting a local farmer.