Back to school shopping is in full-swing for many parents, and another group is avoiding all discussion of it whatsoever until Labour Day weekend. Whatever your position on when to start, it can certainly take a hit to your family finances when September hits. There are certain points in the year when your budget month-to-month fluctuates greatly, but if you pay attention and shop with a strategy, the bump in your family budget doesn’t have to be a big one.
Here are 5 tips to help your back to school grocery budget that work for me:
Do Your Research Ahead of Time
Whether you get deliveries to your door or use an app like Flipp to view your flyers on your phone, take a look ahead of heading out to your chosen grocery store to see what’s on sale and shop based on what’s on sale, not based on what you want to make for meals that week. This is important, and a vital part to maintaining a budget. Plan your weekly meals based on what’s on sale – this still allows for tons of variety since next week something different will be on special.
Don’t Be a Label Snob
While blind-taste tests can show that yes, some name-brand food brands do taste better than others, unless you have a really refined palate (in which case, aren’t you fancy!), you and your kids especially can surely get by on the store-brand’s granola bars, cookies, and juice boxes, for example. These are typically lower priced than name brands and can save you money over the course of a school year. Of course, if you have an absolute favorite, buy it, which brings me to my next point.
Set a Price For Your Favorites
If you love a particular brand of cookies, pasta, or soda for example – set a price in your head (and then keep it in a Notes file on your phone) that you won’t pay more than for that product. For example, I know that my favorite brand of baked crackers typically goes on sale for $2.00. If they’re $3.29 when I go shopping that day, nope – I’m not going to buy them (and then I’ll stock up a bit when they’re on sale!)
Work That Sale Price, Mama
When you find your set price (or sometimes even lower!) on a grocery item, make that work to your advantage. For example, if ground beef is on sale for a crazy-low price purchase more than you would for one week and freeze. Stock up when the sale is phenomenal – and if you do your research you’ll get really good at knowing when a deal is an awesome deal.
Reward Yourself, Every Time
I typically plan to reward myself every time I shop. If a store has a rewards card you betcha I have it. Points can accumulate quickly and can then be redeemed regularly, quarterly, or maybe once a year or more depending on your strategy for huge savings. If a store doesn’t have a rewards card, then I use my rewards-point credit card. Points mean money to me, and I love saving money.
For example, use your President’s Choice Financial® Mastercard® for your everyday purchases and you’ll earn PC® points towards free groceries and more*. Plus, for a limited time, when you apply through RateSupermarket.ca and activate your card, you’ll get a $100 e-gift card and up to 20,000 PC points.1 That’s $20 worth of PC points towards your groceries! Redeem PC points at participating grocery stores where President’s Choice® products are sold.
While you’re at RateSupermarket.ca, visit their blog where you’ll find a bunch of great information including this timely post sharing more ideas on how to save on back to school grocery shopping!