Is there a summer tradition more beloved than the “Great Canadian Barbecue”? After all, we only have a scant three to four months to enjoy our outdoor culinary pursuits. However, backyard chefs across the nation will find they’re paying more for their burgers, chops and steaks this year.
Meat prices have skyrocketed in Canada over the past 12 months, with retail prices shooting up 12 per cent for ground beef and steaks, and up to 16 per cent for pork chops, according to Stats Canada. Declining beef supply and a rampant virus affecting pigs are to blame for the price increases, which have far outstripped the lagging rate of inflation.
What can Canadian families do to counter these rising costs? Check out our top tips for saving at the grocery store:
Tip 1: Get a Big Point Payoff at the Checkout
One of the quickest ways to gain extra value is with some savvy credit card use. A cash back option that earns rewards on daily purchases such as gas and groceries offers the greatest flexibility; why not score extra cash on the purchases you’re making anyway?
Our pick: The MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard® Credit Card has up to 5% cash back on all of your eligible gas and grocery purchases for the first 6 months‡ (it earns up to 2% after this initial period on eligible purchases, and 1% on everything else). We’re big fans because this card packs one of the highest reward returns on the market – AND MBNA will cut you a cheque every time your earnings reach $50. And what reward is better than cash in hand?
Tip 2: Be a Couponing Queen (or King)
Every day, there are tons of discounts available on the stuff you need daily, available across the country – you just need to know where to look. While in days past that meant painstakingly clipping coupons out of the newspaper, the process has gotten decidedly more high-tech. There’s a barrage of site featuring the best coupons in Canada for download (we’re big fans of Canadian-based Grocery Alerts). Not only can you find the best deals in your area, but the site includes helpful learning resources for coupon terms and conditions, limited-time deals, and tracker tools.
Tip 3: The Freezer is Your Friend
There are two sure-fire ways to pay less for your groceries: buy in season, and buy in bulk. There’s a reason why fresh product costs an arm and a leg in the fall and winter – you’re paying a premium to have it trucked in from a warmer climate.
It takes some legwork, but planning ahead for future eats can really pay off – stock up now and freeze or preserve your favourite fruits to enjoy year-round.
The same can be said for meats – buy big quantities, do your slicing and dicing and home, and freeze for many a dinner to come. It’s amazing how much less expensive weekly shopping becomes when meat is out of the equation!
What are YOUR favourite grocery savings tips? Share them with us!