Updated: Aug 5
When you head out for a grocery trip, you might notice that you’ll walk out with a hefty receipt! With food prices on the rise, we have some handy shopping tips for you. Whether it’s at the store or at home, there’s plenty of things you can do to get the most out of your groceries.
What to do at the grocery store
Make a list and stick to it This is a simple and easy one to do—chances are it’s something that you already do! Making a list of the essential food you need can help you budget your groceries and prevent you from over purchasing. It also helps you avoid impulsive purchases. While snacks are tempting, they might not be necessary and can put you over budget. When you make your grocery shopping list, make sure to stick to it!
Shop seasonal fruits and vegetables When choosing your fruits and vegetables, look for the ones that are in season. Typically, in-season crops cost less. For instance, in the summertime, you can look for fruits like strawberries. Vegetables like potatoes and corn are also available in summer as well as early fall.  And thanks to greenhouses, consumers can have access to different fruits and vegetables all year long. As a bonus, many of these varieties are grown right here in Alberta!
Avoid convenience costs You’ll notice that some foods in the grocery store are already prepared, like salad mixes or shredded cheese. While this is definitely convenient, the price goes up quite a bit. This is called a “convenience cost.” Avoid convenience costs by buying ingredients and preparing your food yourself!
Check you local butcher—buy bone-in or cutoffs When grocery shopping, meat often makes up the bulk of the cost. You can cut down the price by opting for offcut or bone-in meats. Sometimes your local butcher will have much better prices than the big box grocery stores—not to mention these cuts are better quality.
What to do at home
Shop your pantry or freezer—avoid over buying Sometimes food can be stored and forgotten—so rather than making a trip to the grocery store, shop your pantry and freezer instead. You might be surprised to find some food hiding deep in your storage, and this could save you from going to the store too early.
Eat all your leftovers This grocery tip is a two in one! By eating all your leftovers, none of your food goes to waste, and you save on your grocery bill while reducing your food waste. On average, the Canadian household wastes about 140 kilograms of food per year. This amounts to a loss of over $1,300 every year. 
Preserving Preserving your perishable food is another way to make your groceries last longer. Preserving refers to the different ways you can keep your food from spoiling and canning is one such method. The canning process is when you place food in a jar and then heat it at high temperatures until it becomes airtight and any undesirable bacteria or micro-organisms are killed. There are two types of canning: pressure canning and water-bath canning. Pressure canning is used for low-acid foods (like meat and vegetables), as these foods require a higher temperature method to eliminate the harmful bacteria. You’ll also need a pressure canner (not a pressure cooker)!  Water-bath canning can be achieved without a pressure canner and is usually recommended for beginners. This method should only be used for high-acid foods like fruits and pickles. There are many other food preservation methods, including drying, fermentation, curing, freezing, or pickling.  In fact, Ag for Life’s team made preservations. Check out our video to see how you can make apple compote and pickles.
Freeze meats and leftovers After your grocery trip, the best thing to do with your meat is freeze it. This extends the shelf life of your meat. If wrapped and frozen properly, you can extend its shelf life for months, depending on what type of meat it is. You can even freeze your leftover cooked meat, and use it later on in a stew or eat it as is. Be sure to follow these Canada food safety guidelines for proper freezer storage.
Use leftover bones to make your own soup broth (Check your local butcher for smoked bones) Instead of throwing your leftover bones away, use it to make soup stock. All you need is a pot of water, your leftover bones, and any herbs or vegetables you want to add to it! What’s great about this, is that you can make and customize the soup stock to your taste level. Once your soup stock is done, you can freeze it for later. You can also visit your local butcher to see if they have any smoked or leftover bones to use in your homemade soup stock.
 Sobeys—What's in season? Your Guide to Canadian Produce in the Western Provinces https://www.sobeys.com/en/articles/whats-season-guide-canadian-produce-west/
 National Zero Food Waste Council, Love Food Hate Waste—Food Waste in the Home
 Almanac—Pressure Canning: Beginner's Guide and Recipe
 Masterclass—A Guide to Home Food Preservation: How to Pickle, Can, Ferment, Dry, and Preserve at Home