How to Shop for Food in Canada

This article is for visitors, students, new Canadians, immigrants and first-time live-alone individuals, families or groups in Canada.

The first "How to Shop" decisions to make are:

1. what percentage of food will be consumed in restaurants,

2. what percentage will be purchased already made from a deli, grocery store or convenience store and

3. what percentage will be prepared and cooked at home.

Some people can not function in the morning. For them the best solution is to buy a coffee, orange juice and fibre-based muffin from their local coffee shop. If you always buy your breakfast at the coffee shop - there is no need to purchase breakfast groceries.

Some people like to wake up early - read the newspaper - eat a large and healthy breakfast at home. These people should plan to buy lots of breakfast groceries.

Lunch options depend on available facilities and maybe rules. Some business locations prohibit eating in the office. The workers or students have to go out to eat a "brown bag lunch" or buy it at a restaurant. You have to plan what type of lunch is possible and buy at the restaurant or buy lunch groceries.

Supper or dinner offers the same options as breakfast. Some people are too tired after working all day and then maybe going to the gym to cook supper. For them the 2 dollar frozen food dinner - in the microwave for 5 minutes is a good solution.

For those with time and energy the supper or dinner time could be an excellent opportunity to prepare a salad-based meal with chicken or fish and a fruit dessert.

Your available time - energy level - work/study rules - facilities and interest will determine what type of food is best for your lifestyle.

How to Budget for Food in Canada

When I prepare my monthly food budget I use some average numbers.

The cost of average restaurant meals are: breakfast $5, lunch $6 and supper or dinner $8. With 30 meals of each meal each month the total cost is: 150 + 180 + 240 = $570 for the month.

The premium restaurant meals can average $9 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 to $100 for supper. These are options for special occasions, dates, and giving yourself a treat.

When I prepare my meals from groceries my average cost is $3 each meal and with 90 meals = $270 for the month.

When I use coupons and the flyer specials I usually reduce my cost by about $100 each month.

The flyer specials and coupons reduces my cost of food to $150 to $175 each month.

How to use Coupons for Food in Canada

There are lots of food coupons in Canada. The food coupons include all the fast foods, convenience foods, full meals at local restaurants, and all of the grocery products.

Coupons can be delivered in your mail, in the newspapers, magazines, newsletters, flyers and on the internet.

There are coupon clubs where you can trade coupons you do not need for coupons that you do need.

My food shopping ritual includes collecting the relevant coupons and trading the non-relevant ones.

Between the meal and grocery coupons I save $15 to 25 dollars each week using coupons to reduce the price of my food in Canada.

How to use Flyers for Groceries in Canada

There are lots of grocery stores in Canada and there is lots of competition for your grocery dollars.

The grocery stores use flyers to advertise daily or weekly specials. The grocery stores also have on-site un-advertised special food prices.

My weekly food shopping ritual includes collecting all the grocery food flyers and looking at the special prices.

If I can buy salmon, black forest ham, filet mignon, lobster, Alaskan crabs or roast beef at 50% off - then I buy more and if practical freeze some for later.

My grocery buying could be buying milk at "No Frills" because it is on special, buying bread at "Mr Grocer" because it is at half price, buying Presidents Choice Blue Menu salmon at "Loblaws" because it is on special, buying carrots, beans, pepers, lettuce and potatoes at "Food Basics" because their price is the lowest sometimes, buying spagetti sauce and prepared pasta at "Rabba" because it is made fresh everyday, buying eggs at "Shoppers" because they always have the best egg price specials, buying salad dressing at "Sobey's" for their special price.

By food shopping once a week for larger quantities to freeze and shopping occasionally for the daily specials I am able to save $15 to 25 dollars each week using flyers to reduce the price of my food in Canada.

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