Budgeting for Groceries

It is not difficult to create a grocery budget if you track your spending to see how much you spend, prioritize, and take advantage of promos, discounts, coupons, and cash back on credit cards.

Track Your Spending

It is a good idea to keep track of your spending for a month or two to get a realistic idea of your expenses. What you can do is pay cash only and keep the receipts or use your debit or credit card to pay for food. Then you can list all of your expenses to see where money goes. Make a list of all items, including frozen meals, fast food, meat, fruits and vegetables, juices, alcohol, soft drinks, etc.

Create a Food Budget

Knowing how much you spend will help you to create a grocery budget and cut down on some expenses. You can also list your household expenses, including rent, utilities, loan and credit card payments, transportation, etc. Add up your income (wages, salaries, investment income) and subtract your expenses to see how much you can allocate on grocery shopping on a monthly basis.

Ways to Save Money

One way to cut down on expenses is to use grocery coupons, and you will find plenty of printable coupons online. There are buy 1, get 1 free offers, save $1 when you buy 2 items offers, save $5 when you buy 2 or 3 items, and many more. Some retailers also offer holiday coupons, discounts on first orders, promo codes, and free deliveries. Certain conditions apply, for example, you cannot use two or more coupons for the same purchase. There is usually an expiration date, and promo codes cannot be used past the expiration date.

Another idea is to get a credit card that gives cash back or points when buying groceries - check: neo money. Many local and big banks offer cards that are ideal for grocery shopping. TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, and other financial institutions feature cards that offer cash back and bonus points on grocery purchases - check: more cards. The eligibility criteria vary from one bank to another, and some require a fair or good score while others require a good or excellent score to qualify. Customers who opt for cash back offers earn money back on recurrent bill payments and grocery and gas purchases. Additional benefits include no annual fee during the first year, extra cash back during the promotional period. The best part is that cash back never expires, and you can use it whenever you need to make additional purchases. Other credit cards allow users to convert grocery purchases into airmiles and feature added incentives such as a welcome bonus, no annual fees, roadside assistance, and discounts on car rentals. Banks also offer grocery credit cards with perks such as identity theft assistance, complimentary concierge service, travel medical insurance, fraud alerts. Keep in mind that some issuers offer cash back on purchases at certain locations such as Atmosphere, Sport Chek, Canadian Tire, and IGA - check: check: https://www.creditcardsforbadcredit.ca

Other Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Making a grocery list saves you a lot of time and money as you can make an estimate of how much the trip to the store will cost you. You can even use a food list template to list purchases in different categories – vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein-rich foods such as nuts, eggs, peas and beans, seafood, and meat. Shopping at cheap stores also helps save a lot of money in the long run. Do your grocery shopping at stores such as Food Basics, Walmart, Fresh Co, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, and Food Basics. Some stores also offer added perks and incentives such as discounts, promos, rewards programs, and price matching. Check the flyer in stock for promotional offers. Other stores offer rewards points that can be used at participating retailers across Canada.

Food Safety in Canada

Food safety policies and measures aim to ensure protection against incidents and hazards. A number of non-profit organizations and government bodies work to develop standards and regulations on preventable hazards, including the Food Inspection Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada.

Food Inspection Agency

This regulatory agency works to protect Canadians from food-related hazards by developing policies and regulations on food safety, including seafood and fish, dairy products, poultry and meat, etc. The agency has two consultative groups – the Ministerial Advisory Board and the Expert Advisory Committee. The committee offers advice on risk management strategies, key priorities, proposals, and new developments. The Ministerial Advisory Board also has a consultative role in relation to program frameworks, policies, and priorities. Value chain roundtables are also organized to bring key players together, including provincial and federal policymakers and representatives of associations, the food service industries, retailers, processors, producers, and suppliers.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food is tasked with developing regulations and policies on inspections and agricultural production and strategies for scientific research and environmental protection. The department offers a number of programs and services such as the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, Advance Payments Program, Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program. Under the Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program, for example, young farmers, food producers, and cooperatives are offered loan guarantees to develop existing farms or establish new farms. The Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program targets non-governmental organizations, marketing boards, and aboriginal groups and offers project-based financing.

Canadian Food Safety Fund

This non-profit organization works to represent and protect the interests of industry players, including processors, food service distributors, fresh cut operators, and retailers and wholesalers. Members also include brokers, transportation businesses, exporters and importers, packers, and producers. The organization runs the Center Plate Partner Recognition Program to help improve health, encourage the consumption of fresh products, and protect the interests of industry players. Sponsorship opportunities are available under the program. Sponsors include businesses such as Robinson Fresh, The Star Group, Mucci Farms, Fresh from Florida. Volunteer opportunities are also available, and volunteers are offered the chance to serve on different committees, including the North American Trade Committee, Food Safety Committee, Industry Technology Advisory Committee. The criteria for participation vary based on the mission and tasks of the respective body. Volunteers who serve on the Education Committee, for example, have experience in the area of career development and education.

Other organizations with a focus on food safety include Dietitians of Canada and the Consumers Association of Canada. The latter is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to educating the general public about the marketplace, including communications, health, and food distribution. Dietitians Canada is a nationwide association with members and branches in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and elsewhere. The association promotes best practices in nutrition and balanced nutrition for improved health. The goal is to ensure that people have access to good quality, safe food. Dietitians of Canada was established in 1997 and helped form other alliances and organizations such as the Partnership for Diabetics Education and Practice and the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research. The organization also offers a number of awards on an annual basis such as the Morgan Awards, Member Recognition Awards, and DC Network Student Scholarships.