We’re back with more of your wonderful consumer tips for Part 2 of our two-part series on savvy grocery shopping. Now, that you already know how to prepare for your grocery shopping endeavor, we’re going to share tips for saving money once you’re actually in the store!
The savvy shoppers’ guide to groceries – Part 2
While Part 1 guided you through how to prepare for your shop, Part 2 will focus on navigating the aisles and being strategic with your purchases.
Helpful tools for savvy shopping
Here are some resources that may be useful for your grocery shopping trips.
- Your list to refer to
- Rewards cards
- Reusable bags to save money on bag charges (and to be green)
- Scanner Price Accuracy Code: This is a voluntary code that participating retailers follow to ensure scanner price accuracy for consumers. Read more about the code.
- Rain checks: did you know that when a sale item is sold out you can ask the cashier for a rain check? That means you can come back later when the item is in stock and the store will honour the sale price.
Perusing the aisles in search of savings
Here are some tips to keep in mind in the thick of your shopping experience.
- Add prices up in your head or on a calculator as you go. That way, you’re not surprised at the till. This can also help keep you in check when you’re tempted to make an impulse purchase.
- Pay attention to the price per unit. This makes it easier to compare prices without whipping out your calculator.
- Avoid the items placed at the end of the aisles. Instead, check their regular location to find better prices and sales.
- In general, try to stay on the perimeter of the grocery store. The perimeter tends to have less processed foods and is also where the some of the more affordable food lives (discounted produce and meat, baked goods, etc.)
- Buy bulk when it makes sense.
- Don’t take your cart down every aisle. Tuck it off to the side (so not to annoy fellow shoppers) and beeline it for the item you’re looking for. A member of our Facebook community, Barbara, suggested this tip to avoid tossing impulse purchases into your cart out of convenience.
The possibilities of produce
- If you are interested in buying local, look for “grown in BC” labels. If you’re not sure, ask!
- Some grocery stores have a discounted produce section. Check it out and buy some ripe fruits and veggies to eat that night or freeze for later.
- Carefully consider how much produce you are buying to avoid food waste.
- Try going meatless when possible. Meat can be expensive, so try sticking to vegetarian meals for a portion of the week to save money. Plus, it’s fun to try out new recipes!
- Organize your coupons while you wait in line to make things faster and easier.
- Check your receipt before you leave the store to make sure no items were double scanned.
- Double check that any coupons/discount cards were applied.
- Keep your receipt in case you need to return a spoiled food item.
Did we miss anything? We want to hear from you. Share your favourite grocery shopping tips in the comments section below!
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
The savvy shopper’s guide to groceries – Part 1
Scanning Code of Practice – what you need to know
Things to look out for when shopping sustainably
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
4 thoughts on “The savvy shopper’s guide to groceries – Part 2”
I would like to know why our big name grocers are now pricing poor-quality cuts of meat at prime rates? We all know what a ribeye steak should look like, and that it is very tasty and tender. I have had the unfortunate experience of purchasing these steaks, at great expense, in several different grocery chains, each time with the same result. All I want is the quality I am paying for.
Hi B.Bennett, thanks for your questions. To clarify, are you saying that the cuts of meat are being advertised incorrectly as higher quality than they are? Or are you saying that the price of the meat does not match the quality?
For the former, you may be interested in reading this page from the Competition Bureau: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03133.html – They oversee aspects of misleading advertising. That page has some information for you to read so you can see if any of it applies to your situation (they also have some contact info at the bottom if you would like more info).
The Competition Bureau can also take action to investigate when it finds evidence of price-fixing. If you think that is the issue your facing in with the meat at your grocery stores, you can submit a complaint here: http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/frm-eng/GH%C3%89T-7TDNA5 or call them at 1-800-348-5358.
For the latter, you may be interested in taking the meat back to the grocery store with the receipt to let them know you’re disappointed with the quality (if you haven’t already done this). Typically, grocery stores are understanding when a customer is dissatisfied and try to resolve the issue with a refund or replacement. Another option might be to contact a local butcher you trust and find out if it’s more affordable to buy larger quantities of meat from him directly – that way, you know exactly what kind of quality your paying for (that was a tip we got from a consumer on ways to save money on meat).
While we licence and regulate seven industries in BC and oversee specific consumer protection laws, we have no legal authority or oversight when it comes to the prices of meat at grocery stores. When we can’t help you directly with our laws, we’re happy to provide referrals and info. I hope this is helpful to you!
Do shops have to offer rain checks when sales items are out of stock or is it up to their discretion? Is there some sort of a code of practice regulating it?
Hi Mat, thanks for your question. I’m not aware of any rule that requires businesses to offer rain checks. You may be interested in checking with the Retail Council of Canada to see if they have information on that. Hope this helps!