10 Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Tips (That Save You Money...)

10 Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Tips (That Save You Money...)

4 minutes to read 

10 Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Tips

Grocery shopping is inevitable. We all have to do it and every month, my grand grocery bill comes out to be so expensive!

Over the years, I've been slowly changing my habits to lower that cost and let me tell you, there are some win-win strategies. When you shop less but better, you can save quite a bit of money! Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve this goal. 

Meal Prep

Cutting down on those costs while shopping for food begins even before you even leave your home. That's checking the pantry and fridge right before those trips.

Taking into account your current inventory, whether it's jotting it down or typing it on a phone can help you avoid over-buying. We've all done it (it's an honest mistake!) but those duplicates add up those dollars. 

Knowing what you have will also help you reduce waste and even help you work out a meal plan for the week.  

Creating meal plans is one great strategy that can help you to save money, giving you a much clearer idea of what you need to feed yourself and your loved ones.

Another great alternative could be considering easy meal deliveries, which reduce the necessity of impulse buys and ensure fresher ingredients, thereby minimizing waste and saving time. Not to mention the time saved just planning or researching those recipes!

Make a List and Stick with It 

Once you have your inventory list and meal plan, it'll be much easier to make your shopping list. Make a clear, easy-to-read list of all of the items you need, including quantities. You can go the old-fashioned pen and paper way or you can simply jot the list on your smartphones. 

If you are making multiple stops to different stores, note the store names as well! Go the extra step and plan your route – save yourself a little time and even money from the fuel you might need alone.

Now that you have your list, be persistent and stick it! I know curbing impulse buying can be a struggle sometimes (especially with those cravings) but there are plenty of ways to break the habit. For example, I know it's tempting but avoid the free sample aisle. It might be free but if it causes you to add more than you came for, it's not really free at all.

Shop at Sustainable Grocery Stores and Farmers' Markets 

While sustainable, local, eco-friendly and organic foods might appear a bit on the costly side at first, you actually can save money in the long run. It's worthwhile to consider that locally grown, organic produce often has great nutritional value. 

Yes, farmers' markets have a reputation to be on the pricier side but your farmers' markets probably have better deals than you might imagine. The key to shopping sustainably is not about finding the cheapest bargains, but rather finding fresh, whole foods.

Check for Discounts/On Sale Items 

Many of us are suckers for discounts and coupons. An app that I use that is helpful is called Flipp. Flipp is a one-stop marketplace for savings and deals. It uses your location to find deals from stores near you, so you're always getting relevant and dependable information. 

And if you aren't too picky about your produce, buying unwanted food (those that aren't 100% perfect or fresh but completely edible) can be really key to saving money and waste for grocery stores as.

Additionally, consider buying in bulk, whenever possible. In most cases, buying in bulk is way cheaper than buying individuals items. Before investing in it, ensure that you're able to finish the product(s) within the expiration time. If not, you can always share with your friends or family to divide and conquer. 

Shop the Perimeter of the Store 

This is something that I learned recently... the perimeters of the store offer fresh and healthier foods compared to the middle aisles. You can usually find fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, lean meat, eggs and low-fat milk products on the perimeters. Go to the middle section to find the pop, candy and chips products. 

*Disclaimer: there are some middle aisles where other nutritious staples such as whole grains, beans, nuts and granola are sold. 

Don't Shop Hungry 

When you shop on an empty stomach, you'll likely end up shopping for what you're craving or looks good over what you actually need! To avoid those temptations to make impulsive decisions and purchase unhealthy foods you don't need, eat before you leave the house or make sure you've had enough to last you your shopping trips.

Buy in Season Products 

Purchasing seasonal produce is typically less expensive than buying it during its off-season. For example, watermelons in summer. This all relates to the simple concept of supply and demand; large supply of in-season produce, cheaper prices to maintain demand.

Not to mention that they also cost much less to produce for suppliers during these optimal times and have a lower impact on our planet!

Guides like those from Canadian Food Focus that show when produce is in season for Canada are super helpful for planning those out. Their list alone is not only comprehensive but also shows you which produce is best in each season of the year!

Look at Expiration Dates 

When looking you aren't going to use it right away or finish it quick enough, make sure to be picky about those expiration dates! Find the one with the latest expiry date if you know that you're not going to use it yet.

Doing this gives you good chance of having ample time to eat it all and prevent food waste. Nothing hurts more than throwing out expired, inedible food after spending so much money.

But if you do happen to come across something that is almost expired at home and you're certain you cannot use it on time or just find something you don't think you'll eat, consider helping out your local food shelters and donating them instead. 

Bring Reusable Bags 

Another major way to be cost-effective is to remember to bring your reusable shopping bags! Bringing those bags can help you avoid the charges for paper bags or buying another reusable bag.

A trick that you can use to limit your spending is to carry just enough bags with you and you may be less tempted to add more items to your list or pick up more as you go.

A couple of produce bags, muslins bags, net tote bag and maybe a large canvas tote bag such as a multi-pocket tote bag will suffice.

Not sure which produce bag to get? Check out our previous blog on How to Choose Between Grocery Bags 

Shop yours today: 


Sign Up for Loyalty Reward Programs 

Depending on your location, several grocery store chains that include reward programs for shopping at their stores. This includes cash-back credit cards or a point system for free products. For example, Starbucks with their reward program, Metro with Airmiles and Fortinos with PC Optimum. 

Those points do add up and can help reduce that total when you checkout!

Let's Go Zero Waste Shopping

There you have it! If you follow these tips and tricks, you'll be able to reduce your grocery bills while maintaining a good, healthy list of food planned and ready. So don't forget those reusable bags, let's get zero waste shopping!

Want even more tips? Check out this Guide to Saving the Environment While Saving Your Wallet.



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