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Ask the Readers: Saving money on groceries in Canada?

Jessica emailed and asked:

I live in eastern Canada and I love reading your site, but I find a lot of it is based on American stores…so I’m just wondering if you know of other sites that may include Canadian ideas for stores here?

I know we have at least a handful of Canadian readers here so I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions for Jessica. Are there any websites out there on grocery savings for Canadians? What are your best tips for saving money on groceries in Canada?

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  • Darby Jane says:

    I am from the Toronto area…and my parents live in Alberta now, I have lots of suggestions for things in those areas, but Canada is not nearly as ‘country-wide’ as the US is, so I don’t know much about the eastern provinces (never been east of QC, but would love to!). Do you have a Superstore there? Or are you near a big city/town with any manufacturing plants? We used to get diapers (brand name Huggies) straight from the plant that were mis-folded. I think it was about 500 diapers for ten dollars!! We also used to get lots of food from Jonvince Foods (suppliers to the Bulk Barn and various farmers markets). It was large qty’s but very good deals. I would suggest checking out your area for anything like that. I think being in the very central/popular Toronto helped that situation with lots of availability and options etc. We also canned almost everything, there were farms that would let us have their ‘seconds’ for next to nothing. My mom has noticed much fewer choices for bulk and great savings in Northern Alberta.

  • Lis says:

    Jessica, I feel your pain! I can’t believe all these deals Americans get. In Canada…well, we mostly shop at Superstore. The prices are reasonable, and they very often have a coupon for the week. You have to spend the quota, then can get a freebie or $30 off groceries, whatever the coupon’s for. We also get some things (like large amounts of peanut butter or oatmeal) at Save-On. Those item’s are cheaper then Superstore. I think shopping in Canada takes a bit of creativity. Like buying berries from the farm, ideally the “jammers” if you’re just going to mash them anyway. And getting the generic brand.
    Personally, I think it’s just plain and simple alot more expensive to live in Canada. A large block of cheese costs at least $22 and won’t get any cheaper. At least I never saw that it did. I know Cystal would have panic attacks all day if she knew Canadian prices!

  • As a fellow Canadian, I feel your pain! I live in the Vancouver, BC area, and I also find that groceries are very expensive!

    My aim is to buy as many of our groceries natural/organic as possible, and we also eat a lot of fresh produce. I find coupon shopping doesn’t really work well in Canada, and for me, there just aren’t many coupon items that I’m interested in anyways.

    Here’s what I do:
    -Buy certain items in bulk or in flats at Costco
    -Do all of my produce shopping at a local market, with lots of local food (much of it is unsprayed, and it’s much cheaper prices than any supermarket, plus nicer quality!)
    -Buy my basics at Superstore, which is the cheapest place I know of. I get my organic milk, free range eggs, fish, some cheese, some grains and baking supplies, toilet paper, etc.) They also have good discount racks, for bakery items, produce and marked down dairy (as well as meat, but I don’t buy mine there)
    -Buy my meat from a small, local meat shop in the country near where I live. It’s not certified organic, but the quality is excellent and the prices comparable to Costco

    I use a combination of bulk shopping, stocking up my freezer and pantry with deals, using seasonal produce, buying items when they go on discount, and making everything from scratch. Doing this, I am able to spend under $400 on all food, toiletries and cleaning products for my young family of 4.

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