how to save money on food in canada

Save Money on Groceries Without Using Coupons

Not ready to use coupons to save money?  Check out these12 ways to save money on groceries without using coupons in Canada!

reduce grocery bill canada

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  Please read my affiliate disclosure here.

I never used coupons until I was in my late twenties and discovered extreme couponing.  Like never.  It simply never occurred to me how valuable they were and frankly I didn’t even really notice them anywhere.

Now there are all sorts of reasons why someone does not want to or cannot use coupons and that’s totally okay, because there are lots of ways to save money without them!

Keep reading to learn12 ways that Canadians can save money on food without using coupons.

Meal Plan

Why You Should Meal Plan

This is 100% the best way to save money on groceries.  Taking the time to sit down and make a plan on what you actually need, will keep you from spending money on unnecessary extras and from impulse ordering in or dining out when you are too tired to think about food prep.

I have to admit, meal planning is one area that I struggle with.  Mostly because my kids are young and going through a picky phase, but also because I’m lazy.  Nevertheless, I make an effort to plan out meals for my husband and I each week to simplify our lives.

Shop Sales

Grocery Sales Canada

When I begin my meal planning process, I start by looking at the weekly flyer inserts to see what’s on sale.  While the paper inserts are a nice way to see deals clearly, I go through the Flipp App to find the best deals.

Shopping sales is  a great way to save without much work.  All you have to do is show up at the store and buy what you want to buy from their sales!

Don’t forget that if something is out of stock, many stores give rain checks.  Most rain checks are valid for about 30 days, which ensures you don’t miss out on a deal!

Price Match

Price Guarantee

Have you tried price matching yet?  I price match all the time, simply because it saves me so much time and helps me avoid making a bunch of trips to various places.

As I mentioned above, I love using the Flipp app to find flyer deals each week.  This app lets you pull up individual store flyers and then tap on the items that you want to buy.  It then saves the items in a shopping list for quick reference at shopping time.

This is an incredibly handy feature when it comes to price matching!  When it’s time to pay, simply load the app, open your shopping list and show the cashier the price you’d like to match.  Seriously, so easy!

Of course taking paper flyers into the store is an other option.  Before Flipp came to be, I would circle the items I wanted to price match in the weekly ads and lug a big stack of paper into the store with me.  While this can still certainly be done, the Flipp makes it much easier to stay organized and not be weighed down.

Grocery Stores that Price Match in Canada include:

Fresh Co
Giant Tiger
No Frills
Real Canadian Superstore

Stick to Your List

why you should use a grocery list

Once you’ve planned your meals and snacks for the week based on the weekly sales, make yourself a shopping list and stick to it!

This is where some discipline may need to come into play.  As you walk along the brightly lite aisles, looking at all the delicious food, a box of cookies may start calling your name.  If it’s not on the list, do your best to avoid it!

Shop Online

Can you use coupons with cash back apps in Canada?

One of the easiest ways to stick to your list is by doing your grocery shopping online.  Currently, Amazon, Costco, Metro, Walmart, Longos and most Loblaws banner stores offer online grocery shopping, with the option of home delivery or store pickup.

While some of these programs do have fees for the delivery or pickup, if impulse shopping is your kryptonite, the fees may be less than the in store temptations.

Alternatively, PC Express offers a PC Insiders membership.  It’s $129 for the year, but amongst its great benefits, members get free grocery pickup.  I’ve already paid for membership several times over just in the amount I’ve saved on grocery pick up fees. (Use code EF1438 to save 25% off your annual PC Insiders membership).

Alternatively, Instacart is an option for home delivery, just be wary that the prices they post do not match the prices in store and often are actually higher.  The app also has a habit of using tips as part of its drivers’ payment, so it’s best to put in 22 cents as the tip amount and then change it (or tip in cash) once the delivery is complete.

Participate in Loyalty Programs

Best Canadian Loyalty Programs

When a store offers me a loyalty card, I always say yes!  Store loyalty programs are a great way to get free and discounted stuff – even food!

The PC Optimum program is by far the best rewards program in Canada right now.  Members get 15 points (15 cents) for every $1 spent a Shoppers Drugmart, and then curated point offers based on their shopping trends at all Loblaws banner stores.  The points accumulated can be redeemed for money off their purchases at Loblaws banner stores and Esso gas stations.

If you’re like me and shop Loblaws banner stores a lot and frequently shop in certain categories, a PC Insiders membership will likely be a good option.

For a monthly fee or a $129 annual fee (save 25% with promo code: EF1438 ) Insiders get the following benefits:

Extra Points on:

10% back on PC products
10% back on Joe Fresh products
5% back on PC Travel
Free grocery pickup/no fees and priority time slots
Free shipping at Joe Fresh (no min)
Free shipping at Shoppers Drugmart (no min)

Since I buy a lot of PC products, use the grocery pickup at least once a week, have a family who wears a lot of Joe Fresh clearance deals, and shop online, the Insider membership has paid for itself several times over already.

Sobeys and Metro also offer Airmiles on their purchases and Longos has its own loyalty program called Thank You Rewards.

Buy Clearance

flash food promo code

As you’re walking through your favourite grocery store, be sure to be on the lookout for clearance deals.  More often than not, food items on clearance are approaching their expiration date, so stores want to clear them out instead of throwing them out.  If the product will be consumed before its best before date, then this can be a great way to save.

If you don’t want to take the time to wonder through a store, download the Flash Food app.  This app is for select Loblaws banner stores and offers great clearance savings at the tap of a screen!  Each day, individual stores upload the food items they have on clearance and offer them at deep discounts.  You can view and purchase the offers on the app, and then simply go to the store to pick up.  This is a great way to grab the items you want at a great discount!  Click here to save $5 after you make your first purchase of 50 cents or more!

Of course, expiring soon products aren’t the only reason for grocery items to be marked clearance.  It is also possible that there was an ordering error, which caused the store to end up with way to much product; or the product simply doesn’t sell as well as anticipated and they want to move it out for fresh stock.  Likewise, items may be discounted because the manufacturer has changed the packaging and want to get their new designs on the shelf asap (this happens often with Pampers and Huggies).

Buy in Bulk

why should I buy in bulk

Do you have a Costco nearby?  Their whole premise is that by buying in bulk, customers save money.  Of course, this also works in regular grocery stores too.

As you watch for sales, consider stocking on up family favourite pantry items.  These typically have a longer shelf life and if you can find something at a great price, it doesn’t hurt to stock up!

Get Cashback

best cash back programs canada

The majority of grocery stores release their new flyers on Thursdays.  Conveniently, both Caddle and Checkout 51 also release their cashback deals at midnight on Thursdays too!

After you look at the flyers for the week on Flipp and clip the best deals for the stuff you need to buy, open your Caddle and Checkout 51 apps.  Each of these apps will list various products that are offering cashback when purchased.  To redeem the offers, simply buy the listed products within the time frame and then using the apps’ cameras, upload the receipts.  Once your balance in either app reaches $20, you can request a payment.

It’s a great way to use coupons, without actually using coupons at checkout!

Upload Receipts

Hold onto all your shopping receipts and then upload them into Swagbucks Answer App, Coinout and Receipt Hog to earn even more!  A single receipt can be entered into all 3 programs (and Checkout 51 and Caddle if eligible), letting you triple dip!

These apps are super easy to use, but do take a while to build up credit.  Swagbucks and Coinout have other ways to earn, which is a nice way to cash out quicker, but nevertheless, every little bit counts!

Pay with Gift Cards

Fast and Easy Mothers Day Gifts

Saving money by using gift cards is really something that took me longer to think of than I’d care to admit!  There’s a couple of ways to save money on groceries by using gift cards:

Earn Gift Cards

If you have a bit of time to spare, completing surveys and offers at get-paid-to sites is a great way to get gift cards for your efforts!  Many sites pay out in Amazon gift cards (they have a whole shopping section) and by Pay Pal deposit (which you can transfer to your bank account or use to buy discount gift cards).

Check out my monthly extra cash reports to see which programs are paying out, but my top recommendations are:

TreasureTrooper (pays USD into Pay Pal and have a Visa gift card option)

Buy Discount Gift Cards

This is something I do most frequently.  Sites like Swagbucks, Ebates and Cardswap offer points or cashback on gift card purchases for various stores including Loblaws Banner stores, Sobeys, Metro and Longos.

UGO Wallet also often has great promotions on gift cards, giving bonuses for purchasing them through the app!

Alternatively, buy gift cards with your rewards credit card to earn rewards and get immediate discounts!

Use Rewards Credit Card

best rewards credit card canada

This approach does require some discipline to avoid racking up debt and having to pay interest fees.  If you have a rewards credit card, use it for every single purchase.

I absolutely love the Scotiabank Infinite Momentum Visa.  Amongst its many great bonuses, this card offers 4% cashback at grocery stores and gas stations.  I always use it to pay for groceries to automatically save 4% of my bill total!

Since so many grocery stores and gas stations sell gift cards, paying with your Scotia Infinite Momentum Visa will give you an automatic 4% savings on the gift card!

It’s a definitely a great way to pay!

Now if you want to save even more, combine all these different strategies and start using coupons when you’re ready!  Not sure how to use coupons?  Click here to check out this handy guide that will walk you through couponing in Canada!

How do you save money on food in Canada?  Share your favourite strategies in the comments!




30 thoughts on “Save Money on Groceries Without Using Coupons

  1. These are all really excellent tips, thanks for sharing! It’s great to have a Canadian perspective! I do most of these but can’t seem to bring myself to meal plan. I will have to give it a go.

    1. I’m terrible for meal planning too. Definitely the biggest area I need to improve on. Thanks for sharing and good luck 🙂

  2. These are great tips. Meal planning has saved us thousands of dollars! If we don’t have a plan, we just buy whatever, and often it’s crap. And 100% of the time the cart is full of junk we don’t need for any recipes.

    Let’s buy tuna fish because someone likes tuna!
    What are we making with it? Well shoot. I don’t know.

    Rinse and repeat! Meal planning is a must!

    1. Thank you! You are so on point! It’s amazing that meal planning has saved you so much! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. My two biggest problem areas are meal planning (because my wife never knows what she wants for dinner until 30 minutes beforehand) and not sticking to the list. I usually grocery shop right after the gym (same parking lot) and buy the dumbest things when I am hungry.

    1. I’m terrible for meal planning too. I think it’s because I hate cooking so much, so I procrastinate and hope food will magically appear lol! Shopping after a workout would be bad news for me too – I’d definitely be hungrier and thinking “I deserve this.” Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. These are all great tips! I have used quite a few of them throughout the years. I don’t coupon often, but I do shop at the less expensive stores like Aldi. I recently spent $128 on 12 freezer meals, odds and ends, breakfasts, lunches and snacks! Holy savings!

  5. Awesome strategies to save money to buy groceries without coupons. I usually always buy the same things and know the price of most products so I just buy a few extra ones when they are on sale so I can wait out for the next sale.

  6. I always end up buying more than the things which are in my buying list. And I really need to work on my finance. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips.

    1. You’re most welcome! I still have a bad habit of veering off my list, but online shopping has definitely helped!

  7. I know a lot of people who does price matching and they said that sometimes it is really up to the cashier. I really want to do that with Walmart. Fingers crossed, i will be able to have the courage to do so.

    1. It can definitely be nerve racking to price match for the first time, and how smoothly it goes is usually pretty dependent on the cashier. Walmart is *typically* pretty easy going when it comes to price matching. It helps to go at a less busy time if you’re nervous, so you don’t feel added pressure from people behind you. You can do it! Good luck!

  8. I’ve found that ordering groceries online actually saves me money! I’m less tempted by random items that I run across and checkout lane temptations.

  9. Wow, I had no idea about all these apps! Thank you for giving such a great round-up – I will definitely be checking them out.

  10. Great, solid tips for saving money on groceries! Grocery bills are often extraordinarily high for families – these tips will help lower them and make them more reasonable.

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