BUYING GROCERIES ON A BUDGET
Some things to keep in mind when buying groceries are the amount of single-use plastics are involved in the packaging, and the price of course. For both of these reasons, I encourage you to begin your grocery shops at the farmers market with your own reusable fabric bags to ensure you are buying affordably, ethically and sustain-ably. Be sure to pick up your remaining items at the essential box stores like Superstore.
Local Farmers Market Information
200 block of St Paul St.
and the Stuart Wood schoolyard
Saturday Hours: 8:30-12:30
April 18th to October 31st, 2020
400 block of Victoria St.
(in front of the TNRD Library)
Wednesday Hours: 8:00-2:00
May 6th to October 28th, 2020
Wednesday Indoor Market
159 Seymour St.
(St Andrews on the Square)
Wednesday Hours: 10:00-2:00
November 4th to December 16th, 2020
Buying groceries in Kamloops can be a fun, creative way to engage with locals within the city and contribute to the local economy. In the springtime, you can find local farmers markets popping up across the city with locally grown produce at a very affordable price. Some favourites include delicious garlic, onions, and peppers. While the Kamloops Regional Farmer's Market is the most active, keep a keen eye out for other farmers markets such as the Westsyde Farmers Market that has a community working passionately to keep it alive.
Another resource for affordable groceries, is the existence of loyalty programs. While some may be linked to credit cards, others are free to sign up & use. These loyalty programs are efficient in ensuring that you keep returning to your one grocer company in order to accumulate as many points as you possibly can. In turn, you can spend these points on free & affordable groceries! Each loyalty program accompanies an app, making it very easy for you to reduce your plastic “loyalty card” consumption and maintain all of your loyalty program cards in one place - your phone. Some examples of free loyalty programs are Canadian Tire, PC Optimum and More Rewards. Beyond grocery/department stores, you can find free loyalty programs at other specialty stores you may already shop at such as Sephora, Starbucks, DAVIDsTEA, Boston Pizza, Milestones, TJX, and Art Knapp.
10,000 points = $10
PC Optimum has been a personal favourite for life. This is probably due to the fact that I worked at Superstore as a cashier for a few years in my teenagerhood.
For the free PC Optimum program, points are given to you at a basis of 1 point per $1 spent. You can also earn points by buying special offered items (via their app or email), by bringing fabric bags (5 points per bag!), and by buying gas.
Superstore - among other larger grocery stores, are resorting to online ordering & delivery, or in-store pickup. Using Superstore’s “Click & Collect” program as an example, you can use this website to create a grocery order. While some costs - such as bulk produce are estimated online, this can be a very useful tool to prioritize your spending & stay within your budget on a regular basis. Most of the time, grocery store staff will call you if they do not have a product you ordered, they will offer a replacement, and they will let you know of your total bill prior to arrival.
Something to note if you are using the Superstore Click & Collect program, like other online ordering programs, there will be a cost at pick-up. Depending on the popularity of your selected pick-up time-slot, the cost is usually $3-5 for pickup. If this is not a cost that is possible within your budget (very understandable), this can still be a helpful tool to see an estimate of what your grocery bill will be prior to shopping so that you will have a firm idea of what you need to buy.
Use coupon code FREEMONTH for your first month of free pick-ups!
Photo by CFJC
The Dollar Store can be an affordable resource for many things while shopping. I personally create a grocery list I will research the larger items online to try to find the best price, and I will identify any items that I may be able to source from The Dollar Store. Small household items, cooking/baking supplies, party supplies, art supplies, holiday decorations, lighters, incense, lanyards, office supplies, storage supplies, junk food, cleaning supplies and the list goes on. Be contious of the quality of the items you buy from this store because, well, it is $1.00. Ensure that the item you are buying is exactly what you want, will last as long as you need (for the value of one dollar) and is in working condition. The dollar store is a great resource for when you are in a pinch at the end of the month & need to keep your spending to a minimum.
The Dollar Store
When purchasing the basics for your household, one will often find themselves at a box store such as Walmart, Save-On, or Superstore. Each location releases fliers for their weekly grocery sales, which you can find & keep track of using this amazing online app Flipp. Using this app, you can reduce your paper consumption, your grocery costs, and search up specific items you are seeking for the best price in town.
Flashfood is a very new program within Kamloops that works to keep near-expiry food from landfills. Using this app, you can log-in daily to see what items are on a markdown in stores. Easily reserve the item you want & pick up during your regular grocery shop. This is a great way to try new foods at a very low cost, and preserve our planet at the same time.
Having discussed many box grocery stores, one must mention Costco as a family-friendly and affordable icon. There is a cost associated with membership & access to the warehouse, but Costco is the store to go to when you need to buy in larger denominations.
Don't forget to bring your reusable bags! Canada is transitioning into a ban on single-use plastics and this starts with you!
Be sure to clean these bags on a regular basis to ensure you are not storing your groceries in a bag of bacteria. You can use the laundry machine or bathtub for bulkier bags.