Which Grocery Store Has The Lowest Prices?

The grocery store with the lowest price

Who doesn’t like to eat good food? Let’s face it: we all do!

Now, what I don’t like is spending a fortune on food.

If you keep a budget, you may notice that food is one of your biggest expenses. Whether you're taking care of yourself or a family of twelve, rising food price affects your finances.

Bonus: Download our Grocery Store Price Comparison Spreadsheet to easily compare prices at your local grocery stores.

So, with all the competition between grocery chains, which is the best one to shop at for the lowest prices?

The front pages of the weekly flyers have deals to entice you to visit the store, but what about the additional items that you need to complete your list?

Do you also need staples such as rice, flour, and coffee that perhaps didn’t make the list of sales this week? Those may be priced higher, but until teleportation becomes common, we can’t get the lowest price all the time.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Stacking Coupons And Deals On Groceries

Grocery store price comparison

Here's a chart to help you see the difference between 4 of the biggest grocery stores in Canada. There are 2 charts depending on if you prefer to shop in pounds or kilograms.

Note: Any item with an asterisk (*) next to it is priced per unit, not by weight.

Price per pound

Product No frills Walmart Loblaws Sobeys
Ground beef (lean) $4.00 $5.34 $6.29 $5.79
Pork tenderloin $5.99 $5.03 $7.49 $5.99
Chicken breast (boneless, skinless) $9.32 $5.87 $10.49 $6.99
ham (Smoked) $6.40 $5.27 $7.12 $5.13
Bacon (Maple Leaf) $8.43 $7.22 $7.25 $8.44
Salmon $27.12 $13.90 $18.02 $10.99
Tuna (Clove Leaf chunk light, skip jack in water) $4.19 $3.92 $6.11 $10.66
2% milk $0.84 $0.82 $0.81 $0.82
butter (salted) $4.27 $3.97 $4.39 $7.48
cheddar cheese (mild) $5.82 $5.92 $5.03 $7.53
Eggs (white, large)* $0.27 $0.48 $0.30 $0.30
bread (white) $2.36 $4.01 $2.78 $2.27
rice (5 Minute Rice, premium long grade) $2.19 $2.19 $1.94 $2.59
Catelli spaghetti $1.80 $1.51 $2.01 $2.27
Robin Hood all purpose flour $1.08 $0.81 $0.91 $1.09
apples (honeycrisp) $2.97 $2.97 $3.99 $3.99
oranges $1.77 $1.77 $1.79 $2.49
bananas $0.87 $0.87 $0.89 $0.89
Minute Maid orange juice $0.85 $0.51 $0.77 $1.13
tomatoes (beefsteak) $2.27 $1.68 $2.29 $4.99
lettuce (iceberg)* $2.97 $2.97 $4.49 $3.99
Green Giant mixed frozen vegetables $1.98 $1.80 $1.81 $2.13
Carrots (Farmer's market) $0.82 $0.30 $0.83 $1.00
sugar (granulated) $0.62 $0.45 $0.68 $0.64
extra virgin olive oil (Gallo) $4.39 $4.07 $4.53 $4.54
coffee (Nescafe Rich Columbian instant) $22.54 $22.54 $33.97 $33.97
Tea (Tetley orange pekoe)* $0.07 $0.07 $0.06 $0.07
vinegar (heinz, white) $0.47 $0.45 $0.51 $0.50
Heinz ketchup $1.80 $1.50 $1.81 $2.09
Peanut butter (Kraft, smooth) $2.04 $2.12 $2.61 $3.63
Average price $4.35 $3.68 $4.73 $4.81

Price per kilogram

Product No Frills Walmart Loblaws Sobeys
Ground beef (lean) $8.81 $11.76 $13.87 $12.76
Pork tenderloin $13.21 $11.10 $16.51 $13.21
Chicken breast (boneless, skinless) $20.55 $12.94 $23.13 $15.41
ham (Smoked) $14.12 $11.62 $15.70 $11.30
Bacon (Maple Leaf) $18.59 $15.92 $15.97 $18.60
Salmon $59.80 $30.65 $39.73 $24.23
Tuna (Clove Leaf chunk light, skip jack in water) $9.24 $8.65 $13.47 $23.50
2% milk $1.85 $1.80 $1.80 $1.80
butter (salted) $9.41 $8.74 $9.67 $16.50
cheddar cheese (mild) $12.82 $13.04 $11.09 $16.60
Eggs (white, large)* $0.27 $0.48 $0.30 $0.30
bread (white) $5.21 $8.84 $6.12 $5.00
rice (5 Minute Rice, premium long grade) $4.84 $4.84 $4.28 $5.70
Catelli spaghetti $3.97 $3.34 $4.43 $5.00
Robin Hood all purpose flour $2.39 $1.79 $2.00 $2.40
apples (honeycrisp) $6.55 $6.55 $8.80 $8.80
oranges $3.90 $3.90 $3.95 $5.49
bananas $1.92 $1.92 $1.96 $1.96
Minute Maid orange juice $1.87 $1.13 $1.71 $2.50
tomatoes (beefsteak) $5.00 $3.70 $5.05 $11.00
lettuce (iceberg)* $2.97 $2.97 $4.49 $3.99
Green Giant mixed frozen vegetables $4.36 $3.96 $3.99 $4.70
Carrots (Farmer's market) $1.81 $0.66 $1.83 $2.20
sugar (granulated) $1.37 $0.99 $1.50 $1.40
extra virgin olive oil (Gallo) $9.67 $8.97 $9.99 $10.00
coffee (Nescafe Rich Columbian instant) $49.70 $49.70 $74.90 $74.90
Tea (Tetley orange pekoe)* $0.07 $0.07 $0.06 $0.07
vinegar (heinz, white) $1.04 $0.99 $1.12 $1.10
Heinz ketchup $3.97 $3.31 $3.99 $4.60
Peanut butter (Kraft, smooth) $4.49 $4.67 $5.75 $8.00
Average price $9.46 $7.97 $10.24 $10.43

Which store is cheapest?

You can see from the average price per item in the table above, Walmart ended up being the lowest average price of the bunch on this basket of goods – but only by a couple dollars.

It's also pretty obvious by looking at the data that no store has the best price on everything all the time. There's quite a range of prices, high and low, across all the stores. Even Walmart had the highest cost on some items, like bread.

Ultimately, it seems like choosing whichever store is most convenient for you or that's having the best sales is probably the way to go. You also have to consider extra perks the store offers, like price matching or a rewards program like PC Optimum.

Some notes about price matching

Here's some additional notes about the price matching policies in each store.

Sobeys (AKA FreshCo in Ontario)

Sobeys doesn't price match, but its subsidiary in Ontario, FreshCo, has a "cheaper guaranteed" system.

If you bring in the competition's flyer or your receipt, they'll reduce the price by $0.01 per item. So if you price match 10 items on your grocery list, you'll save a whole dime compared to another store.

Our local store will only give you a cheaper price on 2 of the same item. If you intend to purchase more, only the first 2 are eligible for price matching and the others are rung in at the current FreshCo price. Here's some more info.

Personally, I've saved more money by checking the carts in the parking lot for change...

If FreshCo is farther than your alternate grocery store, gas money alone will probably eat up any savings from their cheaper guarantee.

No Frills

They'll price match up to 4 of the same item. Read more here.


Our local store will price match up to a limit of 6. PC points are also available here and rain checks are issued for 30 days with a limit of two items.


The popular meats are commonly packaged as five pieces for $10 with varying weights in kilograms, making it difficult to comparison shop.

They do price match, but the rare occasion years ago that I tried, finding an employee to do it was like looking for someone in the witness protection program. It took much too long, even after I had found someone willing to do it.

Asking at the customer service desk (only the second longest lineup in the store) for a rain check was almost as much fun as a trip to the dentist. There were so many conditions on issuing rain checks that I didn’t get one and haven’t tried since.

As one example, I was told that if the word "Rollback" was on any item on the page, they would not issue a rain check for any item on that entire page and even the opposite page, even if the item I wanted the rain check for was not at a rollback price. Every rain check was subject to manager approval. More information can be found here.

Is changing grocery stores worth it?

Keep in mind that stores further away will cost you more time and gas money. Busier stores will make you spend more time in line as well.

Sometimes, the cost of saving a few pennies is not worth waiting a half hour in the snaking "express" line at your local discount store.

According to my pricing experiment, most of the prices for common groceries are similar among the stores. Many stores have secret shoppers they send around to keep watch on local competitor pricing.

To take advantage of more substantial savings, use things like:

Another useful tactic is to stay away from the stores with the sale and price match elsewhere. You have a better chance of finding stock, without having to wait for rain checks or find employees.

What about you?

For right now, here are some questions for you:

  • Do you compare prices?
  • If you don’t, what’s holding you back?

Leave a comment right here – the more detail the better.

And, if you know someone else who will benefit from this, please pass it on!

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Editorial Disclaimer: The content here reflects the author's opinion alone, and is not endorsed or sponsored by a bank, credit card issuer, rewards program or other entity.

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paul's picture

I used to shop at Walmart but in the last year the majority of my grocery shopping has been at the Real Canadian Superstore. They price match and provide PC Plus points once you redeem the points in 20,000 increments the overall cost is less than Walmart. The produce section is by far more superior than Walmart.

December 29, 2015 @ 6:40 pm
Marilyn*'s picture

I completely agree! Shopping at RCSS gives 3% back on their World Elite MC, whereas I can only get 2% back with the MNBA Smart Cash MC or Tangerine MC. The personalized points offers make it my best option too, but it's much harder to include the value in the calculations when the deals vary from week to week and depend on your family's grocery list.

I rarely buy produce at Walmart, but when produce is in season, I am sometimes pleasantly surprised at the selection at 9 AM. Normally, I do shop elsewhere because I need more variety than they provide but, unfortunately, the Walmart nearby will price match a larger area than RCSS.

December 30, 2015 @ 3:50 pm
Susan Fox's picture

Thant's great to hear, " 3% back on their World Elite MC" cause I use MBNA for everything. Perhaps I should get their World Elite MC too! Times have changed though - RCS does NOT honor the discounts anymore - they've cut back severely & now push through a points card, having to earn many many points before you see a comeback!

January 06, 2017 @ 2:25 am
ChrisCA's picture

Agreed! Real Canadian Superstore is awesome especially with their rewards and price matching.

I always save all my items on my alerts using Salewhale.ca

this way I have all my groceries in check when price matching at the cash!

February 22, 2016 @ 1:12 pm
Ken S
Ken S's picture

I'd love to see an article about how to buy the lowest priced ethically raised meats and local produce. Currently I'm forced to shop from more expensive stores because I don't want my meat and veggies to be carted across the continent (or the world!) just so I can have dinner and save a few bucks. Part of that is eatling in-season, but even in-season produce is often sourced from US, Central American, or overseas suppliers because it's cheaper than buying in Canada.

What grocery stores offer the cheapest, local and ethically sourced foods?

December 29, 2015 @ 7:37 pm
Marilyn*'s picture

Ken, thanks for the suggestion! Lowest priced ethically raised meats and local produce vary from region to region, but I would get to know your local farmers. I was born and raised in a small town so I grew up on a first name basis with some of the growers of my food. The prices are sometimes similar, depending on the growing conditions that year, but my produce has no waxy coating to lock in their original freshness, and I'm allowed to taste before I buy.

Sometimes, I have to admit that my eyes are bigger than my stomach and I can pack a refrigerator full with just one product!

I would suggest visiting your local farmer's market and talking to some of the sellers. They can tell you if their farm has hours for purchasing directly. If that's not an option, you can also visit your favourite grocery stores and just look for your province on the price tag. Usually, if it's grown in your province, grocery stores will have sourced it locally, because they, like you, love to save money as well.

December 30, 2015 @ 3:59 pm
Emily's picture

For meats, I use nutrafarms http://nutrafarms.ca/ Our family of 5 have a deep freezer in the basement. It's as local as possible, good quality and I like that they AREN'T filled with so much water that the meat shrinks when cooked. You can also try one of these:
And freshcity farms

The problem with going to farms directly yourself is trying to get the full variety of groceries. Going to farming co-ops and small businesses that operate locally, is typically cheaper than buying organic locally produced.

July 18, 2016 @ 3:00 pm
Lauren's picture

I love Nutrafarm but now that I am a household of 1 they have no small options for small households.
As soon as they change that I will be back to ordering my meat from them! :)

September 13, 2017 @ 5:52 pm
Frugal Guy with Balance
Frugal Guy with Balance's picture

I shop the flyers

1. The 4 stores are not far apart.

2. Buy fresh meat just before expiry date save an extra 25%

3. Stick to my shopping list.

4. I own a foods saver by meat etc on sale then freeze, I save like a bandit.

5. Watch prices at checkout I find errors then get the item Free (Makes my Day)

I work damn hard for my money so I make sure I get value for every nickel I spend.

December 29, 2015 @ 8:00 pm
Jill's picture

Further to the point made by Ken S, I too like to buy ethically produced, local and organic meat and produce. I also like to shop at stores where employees are treated well. For that reason you won't find me shopping at Walmart or stores with similar employment practices. I do shop at Costco (progressive employment practices) and use the savings there to offset some of the added expense of buying local organic produce. It may seem crazy to spend $5 on a small bag of organic greens but they are soooo good, and there are clear benefits for one's own health and the environment. Yes it costs more to shop this way, and I am lucky I can afford to do it; but I can afford it by saving money on all my other spending categories.

December 30, 2015 @ 9:11 am
Archie's picture

The question I would like answered is. Is Costco overall much cheaper than conventional grocery stores?
With the % payback I received a cheque for 198$, which more than paid for my family membership,but am I saving grocery money in the long run.
Costco does not have all my grocery needs therfore do shop at the discounted stores. My wife likes some of the items at Longo's.
So many stores to choose from in my area.

December 30, 2015 @ 10:42 am
Marilyn*'s picture

Hi Archie,

I guess the answer is, it depends. It's not a definitive answer, but defining whether or not Costco is "cheaper" has many different factors. You do have to pay the membership fee and the lineups at my local Costco is insane. We're getting a second Costco, but I've often heard of customers parking in the lot of neighbouring businesses because it is just that packed! The quality is better for certain items, but since they don't price match and their selection changes depending on the costs and availability of their suppliers, it really depends on your family's shopping list.

We love some of the items at Longo's as well. They have a very friendly bakery section and they cater towards special needs diets!

December 30, 2015 @ 4:08 pm
su's picture

I shop for my higher quality produce at a small 'green grocer' but I shop almost exclusively at Real Canadian Superstore for the prices and diversity of products, I also hope it really is Canadian!
We are so concerned about prices- (to us) but what about the real cost of things?
I personally cannot ethically shop at Walmart. Food is 'cheap' but it is not local- too many GMO foods being transported by truck across North America in unnecessary packaging. Walmart and the 'cheap' way of thinking has undermined too many smaller grocers that can not compete.
I don't agree with their employment strategies, and I am pretty sure their environmental policies are also nil to non existent.
That being said, RCS also hires people for the minimum amount on a shift so they do not have to pay their employees benefits. I liked how RCS had no plastic bags available (grab a free box) but they have recently reinstated them. I also like the points program and the 30% off items.

December 31, 2015 @ 12:09 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

RCS is owned by Loblaws, which to my knowledge is a Canadian held company. I'm sure there are foreign investors, but it is based here and primarily owned and operated by Canadians. When we buy our groceries at a big store, that is usually where we shop as well.

Those are some good points you make about the "cheap mentality".

I've struggled with this myself many times and try to support local where I can (especially when buying food), but ultimately I've come to the conclusion that I need to do what is best for my family when it comes to my purchasing habits.

I keep being charitable and helping other mostly separate from that. It's much easier to see the difference you are making that way vs. hoping going out of my way to over-pay for something at a mom and pop shop will stop big corporations like Walmart from taking over and putting everyone else out of business. Honestly, my shopping habits alone aren't going to change that - only a global change in thinking can accomplish that.

The good news is I think the world is slowly changing its way of thinking and moving towards a more healthy and sustainable way of life.

December 31, 2015 @ 10:07 am
John's picture

One option that my wife and I use at our local Save On Foods store is their once monthly 15% off promotion. Save On Foods is not always the lowest price location, however, if you shop carefully, you can , at least for some items, double up on in store specials, in addition to the 15% off. It does help to reduce the food bill, and we still comparison shop at other times of the month. Our adult children never comparison shop for food, claiming they do not have time to do so, and they pay a high price for not doing so.

January 18, 2016 @ 1:55 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sometimes a more expensive store can be the lowest priced option when you factor in sales and stacking multiple promotions together. Great tip on these Save On Foods sales John.

February 23, 2016 @ 10:24 pm
Lili Mamo
Lili Mamo 's picture

Great comparison chart! But I would like to know about the store brands. Are they good? Cheaper? Is it worth it? I would love to see a comparison chart on all store brands, including Costco. Blessings!

August 20, 2016 @ 3:14 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Great idea Lili - not sure when I'll have a chance to do that but I'll add it to my list of article ideas. Thanks :)

September 05, 2016 @ 1:01 pm
Dima's picture

Costco kirkland signature products are great ,,, especially the diapers and paper products
Great value at walmart is not worth it
No name brand at nofrills is good sometimes, especially the disposable items and frozen vegetables
President's choice is great but not cheap, you find it at loblaw's and nofrills and superstore
That's my expirience,, I have 3 kids so I shop alot :)
My advice in short is: buy the store brand , if you like it keep it, if not you can always return it after trying for a full refund so you won't lose anything! It's the policy in almost any big retail shop

November 02, 2016 @ 12:12 pm
Jennifer G
Jennifer G's picture

I'm looking to switch from Superstore, as I've been told they don't feed the lobsters they sell. So the lobsters starve to death over several weeks. I've been a loyal Superstore customer until learning this. The other options in my area are more costly and less convenient, but at least they don't have a tank of starving crustaceans.

Love the tip about Save On. And I think I might have to get a food saver machine, too. Good tips :)

October 21, 2016 @ 9:36 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That is definitely sad about the lobsters - I think I heard that before too. I wonder what the other major chains do.

October 24, 2016 @ 1:10 pm
Dima's picture

There is a nofrills shop next to my house so i do most of my shopping there,, i signed up for their pcplus card (free)and earned 80$ In rewards within 16 months!
I have a membership at costco that costs me 125$ a year and every time I go there I spend at least 200$ ,,, the 2% cash back was 85$ within a year! Didn't even justify the membership fees for me,, not to mention the gas cost because it is far from my house,,
So between these two stores I say nofrills for sure
But to be honest, I find the local chineese supermarket to be really cheap and saves money,, they lack the attractive shopping expirience for sure, but they save you a fortune!

November 02, 2016 @ 12:07 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I avoided the Costco Executive Membership for many years because I didn't want to worry about having to spend a certain amount to justify the extra cost. I feel the regular Gold Star membership usually justifies itself. I did upgrade to executive this year because I had a few large furniture items I was purchasing from them as I moved into a new house. I will probably downgrade within a year.

You're right that some of the smaller less attractive stores can have better prices.  Unfortunately where I live we mostly only have big box stores or farmer's markets to deal with. Farmer's markets are often more expensive than the big box stores (especially if you consider sales, coupons, etc) but I still shop the markets as much as possible for the food quality and to support local.

November 07, 2016 @ 2:33 pm
Cidalia's picture

Well, there are no RCSS in my area. No Frills (and all Loblaws stores) are off my list after their ridiculous implementation of a coupon policy that interprets "one coupon per purchase" as one per transaction for a like product/coupon. This is their new store-wide policy, apparently. Additionally, I have been disappointed too many times in finding multiple sale items not in stock at several locations.

Freshco's price match policy is overly restrictive, only allowing 2 price matches per item. I don't want to clear the shelves, but at least let me get 4 of the same item. Additionally, they won't price match what they consider non grocery stores, including Walmart. If they don't consider Walmart a major competitor, they are sorely mistaken.

So far, Walmart has been the best option for finding decent prices and reasonable price matching allowances. My only recent concern is that I read a recent change to their coupon policy that stated that they will only accept one coupon on price matched items. So if you get 4 of the same cereals price matched and have 4 coupons for those, you can only use a coupon on one of them.

I find that couponing and price matching in Canada is generally ridiculously restrictive compared to our neighbours south of the border.

It might get to the point where I have to drive to 2 or 3 different stores.

November 10, 2016 @ 7:18 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes it is tough up here for sure and you have to pick your battles and decide what is worth your time. It's too bad that they are tightening it up to such an extreme.

November 14, 2016 @ 9:21 pm
Marie's picture

Every week Save on Foods guarantees the lowest price or it's free on 9 items in their flyer and on 850 other items throughout their store. If their price is the same as advertised in other flyers are they still the lowest price or because they are the same price is the item free? My understanding of the word "lowest" means the price has to be at least $0.01 lower, not equal to another advertised price somewhere else.

November 10, 2016 @ 10:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

If they are the same as the next lowest competitor then that wouldn't qualify because they are still tied for the lowest price.

November 14, 2016 @ 9:22 pm
Yaroslav's picture

My vote is with Walmart and here's why:

- Better open hours than most stores (YMMV based on your location) - all Ottawa Walmarts are open 16 hours a day 7:00-23:00
- It's also a big box store with discounted prices = I can do grocery shopping & household. Some locations even have a basic auto center
- Less finicky about price matching than traditional stores + employees often don't care
- Much better/looser return policy

I'd stay away from Costco as it's a rip-off with their membership fees, unless you have 4+ to feed.

May 11, 2017 @ 3:36 pm
Julie Lee
Julie Lee's picture

All of your "discount" stores are located very close to my home. For a 2 seniors household and since we try to live a healthier lifestyle, we also patronize organic produce and grass fed meats sources, but our main weekly shopping is done at RCS. Thrifty's and Choices and sometimes Pomme, my alternate grocery stores also offer great sales on in their weekly flyers which can be delivered to your computer. I also patronize T&T, a supermarket catering to our local ethnic needs.

Having said that, the use of varying credit cards adds to my savings. Generally, I use my MBNA credit card (with a regular Costco membership only) as I receive a 2% rebate on ALL purchases as Costco purchases do not qualify under other credit card restrictions. Since I do shop at RBC, I take advantage of the PC World Elite card and its 3% return as well. (Since a high percentage of the locals patronize another Loblaw's subsidiary, T & T Supermarket, I have questioned PC about the 3% loyalty points in using their PC Mastercard as their website's "fine print" states that the points are only awarded at outlets offering PC products such as their Shoppers Drugs. T & T does offer PC products and though they say that I do receive the 3% rebate, I cannot easily calculate and confirm that saving so I use the MBNA at T & T).

Using a variety of credit cards may be too confusing or inconvenient for different individuals but I find that it works for this household.

May 08, 2018 @ 3:21 pm
Sky's picture

I just don't like at all shopping at Walmart. They have eliminated so many jobs by not having enough cashiers, expecting you use the "self serve". Whatever you think you have saved, you pay it with time. Waiting long lines to be served by a human cashier is not fun at all. My time is too valued to waste it waiting on line

August 16, 2018 @ 12:29 pm
June's picture

We shop at the same No Frills store every week. I use flipp for a small selection of items bc I found after several weeks of price matching my whole list that No Frills was almost always cheaper. I try to never shop at walmart bc i think they are unethical in their employment practises. Costco has good employment practises but even for a family of five their sizes are ridiculously large and i have yet to find anything a better price per unit. I go with a friend once in a blue moon to buy crackers i like. We have pc points and we have saved a ton of money since we started with the pc bank way back in the beginning. Our grocery style is to stock up when things are on sale and decide what meat to buy at the store when we see what's on sale. We frreze anything that is about to expire. And we never waste food. My husband was a restaurant cook so is a genius for using what we have on hand!
Ps i was disappointed to read that you check the carts for change. I specifically leave a quarter every week for a nice surprise for someone picking up a cart - it's little but I'm always pleasantly surprised when someone doeas that for me. Checking them to find extra change is really tight... A little generosity goes a long way!

August 18, 2018 @ 11:02 am
Colin's picture

We still get hardcopy daily newspapers, (we are Luddites, and proud of it) so every Thursday a big wad of flyers arrives from Loblaws, Superstore, metro, Food Basics, Freshco, Giant Tiger, Walmart, and some smaller places / chains (e.g. Farm Boy or Produce Depot). These are very handy (as opposed to hunting them down online and squinting at a computer screen or -- worse -- a smart phone), and I pore over them looking for sale and "loss-leader" items (things a store puts on sale at a loss to get you in there so you'll buy more profitable stuff) that we can stock up on even if we don't immediately need them (we have a freezer and aren't afraid to use it). I circle items of interest with a marker (and take the document with us for price matching and reminder purposes), then transfer them to our glorious shopping lists -- we have generated extensive Excel lists of our usual purchases by aisle location for two of the cheapest stores (Superstore and Food Basics), and amend them as necessary when the store rearranges their displays so we can find items quickly and avoid the impulse buying generated by having to hunt. I print out copies and mark the week's targets with a highlighter, noting the store and price in the margin if it is on sale or at a different location and then, list and flyers in hand, we set out on our quest for groceries!

Superstore is the largest grocery store in our immediate area, and will price match local competition (FB, Loblaws --- their parent store -- and others). If the price at the cash doesn't match the flyer, they will give you the first one free, and they participate in the Optimum Points program (which alone saves us hundreds of dollars a year). Being a premium-priced store like Loblaws, metro doesn't usually have much of interest to us unless it is sales on fresh lamb, but we patronize their discount establishment (Food Basics) regularly. Loblaws has a better selection in smaller sizes than SS, so we occasionally buy there despite the price differential. Freshco and Giant Tiger are further away, so we have to save at least $10 on purchases before it is worth the trip gas-wise, but some of their prices are excellent, especially on meat, and Freshco's regular prices are like others' sale prices. Walmart doesn't usually have much of interest, especially since their regular prices tend to be a bit higher to compensate for their sale items. Costco is much further away, many of their "sale" items can be found elsewhere at slightly lower prices as loss-leaders, their minimum quantities are often too much for just 2 people, and their membership cost prices them right out of our reach.

Our usual shopping circuit costs us less than a couple of liters ($2.50) in gas and takes about an hour. Careful shopping saves us five or six times that, and sometimes more.


November 06, 2018 @ 7:14 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hi Colin,

Thank you for your wonderful comment! It was fascinating reading all your different methods for saving money on groceries. You've obviously put a lot of thought into your decisions and I appreciate you sharing that with us today.

Happy saving!

November 07, 2018 @ 10:05 am
Jean Humphreys
Jean Humphreys's picture

The cost of groceries is outrageous. The stores are having a heyday ripping off consumers. I just cringe looking at some of the prices-- sizes keep dropping while the price goes up. And nothing ever seems to come back down-- even if fuel costs drop or there's a good year for crops or meat or whatever-- I can't imagine the cost of raising a family these days-- it was challenging enough when I was raising my kids and stores like Woodward's really were priced decently. I've always been a frugal shopper and pursued sales, discounts, etc. but it's getting harder all the time.

December 03, 2018 @ 7:37 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hello Jean,

Prices are definitely high. We just need to adapt, budget, and keep finding as many ways to save as possible!

December 05, 2018 @ 9:12 am
Carrie's picture

I am curious as to where you are located, as these prices are shockingly high! I'm in Ottawa, Ontario and I don't think I've ever seen a kilo of butter for $16! It's about $3 a pound here.

I love RCSS - and price match religiously - with coupons!

We also have a basic membership to Costco - and the money we save on gas from the Costco pumps more than pays for the membership. There are good deals in Costco to be had - but not everywhere! I find their produce and Health & Beauty over priced - but that may also be from what I call "Price Matchers Shock". I mean, Crest Toothpaste is Free multiple times a month - or you can get 4 giant tubes for $12.

I gave up on Walmart a long time ago. I might go in to buy something non-grocery related - but my local stores no longer issue rain cheques and although every cashier will price match - when I had a cashier literally throw my 12 bags of $0.38 McCain Tater Tots into a single bag - I'd rather pay a little more and be treated humanely.

February 06, 2019 @ 6:43 pm
HowToSaveMoney Team
HowToSaveMoney Team's picture

Hello Carrie,

The prices were from the Sobeys in New Brunswick – I was quite shocked at the butter as well!

Costco is usually good for most things, but you definitely have to be aware of what you're buying no matter where you shop. That's where price matching comes in handy! You're much more aware of what's a good price or not.

Thanks for your comment :)

February 07, 2019 @ 12:07 pm

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