The next time a bundle of flyers arrives on your doorstep—or e-flyers land in your inbox—take a good look at the grocery specials on offer. Not only do featured ingredients get you thinking about your next shopping trip, but they also inspire you to try new dishes. By building a budget-savvy list from the weekly flyer, you’ll end up saving more money down the road. Here’s how to take advantage of all the deals on the pages.
- Plan meals based on what’s offered in the flyer. If pork tenderloin, potatoes, salad greens and ice cream are all on special, you can make a fabulous Sunday dinner on a budget. Browse our diverse collection of nearly 1,500 recipes for inspiration on what to make with this week’s deals. Tip: Use the search function to pull up all the recipes that use a certain ingredient, such as chicken. You can then narrow the results by clicking on “meal type” or scroll through the scrumptious-looking photos.
- Stock up on root veggies. Hearty vegetables like carrots, beets, potatoes and winter squash can last for weeks when stored properly, so it pays to plan ahead and buy extra when they go on sale. These veggies are best stored outside the fridge in a cool, dark spot, either in a cupboard or a cellar. Use them up by roasting a root vegetable medley for dinner instead of cooking rice or plain potatoes. You could also make them into a salad or mash. You can also turn extra root veggies into pickles—we show you how in our helpful guide to preserving.
- Buy meat in bulk and freeze it. When meat, especially the more expensive cuts, is on special, it’s wise to buy more than one package. When you get home, immediately freeze whatever portion you don’t plan to use right away. Check out our Freezing 101 guide to learn how to safely freeze and thaw meat.
- Get familiar with freezer-friendly foods. Using your freezer to preserve sale items bought in bulk is a quick and convenient way to stretch your grocery budget. Did you know that milk, eggs and even peanut butter can all stand up to a deep-freeze? Check out our list for more ingredients you can surprisingly freeze.
- Embrace big-batch cooking. Keep an eye out for sales on ingredients that can be used in soups, stews or a veggie-rich slow braise. These dishes can be easily doubled (or tripled) and safely stored in your freezer until you need a quick meal on a busy weeknight. For example, carrots, celery, onions and chicken are the main ingredients in our big-batch chicken noodle soup. Here are more big-batch recipes, plus info on how to properly seal and store them.
- Take advantage of deals on pantry items. When big-ticket items like olive oil go on sale, buy a few bottles and store them in a dark cupboard or the fridge. (Avoid placing oil next to the stove, as heat can shorten its shelf life.) Other staples worth buying in bulk are cereals and grains, canned vegetables and beans, canned fish, vinegars, jams and canned fruit.
- Look beyond the kitchen for savings. It’s convenient to pick up personal-care items such as toothpaste and deodorant at the grocery store. Keep your eyes peeled for deals on necessities like toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies.
- Consider trying new brands. You may buy the same brand of canned tomatoes out of habit, but being willing to try something new could stretch your budget—especially if store-brand items (like Sobeys’ own Compliments line) are offered in the flyer.
- Learn what store specials really mean. You may see the term EDLP—everyday low price—on different things around our store, which means those items are on special for a longer period than our weekly sales. In other words, you can rely on those lower prices for your next few trips to the store. Some deals that come and go, like BOGO (buy one, get one) or “buy more, save more,” are ones you want to pounce on to get the most for your money.
- Consider what you have room for.While it’s exciting to stock up on a great deal, be mindful of the available space in your kitchen. For example, a small freezer can’t accommodate very much frozen meat. And if your family isn’t keen on a certain ingredient, there’s no point in stocking up (even if it’s a fantastic deal) unless you plan to eat it all yourself!
Armed with these plan-ahead strategies, as well as a thorough grocery list, you’ll sail through the store with a cart full of nutritious foods and leave on budget. What a great payoff!