It’s hard to escape inflation in Victoria these days, particularly while shopping for groceries.
What should you do? Eat beans and rice until prices become more reasonable? If that’s how you want to save, all the power to you, but you do have other options.
Here are seven ways you can save money at the grocery stores in Victoria.
1. Good Food Box
One of the best ways to get a good deal on produce from the grocery store is to avoid it altogether!
Good Food Box is a non-profit group that purchases healthy fruits and vegetables in bulk and at low prices so they can divide it up and pass the savings along to those who don’t mind having a little mystery in their lives.
You don’t get to pick what you get but that can be kind of fun if you can make a meal out of anything they throw at you.
If the thought of not being able to plan your meals for the week scares you, don’t worry too much — included in every box they thoughtfully print out recipes that include that week’s ingredients to help steer you in the right direction.
They distribute boxes for pick-up at several locations throughout Greater Victoria to make it convenient no matter where you are and their prices are incredibly reasonable.
Here are their options:
- Large box – $25: Comes with 10-13 items, both fruit and vegetables
- Medium box – $17.50: Comes with 7-9 items, both fruit and vegetables
- Organic box – $27: Comes with 8-11 items, both fruit and vegetables that are mixed certified organic and local non-sprayed produce
- Snack box – $13.50: Comes with 5-6 items, both fruit and vegetables that can be enjoyed raw
- Fruit box – $19: Comes with 5-8 items, all fruit
All you need to do is visit their website and commit to picking up a box before the end of the day Saturday with the pickup day being the next Wednesday.
2. Check Flipp before heading to the grocery store
Flipp is a website that you can download as an app to your phone for convenience.
It allows users to enter their postal code, select groceries and see all the up-to-date flyers for their local grocery stores all in one place.
That way you can take advantage of deals and savings that are being offered by all the local supermarkets around you and you can even compare prices.
It’s easy to use and it tells you when the flier expires.
3. Meal prep
Something that is certainly not everyone’s favourite task, but if you can push through and buy larger quantities of easy to make foods, you’ll save money throughout the week.
Stick to one pot dishes for this like chili, soup, stir fry, curry, etc., but realistically you can do it with anything. The big benefit is you only have to make one meal so you end up saving time as well as money.
If you spend approximately $50 to $60 on one meal’s ingredients and you can squeeze seven meals out of it, that’s only around $7 to $9 per meal which is a huge win these days.
In addition to these meals being cheap and relatively easy, they’re easy to make super healthy and balanced. Simply make sure you add lots of vegetables and lean protein, then portion out what you think is an appropriate amount.
If you get sick of one meal, throw some of it in the freezer and use it the following week!
4. Save-On-Foods first Tuesday of the month/$1.49 day
Save-On-Foods is arguably one of the more expensive grocery stores across Canada. It is owned by Jim Pattison who recorded skyrocketing profits throughout the pandemic, which secured his place as the third richest person in the country.
That being said, you can still find great deals at Save-On-Foods if you use your More Rewards card and go on the right days.
At one Vancouver Island Save-On-Foods location, the first Tuesday of every month will score you 15% off your entire grocery bill. That is the kind of savings that can seriously help you stock up on staples for the month.
Get all of your meat, dairy, bread and rice for cheap and store it in the freezer until you need it. All you need to do for the rest of the month is pick up some produce here and there along with whatever accouterments your meal plan will need.
Sadly, the only Vancouver Island location is in Port Alberni. Next time you need to go to Port, plan it on the first Tuesday to save!
Every once in a while, Save-On-Foods started doing a $1.49 day as well.
The day before the $1.49 Tuesday, the items that will be reduced to a mere $1.49 will be revealed in their flier.
At the last event in February, people swarmed the stores to get $1.49 ground beef packs and many other shockingly low priced items.
The next $1.49 day is March 7th. Check out what the deals will be online on March 6th. All Greater Victoria stores should be offering this deal.
5. Go to a meat draw
Meat draws are huge on the east coast and you could benefit from taking advantage of them here in town too.
They typically happen at legions of other community gathering spaces. Here in Greater Victoria there are no doubt several weekly/monthly meat draws.
Every Sunday the Fraternal Order of Eagles located at 891 Esquimalt Road holds a meat draw and a 50/50 with live music to boot.
“The Fraternal Order of Eagles is a community service and social club,” reads their website. “Our theme is ‘People Helping People.’”
“We are a membership-based organization that operates a social lounge, holds club events, and helps to better our community through fund-raising for worthy causes.”
To enter the meat draw, you simply buy tickets, enter whichever meat pack you want to take home and wait for the draw which happens every half hour beginning at 3 p.m.
6. Rainbow Kitchen
Rainbow Kitchen at 500 Admirals Road is a community based kitchen whose mantra is simple; ‘everyone is welcome, no questions asked.’
If you are even the slightest bit stressed about putting food on the table, consider trying Rainbow Kitchen.
It is family friendly and they are always looking for volunteers if you want to put in some work for a meal.
Their hot food program doles out a hot, nutritious breakfast or lunch every weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until supplies last.
7. Buy in bulk
This is no secret but it’s good to remember.
Anytime you buy in bulk you are likely saving some money. This tip lends itself to meal prepping and to taking advantage of deals in local supermarkets such as the $1.49 days.
If you’ve got freezer space, you might as well use it. It just takes a little bit of foresight to remember to thaw things for the meals you plan but it will pay off over time and save you money you can put toward something else important.
These seven tips are really just the ‘tip’ of the iceberg when it comes to saving at the grocery store. What is your lifehack to saving money on food in Victoria? Let us know in the comments.