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10 Ways to Cut Down Your Grocery Bill During the Holidays

Dec. 1, 2011
3 mins
Multi-generational family enjoying a meal together at kitchen table

With Christmas just around the corner, many of us are looking for budget-friendly tips and hoping not to overspend during the festive season. By getting back to basics we can all achieve a wonderful Christmas without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips that will help you minimize the Christmas grocery bill.

Start Planning….NOW

Planning ahead will save you time…and money. That’s why you should start planning now. First step? Plan out your menus including dinner meals and treats, and make a list of everything you will need. Over the next weeks leading up to Christmas, catch the items on your list as they go on sale. It may seem daunting to be planning out your menus now…but I’m sure your December calendar is already booked with parties and events. Menu planning is no different.

Make a List…and Stick to It

Once you’ve got your list in place…stick to it. Don’t be swayed by all the marketing and advertising that goes on this time of year. Know what you want and where you are going to get it. A list will not only keep your spending on track, it serves as a great reminder so that you don’t forget any items. This will avoid those dreaded last-minute stops to the grocery store.

Cook from Scratch

There is no better time than Christmas to join forces with friends and family in the kitchen. As a child, this is my most memorable part of Christmas. My aunts and cousins would all gather the week before to prepare for Christmas Eve and Day dinners. This included the turkey, and savoury foods right down to homemade cinnamon donuts. By sharing the cost of making these delicious Christmas treats, we not only had a lot of food to eat during the holidays it made it easier for everyone to afford the blueberry cheesecake and seafood platters!  The food was great however the gathering of friends and family was even better.

Buy Seasonal Foods

Stick to in-season fruits and veggies to help cut down your grocery bill. What’s in season? Apples, nectarines, grapes, squash, sweet potatoes and root veggies.

Substitute and Use Alternatives

You may find a lot of recipes call for dairy products this time of the year. Substitute these ingredients for less expensive alternatives How? Dilute condensed milk with water for recipes that need milk. Use yogurt instead of sour cream, or cream cheese instead of mascarpone. Search online if you are unsure.

Don’t Buy More Than You Need

This may sound elementary but there are way too many out there who end up throwing away spoiled food. DON’T DO IT.

Choose Your Recipes Wisely

I LOVE French food but I don’t have it often because it can be pricey. Choose a recipe with ingredients that don’t cost a fortune. Looking for ideas? Check out my frugal recipes.

Shop Sales

Common sense should tell you that if something is on sale then that is what you should be having for your meals. Carefully selecting the foods that go on sale will shrink the grocery bill.

Follow the 12-Week Cycle

Everything you buy at the grocery changes price over time. But did you know the pricing follows a 12-week cycle? Approximately every 12 weeks each item in the grocery store will hit both a high price and a low price within a 3-month period. How does this save you money? Wait for items to go on sale at their lower points in the cycle...and then stock up to save. Why food is the cheapest during the holiday season? Baking goods, flout, eggs, dried fruit, and (of course) turkey.

Use Coupons

You didn’t think I’d miss this one, did you? I can’t emphasize enough how coupons can cut your grocery bill by less than 50%. Organize your grocery shopping with the weekly flyer sales and coupon matchups.


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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