The rate of food inflation in Canada is exceeding the general inflation rate and is estimated to increase by up to 4.5% in 2016, according to the 2016 Food Price Report released by The Food Institute of the University of Guelph. Meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are likely to be affected the most. Some of the main factors that affect the price of food include: climate, geopolitical risks, currencies and trade, etc. Considering some of these are likely to worsen over the long run, it’s as good a time as any to start maximizing your savings on groceries. With simple changes to the way you shop and cook, you’ll be able to reduce your grocery budget and increase your savings towards the things that matter the most to you.
There are many planned posts to follow in my new Grocery Budget Challenge series. Each one focusing on a different way to save money and get the most out of your groceries. To start, see the first strategy below – growing your own produce. Don’t write off this suggestion until you’ve read through the whole post! I live in a condo and I’ve been able to do this very successfully. I’ve written about various gardening options, so I really hope that you’ll give it a chance.
Grow Your Own
The first and, in my opinion, best way to cut your grocery budget is to grow as much of your own produce as possible. This also makes eating organically affordable. As long as you have a sunny window in your home, you can grow food! In fact, many plants can be regrown in water alone (see here). I have done this successfully with celery. I started with celery, because it is among the dirty dozen list of fruits and vegetables that are very high in pesticide content. Organic celery is very expensive, but you can regrow it for free!
If you don’t have a backyard, other options include joining a community garden near you and/or setting up a small, pre-fabricated hobby greenhouse on your balcony (see here for more information). A greenhouse will allow you to grow vegetables in the winter, too! You’d be surprised at how many benefits there are to gardening besides saving money. See my post on The Benefits of Gardening (and How to Get Started).