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Saving Money on Groceries Not Just Clipping Coupons

Most if not all of us have at one time or another been stuck behind that woman (or man in many cases) who has the flyers from every single store in the area and is intent on getting the sale prices from those stores by price matching the item they have chosen. The ability to do this has resulted in being able in many cases to save a substantial amount of money.

The same goes for those who choose to clip coupons found on many products in order to save on the next purchase or a related product from the same manufacturer. With the rising cost of food prices across the globe and affecting Canada in the same way, these and any other option for savings has blossomed and grown exponentially across the country. While all of the practices are well and good there is another way to save a very large amount on your grocery bill and one that many seem to either ignore or at least seem unaffected by is the vast amount of food and food products that we waste as a society in North America.

The statistics show that we toss out more food than any other country other than the U.S. We have all been there too. That package of cheese or carton of milk that has a best before date of yesterday gets tossed in the trash with barely a though. It is a common practice that we all have become accustomed to. The dates on our pre-packaged are all designed to ensure that we are slaves to the process of buying more and more food. Back in the good old days, we simply put the milk up to our noses or poured a small glass and did a taste test to determine if the stuff was actually spoiled or not. Now we simply check that all important date and if it doesn’t correspond with what we think is right, into the trash it goes and off we go to buy a new carton.

Exactly as the producers of our food would like.   A recent study by the University of Guelph determined that of the average 4.5 kilos of food waste that a typical family of four wastes on a daily basis a full 2.3 kilos was entirely avoidable and a further half kilo was most likely avoidable as well.   The cost associated with that amount of waste translates to a whopping $28 per week in simple and avoidable waste. That, for you math wizards out there, is $1456.00, every year.   Part of the trouble is the fact that very thing we buy these days seems to be in the bulk range.

We buy more than we currently need to save by buying in bulk but fail to properly portion the items and then end up tossing out what we think has turned. By realizing that we do this and by properly portioning the stuff we buy or by simply planning a weekly menu and sticking to it we can save an enormous amount of money every year.   Even more than price matching or clipping coupons.  

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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Toronto, Ontario
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Email: sam@torontoaccountant.ca

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