July 24, 2024

Torontonians are sharing their hacks for saving money on everyday items as the cost of living continues to put stress on people’s finances.

In a post on the r/asktoronto subreddit, one person asked users to divulge their “broke person cheat codes,” or tricks they use to cut costs.

Some said they had resorted to skipping a meal a day as a way to reduce grocery spending, or were drinking coffee to suppress their appetites. 

Others are opting to order kids meals at fast food restaurants, reducing portion sizes of meals in general, cooking simple meals with cheap ingredients, purchasing groceries on cost saving apps like Too Good To Go, and going to the supermarket at the right time to make the most of discount offers.

“The Metro meat bags are a hell of a deal. In my last one I got $88 worth of steak for $12,”
one Reddit user wrote.

According to Canada’s food price report, the average family of four is expected to spend about $16,300 on food in 2024, an increase of up to $701.79 from last year.

But NerdWallet spokesperson and financial expert Shannon Terrell told Now Toronto that people don’t need to eat less as a cost saving measure.

“To save money on groceries, Canadians can try buying in bulk, purchasing seasonal produce, or leaning into the support of food banks and assistance programs in the area. These programs are often non-profit and volunteer-run, and they’re designed to help Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet,” Terrell said.

Some members of the subreddit discussed joining local “Buy Nothing” Facebook groups. 

“Lots of good, usable items are being given away there for free. Have also seen awesome people give extra food on there,” they wrote.

“I’ve recently been doing the Odd Bunch! Which has a similar concept [to Too Good To Go]. It’s oddly shaped or lightly bruised fruits and veggies sold at a discount! So far I’ve been loving it,” another user said.

Terrell also suggested employing the help of food rescue apps such as Flashfood, coupon apps like Flipp and gas apps like GasBuddy, which are great tools for finding deals and discounts. 

Cutting back on non-essential purchases is another effective way to make savings, including reducing orders for delivery, as the fees, though nominal in appearance, can add up.

“Think of it like trimming a tree: you don’t need to chop the whole thing down — just prune back some of the excess. Conducting a subscription audit is a fantastic place to start. Fees for online services and apps can easily fly under the radar and nibble away at your wallet,” Terrell explained.

Statistics Canada figures released in May revealed that the average price for a kilogram of chicken breast in Canada was $13.82, a litre of milk was $3.01, 454 grams of butter cost $5.80, a dozen eggs would set you back $4.45, potatoes cost $4.98 a kilogram, onions were $5.91 a kilogram and white rice was $7.67 for two kilograms.

“Prices for food purchased from stores rose 1.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May following a 1.4 per cent increase in April,” Statistics Canada reported at the end of June.

“Although slight, this was the first acceleration since June 2023. Prices for groceries remain elevated and have increased by 22.5 per cent compared with May 2020,” the government agency concluded.

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