skip to Main Content

As the cost of living increases in the province, Calgarians are struggling to pay their bills and afford basic needs. Here are some tips and tricks to have your money go further when you grocery shop. 

Buy Your Produce at Fresh Routes!

We bring fresh and affordable groceries to various locations across the city. Our organization’s mission is to provide fresh and affordable food to communities that may not have easy access to traditional grocery stores due to multiple barriers. For those with limited mobility or a busy schedule, we provide delicious frozen meals as well. We are here to support your financial and dietary needs. 

Check out our schedule to see the next time we are in your area!

Attend a Pay What You Want Market

There are many options to purchase affordable groceries that offer an honour system of payment. Fresh Routes partnered with The Social Impact Lab to bring Open Market to Calgary, a Pay What You Want local food market where Calgarians can choose to pay less, pay the suggested price or pay more. Open Market opens every Thursday at the Meadowlark Community Association from 5-7 pm. 

Community markets only work when people take and pay for a reasonable amount and are considerate of other buyers. They are a great low-cost alternative for individuals and families with a limited budget.

Buy Online  

If you find yourself prone to the marketing tactics of your default grocery store, most places have a delivery service for a small fee. Superstore has next day delivery for $6.00 and pick-up for only $1.00. Buying online allows you to review your shopping cart at the end and remove any items that are not necessary.  

Another option is to buy a meal kit such as HelloFresh. The portions are designed to be used for the meal with no waste. However, the cost is usually higher for the pre-portioned meals.

Buy Produce in Season 

In-season produce is likely to be priced lower as grocery stores have a large supply. This fall, stock up on apples, beets, cranberries, pumpkins and shallots and you are likely to save money on your next grocery bill. Fresh Routes sources produce from local farmers and local suppliers so you always know that everything is in season.  

Cooking blog the spruceEats provides a comprehensive guide for in-season foods specifically for Alberta.  

Shop on Wednesdays

According to a survey study by Drive Research, 59 percent of consumers shop for groceries on Friday (20%), Saturday (23%), or Sunday (16%). Grocery stores capitalize off of the high traffic and higher prices are often the result. Most sources recommend shopping on Wednesday because stores usually end their weekly promotions and stock up on new inventory.

Make a List and Stick to It 

If you have been grocery shopping for a while, you most likely have a rough estimate of what you need and, more importantly, what you don’t. Choose foods that energize you and proportions that will not lead to waste. Yes, there may be an unbelievable deal on broccoli bunches, but will you be able to finish all of it before they go bad? Even having a rough recipe in mind can help cut down unnecessary costs.

Look at the Price Per Pound 

Contrary to popular belief, buying the bigger packet is not always cheaper. Stores are aware of this popular belief, so they sometimes increase the bulk prices for a profit. Additionally, people living on their own usually don’t need bulk quantities.

Share your grocery shopping tips and tricks with us the next time you stop by one of our markets!

Author: Nazeefa Ahmed