Stocking your cupboards can be the fun and tricky part. Here are some tricks and tips to sourcing ingredients:
Buying Food in Bulk: Food is often cheaper in larger quantities. If you have storage space in your kitchen, buying a large package could mean more money up front, but less money spent in the long term. Check out the links below for ideas on where to access bulk items. Most grocery store price tags display the price per 100g or per kilogram. This is a very useful tool in examining the true cost of the food regardless of its size and packaging. You’ll likely find that highly processed foods cost more pre weight than less processed foods.
Farmers Markets are a great place to find affordable fruits and vegetables year round. Vendors are often a combination of local farmers and food distributors who are able to pass along their savings to you. Kitchener-Waterloo has two markets - one in St. Jacobs/North Waterloo and one in downtown Kitchener. See the links below for more details.
Coupons are widely available in stores, on line or in newspapers. While coupons may look attractive, it is important to weigh out the balance of higher transportation expenses to get to the place where the coupon is usable
Discounted Food: Many grocery stores mark down the prices of foods (especially dairy and bread products) that are nearing their “sell by” date. The foods are almost always as fresh as regularly priced foods and sometimes only half the price. Look for discount stickers or ask a store employee to direct you to discounted food.
Growing Your Own Food
Growing your own food can be a fun and rewarding to lower your grocery bill. You can grow food in your own yard if you are a home owner and sometimes if you are a renter. If you don’t have access to land here is a list of community gardens in the Region of Waterloo.
There are tons of educational resources about food gardening. There is a wide selection of books on the subject at public libraries and at the Queen Street Commons Books for Sustainable Living.
If you are looking for a hands on introduction to agricultural skills try volunteering at the Hacienda Sarria Market Garden or Grow Herbal Gardens or attending an educational workshop at Little City Farm.