Buying $2500 Worth of Groceries: How We Did It

May 24, 2020
By Jonny Somers-Harris

Recently, YFMV – through the generous contributions of its community members –  was able to buy two weeks worth of groceries for 12 families in the community. This was a monumental undertaking, and we wanted to make sure that we were stretching every last dollar, so we tried four things to squeeze some more value out of our pool of cash and get to the lowest unit price for items on our list: Club packs, Frozen, Down-branding, and Bulk & Split.

Club Packs

Since we were buying 2 weeks worth of groceries at once, we were able to, whenever possible, buy a larger portion of an item that was only going to one family (eg: milk/eggs/meat). You can see below some cost savings we were able to achieve by going club sized

Frozen Veggies - $2.70/kg for a 900g bag, or $1.99/kg for a 2kg bag (26% savings on unit price)

Milk - $2.02/L for a 2L carton, or $1.28/L for a 4L jug, (36% savings on unit price)

Interestingly, not every club pack provided good value. For example Cheese was $1.07/100g for a 700g block, but to get the monster 2.27kg block of cheese we would have paid $1.17/100g, which would have cost an extra 9% more on unit price. 

Frozen

A lot of items are cheaper if you get them frozen, and we were able to take advantage of this fact in a few different areas.

Lean Ground Beef – $1.40/100g for a regular package, $1.07/100g for a club sized package, and $0.83/100g frozen (41% savings against a regular package, 23% savings against a club sized package in unit price)

Frozen Veggies – Fresh Cauliflower ($5.93/kg) and Fresh Broccoli ($6.56/kg) compared to the 2kg Bag of Frozen Cauliflower and Broccoli  ($1.99/kg). Even if you just compared against the Fresh Cauliflower unit price, that’s a 67% savings on the unit price

Honestly, we were shocked to find out just how much cheaper the frozen veggies were in comparison to the fresh stuff, and going this route allowed us to open up a lot of room in the budget to add more groceries.

Down-branding

A lot of us have brands that we swear by for some things, but for other we find that the store-brand or no-name branded items are just as good (or in fact even come from the same processing plant!) We tried to go with Store Brand (PC) or No-name branded groceries as much as possible to spread that dollar further.

Spaghetti – Unico (900g) was $0.26/100g vs No-Name (900g) $0.14/100g (46% savings on unit price)

Butter – Dairlyland 1lb was 1.07/100g vs No-Name 1lb $0.98/100g (8.5% savings on unit price)

For some of these items (eg: No-Name Frozen Veggies) we were able to stack multiple layers of unit cost savings (Club size + Frozen + Downbranding) to really save on costs, which was an exciting feeling. 

Bulk & Split

By far my most favourite method of cutting down on costs. For essential items like Onions, Rice, and Potatoes, we were able to buy the biggest possible packages of these and split them allocate them across all families based on the family size and make up (eg: a family with two parents and two kids would receive proportionally twice more of these items than a single parent with one child).

Yellow Onions –  3lb bag:  $0.99/lb, 10lb bag: $0.70/lb. 50lb Bag: $0.18/lb (total cost savings of 82% for the 50lb bag over the 3lb bag)

Russet Potatoes – 5lb bag: $0.80/lb, 10lb bag: $0.70/lb, 20lb Bag: $0.45/lb (total cost savings of 44% for the 20lb bag over the 5lb bag)

Jasmine Rice – 900g bag: $0.44/100g, 2kg bag: $0.30/100g, 18.1kg/bag: $0.15/100g (total cost savings of 66% on the 18.1kg bag over 900g bag)

Being able to get such amazing cost savings on some of these basic foods felt absolutely amazing – For example, If we were just getting a single parent with one child two weeks worth of rice we probably would have just gotten the 900g bag or rice, but by buying bulk and splitting the large bag of rice over multiple families we were able to take that same amount of money and turn it into 2.6kg of rice.

We want to wrap this up by thanking again those who gave financially to the purchase of the groceries, as well as those who gave of their time and gas money to deliver these groceries to the doors of the families that needed them. None of this would have happened without you guys, and we feel truly blessed to have been a part of this journey.

Young Families of Metro Vancouver By TDI Inc. All Rights Reserved.