Statistics Canada said that food prices grew by 10.4 percent year-over-year in January, while groceries saw an 11.4 percent jump. Some experts cautioned that consumers shouldn't count on grocery prices going down any time soon.
Ronza Reynard, Community Ministries Director for Weyburn and Estevan, had some tips on keeping a budget with the rising food costs.
"The first thing I would say to people is to make a list. We do the same thing here, we make a list: what do we need in the food bank this week? So we're not just going and picking up things, so people have to do the same thing, you have to make a list. Remember to bring it with you."
Reynard suggested that people only pick up the items that are on their list. "To get that list, you want to meal plan. Before, we used to just run to the store and pick up things," she said, "So now people need to actually invest some time into making a meal plan for the week."
She explained that people should take stock of what they already have in their freezers and cupboards, and then decide what they're going to prepare for the week, and then make that list. "You want to be checking your coupons, your flyers, I know they come out every week online now, and really starting to do the research of how to save money."
"Another way that people can save money is doing online shopping," she shared. "The reason why I say online shopping is because then you're really getting only what you need."
If you shop online, she said, then you're not impulse buying, "You go in, you have your lists, you pick everything you want, place that order, and then you pick it up and you don't risk going past what your list is."
Another good thing in the community, she shared, is community meals. They are usually available for everybody, "You save a little bit of money because you're having a free meal, and it's a chance to get out and have a meal and conversation with others, and it's of no cost, so you get a two for one deal."
Reynard noted that they are doing the same thing at the Weyburn Salvation Army food bank; they're watching the flyers, seeing what's on sale and trying to stretch every donation as far as they can.
"This is what you want to be doing all year round, just because food costs continue to go up. So this is not just something to be doing in February and March. This is something I think people want to be doing, it takes a little bit of time. This is not going to happen overnight for people to change this habit."
If anyone requires assistance, Reynard said that they can call the Weyburn Salvation Army office at 306-842-2280. She explained that if anyone needs to access the food bank, they should make an appointment ahead of time.
"Then you can meet with one of our Family Services people and they can help you out. We always say we're not your groceries. We don't have enough to supply your family for groceries for a whole month, but maybe we can help you out once a month with something that will offset the cost of something else."
Reynard added that they're very thankful that they're able to be here in the community, and that people trust them and support them wholeheartedly.