10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
If looking at your grocery store receipt makes you want to cry, you’re not alone. It doesn’t take much to rack up an enormous food bill. Fortunately, it’s also pretty simple to save money on groceries without really making any sacrifices. You can still eat the food that you love without busting your budget!
Here’s how to save money on groceries:
- Plan your shopping trips.
- Avoid impulse buys.
- Get your groceries delivered.
- Pay attention to pricing.
- Use coupons.
- Find apps that work for you.
- DIY more when it comes to food.
- Save money on expensive items.
- Track your spending.
- Lean on leftovers.
1. Plan your shopping trips.
Going to the grocery store on a whim is a sure-fire way to come home missing items that you actually need, after overspending on impulse buys that you don’t. To be an efficient, money-saving shopper, you need to do some prep work. Set a grocery budget, make a meal plan, see what you have stashed in your fridge and pantry, and write out a grocery list. Formulating a supermarket strategy ahead of time will help curb your spending and save you a lot of money.
2. Avoid impulse buys.
Even when you’ve got a solid strategy to save money in place, you still need to be disciplined enough to pull it off. To prevent buying random snacks, eat something before you go to the grocery store. Hunger makes anything and everything look good — which is bad for your food budget. You may also want to consider shopping alone. Grocery shopping as a couple or family will make it harder to say no to extras that aren’t on your shopping list.
3. Get your groceries delivered.
Yes, having your groceries delivered does cost money, but hear us out. If you order your groceries online and have them brought to your home, you avoid the temptation of the store entirely. You buy what’s on your list — period.
Think about how the delivery fee compares to the cost of the junk food you may buy if you went to the store. If you’re not sold on paying for delivery, though, you can try shopping online and opting for in-store pick-up. (Just make sure to put your blinders on when you go in because you’re not there to shop!)
4. Pay attention to pricing.
You might love your local grocery store, but does shopping there save or cost you money? Your loyalty should lie with your wallet, so make sure to comparison shop across all of your area’s stores for the best prices. And, as you forage for food deals, pay special attention to unit costs. Your instincts might say that the larger jar of peanut butter is the better bargain. But, in reality, the smaller jar could cost less per ounce. If you pay close attention, you won’t be fooled.
5. Use coupons.
Dealing with coupons might be mildly inconvenient, but using them consistently can be a great way to save money on groceries. Try building your meal plan around the coupons being offered that week. Better still, pair a coupon with a sale and really rake in the savings.
Finding coupons has never been easier. You likely get them in your weekly mail and there are entire websites dedicated to them. The process of redeeming them has also become a snap. While you can still clip paper coupons, digital or clipless coupons are now extremely common. In many cases, using a store loyalty card will get you the discounted or coupon price. So, be sure to sign up for loyalty cards at your favorite stores and keep your eyes peeled for coupons on the items you use the most.
6. Find apps that work for you.
Nowadays, there’s an app for pretty much everything. And, when it comes to saving money on groceries, you have a lot of options. Apps like Ibotta will get you cash back on the food that you buy. Plus, there are several apps where you can earn points that convert into gift cards just for connecting your debit or credit card or scanning your receipts. Why not make money back on what you need to buy anyway? And, with many apps offering a sign-up bonus, it makes sense to give a few a shot to see which work best with your lifestyle and habits.
7. DIY more when it comes to food.
Convenience is expensive and your wallet feels it every time you eat out or buy pre-packaged items. Try to find some time in your schedule to DIY more when it comes to food. You could cook more meals at home, buy in bulk and make your own portions, or even try your hand at gardening. By putting in a little effort, you could save a lot of money — and, you may even enjoy the new activities.
8. Save money on expensive items.
Buying meat and produce can really jack up a grocery bill fast, but there are money-saving tricks to make both less expensive. To maintain great flavor at a great price, try cooking with cheaper cuts of meat like ground beef or chicken wings. Also, consider reducing the amount of meat that you eat in favor of protein alternatives like peanut butter, tofu, or beans.
To save money on produce, shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables. You can also try scoping out a local farmer’s market for freshly-picked ingredients. But, if it’s the dead of winter, don’t be afraid to buy some frozen fruits and veggies. They’re more nutritious and taste better than canned — at a fraction of the price of those imported fresh.
9. Track your spending.
The only way that you can gauge your shopping strategy success is to track your spending. Ideally, you keep a running tally as you put each item into your cart to ensure that you’re not going overboard. But, you should also review your total for each trip against your budget.
For example, if your monthly grocery budget is $400, then you should spend approximately $100 per week. Let’s say that you buy $75 worth of food in week 1 and $125 worth in week 2. Week 1 was an absolute victory, but week 2 was a bit of a slip-up. You should review your receipt to see why you spent more. But, don’t panic just yet. Half the month is over, and you’ve spent half your budget ($200 out of $400). You’re still on track overall.
10. Lean on leftovers.
To get the most out of the food that you buy, make it do double duty. Cook up large batches of your favorite dishes and cover the next several feeding times in the process. You can also get ahead by preparing meals well in advance and stashing them in your freezer. That way, when you don’t feel like cooking, you won’t be as tempted to call for Chinese or pizza.
Food costs can be insanely high, completely busting your budget. But, with a little creativity and planning, there are practically countless ways to save money grocery shopping. Best of all, you still get to eat food that’s good for you and tastes great!
Tell Charlie: What are your favorite money-saving grocery shopping tips?