How many times have you gone to the grocery store and filled your basket with items that aren’t on your list? It could be more times than you can even remember. Eating is essential to life. However, that doesn’t mean you should make overspending on groceries a habit. It’s possible to eat healthy while on a budget. But why save money on groceries?
Reducing your grocery expenses may mean less food going to waste, and you can put the extra money toward something big. Spending too much happens when you don’t have a plan.
In this article, I’ll show you some real ways to cut back on your grocery expenses. This way, you won’t buy anything you don’t need. It’s time to start minding your financial goals any time you go grocery shopping. Read on to find out the best tips on how to save money on groceries.
1. Create a Meal Plan
If you’ve found yourself spending extra money on emergency takeouts several times in the past, meal planning is for you. First, count the meals that you (and your family members, if living with any) consume every week. This number doesn’t include the free meals you get from time to time.
The next step is to know how long a specific meal lasts. Let’s say you buy a dozen eggs. Ask yourself how many times they’re going to be used for meals. By planning your meals like this, there won’t be instances where you have to order expensive food because you ran out of ingredients.
2. Do Some Math as You Shop
While you add items to your basket at the grocery store, it’s best to have an idea of the amount you’ve spent so far. Use the calculator on your phone to keep track of the total cost. If you’re good at counting in your mind, go for it.
You can even round up the prices to a higher number. For instance, count a $1.89 fruit as $2 and $3.29 veggies as $3.50. This approach enables you to be under the budget. Do this for all the items you buy and you’ll be surprised by how much you save at the checkout.
3. Pay in Cash
Using credit cards comes with benefits such as earning rewards and enhanced security. But using them irresponsibly can bring you more debt and make it challenging to hit your saving goals. That’s why it’s best to pay for groceries in cash if you’re someone that frequently makes impulse purchases. You only need to carry cash that’s enough to cover the items on your list.
Withdraw cash for groceries each week and keep away your credit cards. When doing online grocery shopping, use a debit card for payments instead. By doing this, you won’t buy things that you can’t afford.
4. Shop at Different Grocery Stores
When picking a go-to grocery store, several factors come up. It could be that it’s near your home. Or maybe it’s where your friends go. It won’t be a surprise that you chose a specific store because it has the best logo.
Because you’re here to know how to save money on groceries, your focus should be on the most affordable prices. So, put that above all other factors and start going to different grocery stores. Check what’s on sale at other stores from time to time. Take advantage of the anniversary or other deals you can find.
5. Avoid the Grocery Store When Hungry
We all know that an empty stomach can make you do things without a plan, and one of them is shopping. When hungry, you might add many items to a big cart and be met with an unplanned grocery bill. You go ahead and pay any amount because your body tells you that you need them all. In the end, some of the things you buy may go to waste.
So, don’t go grocery shopping when you haven’t eaten something. Better yet, only go there when your stomach is full.
6. Only Buy What You Need
It’s a common habit to buy lots of stuff to push your next trip to the stores further. Aside from that, you may see discounted prices and take advantage of them by buying more units than you need. Or you might be expecting some visitors that you aren’t sure will show up.
All these reasons can cause you to buy items you don’t need or large units of things on your list. Chances are they’ll get spoiled before you get a chance to use them. So, set specific days for grocery shopping and avoid buying something you don’t need even if there’s a discount.
7. Check Out Items in Lower Shelves
Many grocery stores keep their expensive items on eye-level shelves. They’re mostly the easiest to see, making the items on them the first and only option for most people. And that’s why some stores keep the costly stuff there.
You don’t have to fall for these tricks anymore. The next time you’re shopping, check out the low-level shelves and you might find prices that favor your grocery budget. The cheapest items might be those lying on shelves closer to the floor. If that means crouching a bit, so be it.
8. Pick a Small Basket
Sometimes, carts and large baskets are the first you see on your way into the supermarket or grocery store. Just because you encounter them first doesn’t mean you should pick them.
Having a huge basket and few items won’t make sense. So, you’ll probably try to fill up its space with stuff you don’t need. And so, you end up spending more money. Instead, find a smaller basket that can perfectly fit the items you’re shopping for. If you only need one or two items, you’re free to carry them by hand.
9. Eat Seasonally
Eating seasonally enables you to save money on groceries. While the concept is clear, many people still don’t pay attention to it. When you buy groceries that are in season, their supply is high and they cost less.
Buying fruits and veggies that are out of season can cost a lot because they aren’t readily available. They probably went through long trips to reach your local grocery store. As a result, transport costs are included in their prices.
10. Check Expiration Dates
Don’t check the expiration dates when you get home. Do it before adding the items to your basket. You don’t want to buy items that expire in a day while you had planned to use them for a few more days. If the produce lasts longer, you won’t have to go to the stores every day. Aside from saving you money, you get a chance to enjoy your food when it has the most nutritional value.
11. Store Your Groceries Properly
If you store your groceries properly, it takes more time for them to go bad. This includes cleaning your fridge regularly, not over-packing, and not storing vegetables when damp. In case your fridge has a cooling problem, fix it. If it’s too old and shows signs of going out, you need to replace it. While it might look like you’re spending too much here, it’ll save you more money over the next several years.
12. Go for Unpackaged Fruits and Veggies
As you know, packaging can be a tiring process. No one wants to spend time wrapping and putting groceries in packets for free. If you buy pre-packaged items, you also pay for the packaging indirectly. So, only pick lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and other produce that isn’t in cool (and costly) packets. Besides reducing your grocery expenses, this approach ensures healthy eating.
13. Don’t Go Shopping With Big Spenders
Go for groceries without friends or family members who are good at adding items that aren’t on the list. Most of the time, kids are the ones who have the habit.
It’s possible that the big spender could be that best friend who thinks you’re “rich.” Leave them at home and you won’t have to buy anything extra during your trip to the store.
Cutting back on your grocery expenses doesn’t mean you won’t be eating healthy or enough. With a proper plan, you get a chance to free up more money while reducing food wastage.
Because you now know how to save money on groceries, keep these tips in mind every time you go to the store. The result will be nothing short of you achieving your financial goals faster!
More Tips on Saving Money on Grocery
- 25 Supermarket Tricks You Should Try Now To Save More Money
- How to Eat Healthy Foods and Save Money at the Same Time
Featured photo credit: Bruce Stockwell via flickr.com
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