Forget coupons! We’ll show you how to save money on groceries by employing these strategies.
When it comes to life’s many expenses, trying to cut back where you can on the extras and luxuries is something that most people try to do first and foremost to save money. But what happens when you’ve shaved costs on the non-essentials and still need to keep a little extra money in the bank?
There are some things that simply can’t be cut out of your budget, like your groceries, but fortunately, there are some ways that you can cut back on your spending and leave some extra bills in your wallet while still feeding your family.
Check out our list of the top money-saving methods that will show you how to save money on groceries when you head to the supermarket this week.
12 tips on how to save money on groceries
1. Be budget smart
Before you even head to the grocery store, it’s important to make sure you have the money for the trip. Well before you shop, you need to set up a monthly budget that takes into account the amount of money you can afford to spend on groceries alone.
To do this, start by looking over the expenses from the prior month to see how much you spent to get a good idea for this month. Think of how much you have budgeted for the month and then divide it up by how many weeks are in the month, a plan that leads us to our next point.
2. Shop week by week
Instead of trying to overwhelm yourself with meal plans for the entire month, set aside a day where you plan your meals for the week ahead and then shop once during that week. You might have some big ideas for the whole month and accidentally spend too much on items you might not even end up using. So begin by planning your meals each week down to the ingredients you need, so that you only buy what you are confident you are going to use, which will kill two birds with one stone by eliminating waste and overspending at the same time.
3. Pay attention to what’s already in the kitchen
Check the pantry, freezer, and refrigerator before you start thinking about your meals. Think about the kinds of things you can make with what’s already there, such as meats and sauces that leave you only an ingredient or two away from a delicious pasta dinner or leave you a pack of tortillas away from a tasty Mexican meal.
4. Think generic
When scribbling down the ingredients you’re going to need, skip the brand names beside them. Generic, or off-brand, products tend to have virtually all of the same ingredients, but you pay a fraction of the cost by skipping out on the more popular brands.
5. Think about the week ahead
Planning the ingredients isn’t the only thing you should consider. Think about whether or not you have plans for the week and decide what nights you can skip cooking in order to save dollars on nights you go out or nights your kids have games or activities at school.
6. Have a snack
It’s true that if you wander into the grocery store hungry, suddenly everything is going to look appealing. You’ll find yourself buying additional products that just sound good at the moment that you could really live without or won’t even end up eating in the first place. Have a bite before you head to the store to stop impulse spending.
Grocery shopping hacks
Learn ways on how to save money on groceries from this family of 7 that eats at $200 per week.
Perusing the aisles at the grocery store
7. Keep to the Sales
When you’re looking for meats, veggies, and dry goods, let your eyes wander to the items marked on sale. You can also find coupons in flyers before you shop so that if you see the chicken is on sale, you can plan a tasty chicken dinner and take advantage of the lower prices when you get there.
8. Keep track of the numbers
Every time you pick up a new item, jot down its price on your phone. Pop it under a calculator for quick math and keep going.
9. Hold fast to the list
What’s on your list should be what you buy, no matter how enticing certain items might seem when you pass them by. Remember—you spent all of that time planning out each meticulous detail and were proud of how much you were going to save. Don’t ruin it by being tempted by junk food that you don’t need.
10. Freeze some sales
In the event you see a great sale on meat that you can easily plan a meal around, go ahead and buy it. It doesn’t have to be used right away; put it in a freezer bag and set it back for another meal, one that you’ll have saved money on in advance, which will continue to save you money on what you need next week!
11. Check out deals online
Paper coupons aren’t the only way to go these days; there are many cell phone apps designed to help you save money on groceries and spend less on food either through helping you plan or by sometimes paying you to shop.
There are a few apps and sites that give you instant rebates, and some apps will even pay you money just for sending in pictures of your shopping receipts.
12. Don’t be duped
Grocery stores are designed to make you wander through aisles of tempting purchases before getting to what you want, and the products are even strategically placed on shelves to attract you toward more expensive items that are placed at eye level. Don’t fall for it. Go for what you need, check all of the shelves, and move on your way.
It is worth noting that between 1975 and 2000, most grocery carts have tripled in size to provide the illusion that you did not buy enough food. Don’t be fooled by the mind games.
With these helpful tips, you can shop frugally to save every penny you can to be able to purchase other items that you need just as much to make the most out of every shopping trip.