How to Save Money on Groceries
One of the easiest ways to start saving money is by cutting your grocery costs. But you don’t have to buy the cheapest, most boring foods out there – you just need to think ahead.
Here are 15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries:
1. Only shop once a week.
Oddly enough, this one can be difficult, because there’s always an extra item or two that you’ll need during the rest of the week. You’ll find yourself suddenly out of lettuce, or cookies, and think, “Oh, I’ll just pop on over to the store and buy it. I’ll be in-and-out, no problem.”
Nope. You and I know how that grocery store thing works. You walk in to buy one thing and you walk out with nine other items that you totally didn’t realize that you absolutely needed. Yup. Been there, done that.
2. Plan what you’re going to eat this week.
This doesn’t need to be a twenty-point plan with colorful powerpoint slides. Just create a general plan of what you’d like to eat: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 snacks, 7 dinners.
3. Take inventory.
So with your meal plan in mind, what do you already have in your kitchen that you can use to make those meals? Already have a lot of it? Fantastic!
4. Make a list.
Make a list of anything that you need for your meals that you don’t have in your kitchen.
Now that you have your list, check coupons.com for coupons for your items. Clip the ones you want and print them out.
Ibotta is an app that you can download to your phone. Before you go to the store, look for offers for items on your list. Then after you shop, your scan your receipt and get a cash rebate based on the offers and your purchases.
7. Don’t. Ever. Shop. Hungry.
Seriously. Everything looks good when you’re hungry. This is one of the reasons to plan ahead for your shopping. Make sure that you’re well-fed before you leave the house.
8. Don’t buy anything on impulse.
If you know you always pick up a treat or two for yourself when you shop, plan for it. Put it on your list.
9. Only buy what’s on your list.
If you see something that you might like to have next week, make a note of it so you can look for coupons for it.
10. Compare unit prices.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better or cheaper. Sometimes the bigger package will cost $0.89 per unit while the smaller package costs $0.59 per unit.
11. Check for substitutions.
I’m not talking about comparing the brand name to the generic brand (although that’s a good idea too).
No, what I’m talking about here is comparing different versions of what you want to buy. For example, let’s say you want to make tacos. You can make that with ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, fish, stew beef, and stir fry meat. Odds are that one or more of those will be on sale.
This happened to me the other day. Ground beef was $4.99 a pound, but a package of beef for stir fry was a dollar less. The stir fry was already cut up and it worked great in my tacos. This kind of thing adds up, my friends.
12. Make a list of your staples.
There’s food that you eat on a regular basis. Make a list of all of the ingredients and buy them when they’re on sale.
A good example is chili mix. I pick up a couple of boxes whenever my favorite brand goes on sale. I know that I’ll use them long before their expiration date.
13. Buy frozen vegetables and fruits
Yes, fresh fruits and vegetables are awesome. But how much have you bought and thrown away because it went bad before you could eat it?
That’s why I recommend buying frozen vegetables and fruits. They keep really well, so you’ll have them on hand, and they still have that good nutrition.
14. And when buying fresh fruits and vegetables –
Buy small amounts that you will eat that week. And, only buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Anything out of season is usually pricey.
15. Consider buying online.
A couple of years ago I fractured my ankle. I was very fortunate and had a job that would let me work from home for a couple of months, but I still needed a way to get groceries.
That’s when I found out that Walmart would deliver groceries. I would put together a shopping list and pick out a delivery time. Then they would bring me my groceries.
The amazing thing is that the amount of money that I spent on groceries each month dropped dramatically. I think this is partly because the Walmart prices were cheaper, but it’s mostly because I didn’t go into the store and impulse buy (this was before I ever started thinking about saving money on groceries).
I’ve stopped doing this now because I now use my grocery shopping time as another way to get in some light exercise, but if you are short on time or have problems with impulse buys, then I highly recommend buying your groceries online and having them delivered.
The other good news is that more stores are doing this. Check with your local store to see if they deliver, or if they’ll even just meet you at the entrance to the store with your groceries. You might save time and money!