With all the payments in life—house payments, car payments, medical payments—the grocery bill is often overlooked as a major drain on your bank account. The weekly stock-up of your fridge and cupboards can really be a strain on your bank account. Of course you must eat, but is the way you’re grocery shopping really the most economical method? People fall into habits with their shopping and look for the easy options, and that’s when things can get expensive.
But there are ways to save at the grocery store. Like anything else, all it takes is a little discipline, dedication and common sense. So check out money saving tips and see if they help you on your next grocery run.
Go In With A Plan
It’s not uncommon to take an impromptu trip to the grocery store. Maybe you come home from work and realize your cupboards are bare and you have to run out to replenish your supplies. While that is completely understandable, it’s a not an economical way to shop.
You need to go in with a prepared grocery list and you need to stick to it. If you go in unprepared, your shopping cart will be filled with impulsive buys that will rack up your bill. Not only should you know what you’re getting, you should know where it is in the store. This can help speed up your trip and avoid browsing which can lead to unnecessary purchases.
Avoid Name Brands
I know, there’s safety in buying a name you know. But when you buy Kellogg’s cereal over the store brand stuff, you’re not buying quality, you’re only buying the name. Break the habit and search out the store brand or generic brand options for your favourite foods. The cost difference is pretty significant and chances are you won’t be able to tell much of a difference in taste.
Take Advantage Of Coupons
Maybe our society is becoming more cynical because people just don’t seem to trust a deal nowadays. When something is advertised as “Free” people immediately ask “what’s the catch?” That would appear to be the only reason people don’t take advantage of the coupons in their local grocery stores. I’m here to tell you, there is no catch. Those coupons are pure savings and are there for the taking. Yes, the selection is limited, but if you browse the coupons often no doubt you’ll find something worthwhile.
Don’t Shop Hungry
It’s a classic and costly mistake to enter a grocery store with a full wallet and an empty stomach. When you shop hungry, everything looks good—especially the premade options. They’re easy, they’re there and they’re over-priced. It’s good to have a scheduled day and time to do your weekly grocery run. After lunch is a solid time and it will hopefully help keep your eyes from wandering.
Buy Frozen Or Canned
There is a stigma against buying frozen or canned food. For certain options, it’s very true that they should be avoided. It’s better to buy raw chicken than the boxed, frozen choices. It’s better to make your own spaghetti than eating the canned stuff. But when it comes to veggies, these are affordable and practical options. It doesn’t take away any of the nutritional value of it and it ensures your veggies won’t go bad before you’ve had a chance to eat them.
Buy In Season
If you are going to buy fresh, choose the right time to do so. With fruits and veggies especially, the price can fluctuate quite dramatically depending on the time of year. Buying produce when it’s in season can mean big savings compared to buying it whenever you get a craving. It may mean having to wait quite a while for a reduced price on corn, but the savings could make the wait well worth it.
Shop At The Right Places
When you unexpectedly run out of milk, most people would rather hop down to the convenience store on the corner rather than head to the supermarket. But you’re paying for that convenience. Corner stores, convenience stores and specialty stores offer easier shopping options but they jack up the prices to do so. Try to keep your shopping relegated to the bigger supermarkets and grocery stores whose prices are more reasonable.
Studies have shown that those who shop with credit cards spend 12-18% more than those who shop with just cash. It makes sense, since when shopping with cash, you can only spend what you have. Credit cards on the other hand leave you more open to indulge.
Don’t just buy what you need, buy what you’re going to need. If you see peanut butter is on-sale 2-for-1, don’t pass it up just because you only need one for now. Same goes with pasta and rice; they are cheap and easy meals which can be stocked away for ages. Also, a freezer can be a very smart investment. If you see sales on meats, stock up, freeze them and avoid the full prices for a while.