You may have noticed recently that your grocery bill is climbing. Food costs are increasing in America, and it can take a big bite out of your monthly budget. However, everyone must eat!
Tweaking your shopping habits and making some small changes can end up saving you hundreds of dollars at the checkout counter. Below are 11 easy steps you can start taking today to save money on groceries.
- Don’t Shop Hungry
It’s likely you’ve heard this one before: shopping while hungry almost always adds dollars onto your grocery bill. When you are hungry, you are far more likely to buy things you don’t need and take less time pricing out other items as you go. In addition, you will probably buy something pre-made to snack on! Save money on your grocery bill by making sure you do your shopping soon after eating.
- Stock Up On Sales
When an item that you use often goes on sale, snap it up! Staples such as cooking stock, spices, flour, and oil are worth buying in large amounts when they go on sale. Make sure you are aware of expiration dates, and that you use the item regularly enough to justify keeping a lot of it on hand.
- Buy in Bulk
Buying bulk is another way to save money on food. Because bulk items may not come in expensive packaging, the price per unit is often much lower than if you were to buy the same item in a pre-packaged form. Foods like beans, rice and granola can be bought bulk and create big savings
- Avoid the Middle Aisles
Grocery stores are designed to move shoppers through all the aisles, increasing the chances that you will buy items you don’t necessarily need. Stick to the outer walls of the store as much as possible. This is also a healthier way to shop, as the outside edges usually stock the fresh items like produce, dairy, and meat.
- Shop with A List
A little organization can save you a lot of money. Keep a list of regularly used items you either need or will need more of soon. When you are heading to the grocery store, do a quick inventory to see if you’ve missed anything. Then when you are shopping, you have a clear idea of what you need and are less likely to buy unnecessary items. Whether you use a smart phone or the old fashion pen and paper method, keep a list. It’ll keep you honest on what you need and what’s an impulse buy.
- Buy, Then Plan
On the last point, having a list does not necessarily mean having a meal plan. Creating meal plans can force you to buy items that are not on sale, thereby driving up the grocery bill. Shop smart by buying sale items only, then creating meal plans around what you bought. A bonus: this method can help you to try new things!
- Go Generic
Name-brand items are often more expensive than generic brands simply because of the packaging! Often, the actual ingredients are the exact same. Check the labels and you might be surprised how much you can save on groceries by opting for generic brands.
- Ask About Rain Checks
Most grocery stores will allow you to ‘rain check’ a sale item if they’ve run out. This means they will call you when the item is restocked and allow you to buy it at the sale price, even if the sale is over.
- Find the Clearance Shelf
Almost every store has a ‘clearance shelf’, or sometimes an entire clearance aisle! Finding and raiding this section is an excellent way to save money. Items go on clearance for a variety of reasons; sometimes it’s as simple as damaged packaging, making it unsuitable for regular shelf display. Again, pay attention to expiration dates, but don’t leave the store without giving the clearance section a good look.
- Grow Your Own
It’s amazing how much you can save by spending a little bit of time and effort growing your own food. Even if you don’t have a garden space, things such as fresh herbs, tomatoes and blueberries can be grown in a pot on a small patio.
- Use Your Freezer
If you haven’t realized the value of your freezer yet, now is the time. Many of the tips and tricks in this list can be combined with this one simple move to save you hundreds of dollars a year. Buying meat in bulk and freezing it will certainly lower future grocery bills. Fruits and vegetables can also be frozen and used in smoothies, soups, and casseroles. Make large batches of meals and freeze portions to save yourself time one busy weeknight. Use the freezer properly and keep money in your pocket all year long.
These are just a few ways to save money on your groceries every time you shop. Implement a small amount of planning and organization and watch the savings start to add up! Stay within budget and put more money towards your financial security.