These days, it’s common to see grocery customers using coupons along with shopping sales, gathering store rewards while they shop, and comparing the prices of one store against another. This blog is a simple guide to saving money at the grocery store. Many people forget that they can save money on their groceries. Grocery stores have coupons and they even give a discount if you have a loyalty card. You could easily start saving money by just using these simple strategies.
Grocery shopping can be an expensive proposition. But there are ways to save money if you shop smart and plan ahead.
- Buy in bulk. Buying something in bulk can actually save you money if it’s something that you use regularly and won’t spoil before you use it all up. For example, buying a large package of chicken breasts or steaks can be cheaper than buying them individually at the meat counter because they’re often on sale — even if they cost more per pound than individual cuts.
- Make a list. Before you head out, make a list of what you need and stick to it! Grocery stores can be very tricky when it comes to getting in and out quickly (and spending too much money). Make sure there’s nothing else you need before you go so that you can avoid having an “I forgot” moment while standing in the checkout line.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry. This is one of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store because it requires no planning or forethought. You’ll be less likely to buy things impulsively (and thus more likely to stick to your list) if you aren’t hungry at the time you go shopping.
- Avoid gimmicks like buy one get one free (BOGO) offers and other sales pitches that only seem like deals because they’re designed to get you into a store and make you feel like you’re getting something for free, when really all they’ve done is put some extra items in your cart so that you’ll spend more money than normal on something that’s probably not even worth it in the first place! It’s not uncommon for stores to make less money from these types of promotions than they would have from just selling a few items at normal prices anyway!
- Compare unit prices. When you see two products that look similar, check their unit prices. The one with the lower number has a better deal. If both have the same unit price, look for another factor to decide between them. Compare prices on different brands at different stores before purchasing anything. You may find that one store will always have lower prices on certain items, so it makes sense to buy those items there first and then shop elsewhere for other items if necessary.
- Buy less meat, or meat with bones in it, and use leftovers to make soups and stews. Meat is expensive—especially if you’re buying organic or grass-fed meat. So think twice before adding steak or chicken breast to your cart every week. If you’re cooking for one or two people and making meals from scratch, you probably don’t need a whole chicken cut up into pieces; just buy a whole chicken or two legs (and save some money). You can also save money by buying less expensive cuts of meat like pork shoulder instead of filet mignon.
- Eat seasonally when produce is at its peak. Eating seasonal foods will limit your grocery bill because these foods are cheaper when they’re in season. For example, strawberries are expensive in the winter months but much cheaper in the spring and summer months. Fruit and vegetable prices can vary by up to 50% depending on what time of year it is. So if you’re looking for ways to cut back on spending at the grocery store, consider eating seasonally.
- Store brands are less expensive than national or name brands. They’re often identical or very similar to the name brand, but they don’t have the same advertising costs associated with them. You may also find that some store brands taste better than the name brand because they aren’t trying to appeal to everyone’s tastes but rather just the tastes of people who shop at their store regularly.
- Planning meals around what’s on sale is one of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store. If you’re planning on making a dish that uses several ingredients, take a look at what’s in season or on sale and try to incorporate those items into your meal plan. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our guide on how and why you should plan.
- Skip name-brand products and anything else that’s been ‘value-added.’ You will find that many name brands — especially in the grocery store—are no better than generic brands. The only difference is that they cost more because they’ve been “value-added” in some way by the manufacturer. For example, they might have a fancy label or come in an attractive package (or both). These companies also often charge a premium for convenience; some of their products come pre-packaged with other ingredients (like cheese shreds) included, so you don’t have to buy them separately. If you want to save money on groceries, skip these products and look for store brands instead.
- Don’t be afraid to try any of the many budget apps available today. These apps can help you stick to your budget by allowing you to input all of your expenses and then categorize them automatically based on where they were spent. This can help when it comes time for taxes because it makes it easier for you to track expenses, but it also helps when creating a budget because it allows you to see where all of your money is going each month. If there’s one thing these apps have in common, it’s that they’re free!
- Keep an eye out for store coupons and manufacturer rebates that require little more than registering on a website or downloading an app before you make your purchase—or even after you’ve already bought something from a particular retailer or brand (for example, by entering a code that appears on your receipt into a website).
Remember, your goal shouldn’t be to find the cheapest product on the shelf. Instead, you want to get the best product for your dollar, whether that’s in terms of nutrition or taste. If you follow these tips and use some common sense, you should be able to make more informed choices about where you spend your grocery money. And hopefully, you’ll be saving a little more money (and doing a lot less damage to your health) in the process! In the end, a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to come with an equally high price tag. By shopping smartly, buying in season and staying on a budget, you can eat well without breaking the bank—and that’s something anyone can enjoy.