Hot tips to save money at the grocery?? YES, PLEASE! It is a great feeling to have extra cash in your bank account at the end of the month. Whether you are trying to save money or not, we can all benefit from taking cost-saving measures when buying necessities. In the current economic climate, no one is judging us for trying to save some extra cash. We all can benefit from more dollars in our wallets, so read on to learn some insider tips and get to saving!
Cost-saving Tips to Help Tame Your Grocery Bill
- MEAL PLANNING. Proper meal planning will save you money and extra trips to the grocery. One easy way is to make index cards of your family’s favorite meals. Mix and match each week to avoid repetition. For bonus savings, calculate the price per meal on these cards so you can quickly budget each week.
- USE WHAT YOU’VE GOT. How often do we see our family look in the fridge and declare, “There’s nothing to eat!” It’s time to prove them wrong! Use items you have before running to the store. Organize your fridge, freezer, and pantry regularly, and be sure that perishables are front and center. Consider keeping a list of main ingredients in your refrigerator and freezer so you don’t forget key items.
- REWARDS PROGRAMS ARE A MUST. Many stores have rewards programs that are extremely beneficial to your pocketbook. Some stores require you to be a member to receive the special savings posted in the store. Additional perks may be custom coupons or gasoline perks.
- STICK TO YOUR LIST. Impulse purchases can really blow your grocery budget. Make sure to make a detailed list and stick to it. *TIP* Organize your list by location within the store. Once you complete an area, move to the next. Less time hunting will result in fewer impulse purchases.
- UNIT PRICE FOR THE WIN. Grocery stores are infamous for trying to confuse you into spending more money; this is your chance to outsmart them! Using your smartphone calculator you can quickly calculate the unit price by taking the price and dividing by the number of units (ie ounces or number of items). Then do the same for the product you are comparing. You’ll be surprised how many times the smaller container is actually less expensive per unit than the larger item!
- COUPONS ARE KEY. Never underestimate the power of coupons! Did you know that you can use one store coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon on the same item? If you are a member of your store’s rewards program, you will likely get targeted coupons in the mail on your favorite items. Don’t throw these untapped savings in the trash!
- LAST CALL. Most stores have clearance or “must go” areas throughout the store. Familiarize yourself with these areas and take a quick scan. Sometimes a dented can or box is enough to qualify it for a discount. Bakeries and meat departments also have discount areas. Day-old bread is GREAT for making breadcrumbs or gourmet croutons. The discounted meat is usually near its expiration date, but if you eat it or freeze it today, no problem! And have we forgotten that unlike other aged meats, aged beef is actually a premium item?
- WHO NEEDS DESIGNER FOOD? The days of generic items with white boxes and black print are long gone. Generic and store brands now have slicker packaging and much better branding, not to mention a much tastier price tag! Before quickly grabbing your favorite can of diced tomatoes, look around and see if there are other brands that are suitable substitutes. Grocery store psychology is a complex science, so taking time to look high and low will only benefit your bottom line.
- STAY ALERT AT CHECKOUT. It is commonplace to have pricing errors. Be sure to watch the screen at checkout to be sure your sale items register accurately. If you see a “too good to be true” sale, take a photo of the price so you can refer back to it at checkout. Also, try putting any items for which you want to double-check the pricing at the beginning or end of your checkout belt so you remember to confirm price accuracy.
- SHOP INTERNATIONAL. There are numerous international groceries in most cities. Not surprisingly, staples in Mexican cooking are vastly cheaper at a Mexican grocery. Instead of 1 avocado for $1, you’ll get 4 or more for that same price! Taco Tuesday and Sunday brunch’s huevos rancheros are family favorites! Don’t forget the Asian and Indian markets as well.
- PACKAGE YOUR OWN SNACKS. You pay a premium for individually packed snacks. By buying an item in a larger quantity and using your own reusable snack containers, you are reducing waste AND saving money.
- ORDER GROCERIES ONLINE. By ordering groceries online, it will be easier to stick to your list. Most services keep a list of items you regularly order. This makes it easy to shop quickly and not add unnecessary items to your car.
- REVIEW YOUR RECEIPT. Take a look at your receipt once you are home and circle any items above $10. You will begin to see patterns in your shopping. Ignorance may be bliss, but ignorant shopping sure is more expensive.
- BRING YOUR OWN BAGS. Grocery stores around the country are adjusting their in-store policies on personal shopping bags in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. However, whenever possible – and wherever allowed – try to bring your own reusable bags. This is an easy habit to develop – and think of all the paper and plastic you won’t be using!