In this blog, we will show you how to save money on groceries. We’ve prepared a complete guide for you. You will be surprised to see how much you can save in groceries in a year without sacrificing important items.
A survey shows that we can easily save $20-$40 on grocery shopping each time if we follow a certain discipline and expert tips (as explained in this article later).
Let’s do some maths to show you how much you can save every year just on the grocery.
Usually, we go for grocery shopping 1-3 times a week on an average depending on each individual. Now, as per the survey, we can save $20-$0 each time, this means we can easily save $20-$120 a week depending on how much we shop on unnecessary items. That’s $1,040 – $6,240 saving in a year!
Buying groceries can be both fun and stressful. It is so easy to spend money on things we don’t need. In this article, we will go through exclusive tips to save money on groceries and different methods to help you spend less on groceries without feeling that you had to sacrifice.
Trust me, it is a fun journey. This means you can save money yet you won’t have to sacrifice. When you see those savings at the end of the year, it will all be worth it.
Below are some tips on how to save money on groceries you can actually follow through next time you visit the grocery store:
1. Plan ahead
If you really wish to learn how to save money on groceries then this step is the most important.
Although buying groceries is a regular task, it is always best to plan it ahead. Planning ahead saves money and time. One of the reasons why we get stressed is because we often fail at meeting our budget. More often than not, we buy things we don’t really need. Planning ahead of time keeps us focused and aware of the things we need to buy and actually avoid buying things we don’t need and helps us avoid forgetting any item.
This will stop you from walking through every single item on the supermarket shelf. The more you items you browse through, the more you may feel like to buy them. Supermarkets spend thousands of dollars in marketing or promoting the products and make sure you buy 2 to 5 times more than what you came for. Having a list of grocery items you really need will save you from buying unnecessary items.
We all are guilty of picking up items just because they are on sale, regardless we really need them or not. Many times head to supermarketing thinking to buy just the bread, milk and rice. however, by the time we are done shopping we have 5 to 10 items more than what we came for. Raise your hand if you can associate with this!
So make a list of things you need and stick to it. Stay away from those “SPECIALS” unless they are something you really need.
If something you really need is in special discount, then you can actually buy in bulk to save money in the long term.
2. Shop the farmers market at the end of the day.
Want to know how to spend less on groceries? Well, this can save you a lot of money on fruits, veg and more. Go to any farmers market at around the time when they are about to close for the day and you will see hell lot of discounts. Why? Well, because they would like to sell as much as they can before they close for that day. Needless to mention, fruits and veg has a tendency to go bad quickly. So they will give you a discount even they do not make much profit in those items as its better to sell then throw the next day.
Walk around your local farmers market toward closing time and see what kind of deals you can score. Make a reasonable offer for the box of produce they have left. Chances are, you’ll get a great deal on delicious, fresh fruits and veggies!
3. Make a list
When you actually plan ahead, you get an idea of what you will be spending on because it will then be easier to calculate and estimate things. Of course, you will need to make a grocery list as you plan. Your plan would not be as effective without a list. Your list will be your guide but you have to see to it that you stick with your list. Otherwise, you will not be able to follow through your allotted budget for groceries.
There are even different grocery list shopping apps to help you with making the budget grocery list.
4. Buy in bulks
This technique really works well for larger families or those who consume a lot of stuff every month. The thing with buying in bulks is that the items that can be bought in large quantities can be used in the following days to come. Toiletries, canned goods, frozen foods, and many other items that take longer to expire can be stored for future use.
5. Consult your social calendar.
Imagine spending money on groceries and things for the event that may not be happening or cancelled. Or if you certainly have the event, plan ahead to get grocery when they are in discounts as you may need them in bulk.
You’ll also want to think about the week’s upcoming activities. A study on U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends shares that 63% of households think eating meals together as a family is important. But we all know life gets busy. With kids participating in croquet, chess club or choir, some of your nights aren’t conducive to a three-course meal. To beat the drive-thru temptation, know those nights are coming, and plan easy-to-make meals.
Even no-kid couples and singles have to deal with active evening itineraries. Look ahead as you plan.
6. Create a budget-friendly meal plan
Your meal plan is the basis for the items you buy when you do your groceries. If you feel like you are spending way too much on your groceries, try to take a look at what you eating. Set a budget and from that, create a meal plan that would fit that budget.
7. Ignore eye-level items.
Have you ever noticed how the most expensive items on the grocery shelves tend to be right at your eye level? That’s no coincidence.
Grocery stores are smart. They want you to go for the splurge items! Instead of falling for those marketing tricks, look up and down as you shop. The more affordable brands could be higher or lower on the shelves. Think of it as a treasure hunt for the best price!
8. Try different grocery stores.
Why did you pick your current grocery store? Is it the friendliest? Is it in the most convenient location? If we’re being honest, most of us probably shop where we do out of habit. Don’t let a comfortable routine cost you money.
If you’re not sure which grocery stores are worth your time and money, ask around. People who are getting the best deals will gladly gush about their favorite spots.
Also, if you want to save money on food, be sure to check the weekly ads in your area for what’s on sale at competing grocery stores. You might find that shopping at the store down the street is costing extra money in the long run. Figuring out a new shopping plan may be frustrating at first, but it’s worth it to keep some extra cash in your pocket.
9. Learn the sales cycles.
Are you ready to do a little detective work? Start paying attention to when your favorite items go on sale and how much the price drops. You might even want to jot it all down in a small notebook or on your smartphone. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re keeping track of those sales so you can see if there’s a trend. Soon you’ll be able to anticipate them before they hit!
10. Refer to your list
When paying at the cashier, line up your grocery items according to your priorities. As much as possible, refer to your list.
This is an old strategy but it really works. Sometimes, we tend to buy things that are not on our list. These items that are not really needed have to stay at the end of the line when you are paying at the counter. The only time you can go and actually buy them is when you feel that you have extra money left. If you have to spend way more than what you had originally planned, then that might be a huge problem. The key is to stick with your plan and your budget and see whether there is still room for the extra, fewer priority items.
11. Bring your own bag
Many of us have plethora of bags sitting at home, we forget to bring them with us and then end up buying them at the store. It’s time to bring your own bag to the grocery store! Lots of stores will give you a discount off your total grocery bill just for bringing in a reusable bag. Your savings will usually run somewhere between five and 10 cents per bag! Five bags could save you anywhere from 25 to 50 cents. Hey, savings are savings!
12. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
People do a lot of silly things when they’re hungry. They say things they don’t really mean, eat all of their roommate’s chips, and aimlessly stroll the grocery store aisles like zombies.
And while your best friend might not hold you responsible for what you said when you were “hangry,” your grocery bill won’t let you off the hook so easily. Step away from the 48-count of frozen waffles and put back that pineapple upside-down cake from the bakery.
Walk into the grocery store with a full stomach, and you might be shocked by how much lower your grocery bill is!
One of the best ways on how to spend less on groceries is to actually produce your own organic products. If you have a space in your backyard, or if you can find time to do a bit of gardening, you will see that it really helps to minimize your vegetable needs a budget. It is a healthy practice, on top of it all.
Some of us grow our own herbs like mint, basil etc and these small plants provide us regular supply of these herbs with very less maintenance. This saves money and give you fresh herbs regular supply. Also no hassle of going to grocery store to buy them, they are right there in your backyard.
14. Do not underestimate leftovers
Leftovers aren’t really leftovers if you know how to be creative in the kitchen. As much as possible, try to eat with the idea that any leftover can still be kept and stored for the next days. With meat meals, for example, a simple refrigerating helps a lot. A frozen leftover can still be cooked depending on how you want to use it.
15. Preserve and store away.
When ingredients are overflowing at the farmers market (or in your garden), buy in bulk and preserve them for the winter. Yes, it may seem like you’re spending more during the summer between the extra produce and canning jars. But think of each one of those jars of tomato sauce or pickles as an investment.
You can buy a box of pasta for a couple of bucks and pull a container of your homemade “summer in a jar” tomato sauce off the shelf in the winter. You’ll have created an affordable dinner, plus think about how gratifying it will be to eat sauce you made!
And speaking of sauce, you can save yourself time and effort if you invest in a vacuum sealer. Plan a day where you make big batches of sauces—like curry, tomato, cheese, etc. Vacuum seal and freeze them for when you want all the comfort of a flavorful sauce with minimal effort. All you need is some simmering water or a slow cooker to revive the sauce. Bon appétit!
16. Use apps on your smartphone.
When you’re searching for ways to save money on groceries, don’t forget about all the grocery shopping apps out there!
Ibotta, Receipt Hog, Checkout 51 and Walmart’s Savings Catcher are just a few of the great apps that can help you save. While rebates don’t give you a discount up front (like a traditional coupon), you should see savings in the long run.
17. Buy generic Brands where possible
Many generic brands have similar quality to popular brands’ products. Even your super market may have their own brand and that may be much cheaper than popular brands.
A group of Consumer Reports “taste testers” found that most store brands measure up to the name brands in taste and quality—and they’re usually 15–30% lower in price! In other words, your less expensive lasagna will taste just as delicious as Grandma’s.
Furthermore, aAccording to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, when buying staples like salt, sugar and baking soda, chefs were more likely to buy generic than you and me.2 And they’re the food experts! The study concluded that if more consumers purchased store brands, we could save roughly $44 billion.
With that kind of money on the line, it pays to be brand disloyal.
“We shop at a great grocery store known for their low prices, and most stuff we buy is generic. We no longer buy desserts or junk food, which cut probably $200 from our budget.” — Erin A.
18. Always do a price check
One important thing you must do to save money on groceries is to do a price check. This way, you will know when prices go up and down and maybe take advantage of that.
19. If you buy it—use it!
Nothing is worse than discovering funky vegetables and fruit floating through the abyss in the back of your fridge. And to make it worse, all those rotten cucumbers and moldy peaches are dollar signs you just wasted. Ouch!
Try your best to actually use what you buy at the grocery store. Put a list on the front of your refrigerator if you think that will help jog your memory. Whatever you do, just don’t let those items go to waste.
20. Do not be easily tricked by items that are on sale
This is something we all could relate to. Most of the time, we think we save money when we rush on buying items that are for sale. We tend to forget we actually don’t need these things because we get way too excited and overwhelmed with the sudden fall of prices. Before buying, think carefully whether or not you really need the items regardless if they’re on sale.
All these things listed are tips we can all apply when we do our groceries, which is a very tricky chore if we do not pay close attention to it. It is important, however, that we discipline ourselves into making sure that we manage our finances well.