Grocery stores are expensive. But since we all have to eat, it can be difficult avoiding the costs that come along with groceries. It doesn’t help that it is very easy to go into the grocery store for a few items and leave with a cart full of items, and a completely empty wallet. Ever get that disappointed feeling when you realize that you’ve went completely over your food budget for the week? Chances are that we are spending way more at the grocery store then we should. Nevertheless, there’s some good news! Saving money on groceries is easier then it seems. Shop smarter with these 10 simple money-saving tips and tricks.
- Make A List
It’s incredibly easy to get way more items than you need at the grocery store. The sure fire way to avoid this scenario is to make a list of all the items you need to buy before going into the grocery store. Then, when you’re at the store, only get the items on the list. Doing so will save you plenty of money in the long run.
- Eat Before Grocery Shopping
One of the most common causes of going over your food budget is shopping while hungry. When you go to the store while hungry, the likelihood that you’ll get items you don’t need or even truly want is immensely high. Avoiding going to the grocery store while hungry is one of your best bets to spending less money while grocery shopping.
- Shop In The Morning
At the end of a long workday, the last thing you probably want to do is grocery shop. If possible, you should go to the grocery store in the morning. Getting your grocery shopping done while you’re refreshed will ensure that you only get the things you need. When you’re not tired, you’re less likely to impulse-buy.
- Buy Store Brands
Brand names are notoriously overpriced, but not necessarily better. Next time you go to the grocery store, try picking up some store brand items, and you’ll notice how much you’ll save!
- Use A Smaller Cart/Basket
Using a smaller cart or basket will make sure that you don’t buy items you don’t need. When we use a large cart, we’re more likely to fill it up with items we don’t necessarily need. Another good option if you’re only going to the store for a couple of things is just carrying the items you need. Many times we tell ourselves that we’re only going to the grocery store for a couple of things, but we end up with a cart or basket full of items, the best way to prevent that it to just carry what you need. So, depending on how many things you know you actually need, you should aim to either carry the items, or use a smaller cart/basket.
- Plan Meals Based On What You Already Have
Many times we have a specific recipe in mind, and when we realize that we don’t have the ingredients for that specific recipe, we go to the grocery store to get all those items. But, that is not really necessary. Before going to the grocery store to get ingredients for the specific recipe you have in mind, consider first going to your pantry and seeing what ingredients you already have, then, planning your meal around those ingredients. For example, if you have beans in your pantry, you could find some recipes using beans and make that, instead of going to the grocery store and spending money on tons of new ingredients for the other recipe you had in mind.
- Buy In-Season Produce
In-season produce is much cheaper. Whether you’re shopping at grocery stores or at the farmers market, making an effort to shop in-season produce is a must if you’re trying to stay on budget and save some money on food. For example, peaches and watermelons are much cheaper in July, than in October. So, buy in-season produce and you’ll see yourself saving tons of money on food throughout the year!
- Shop At Farmers Markets
Even though farmers markets might sound more expensive than grocery stores, they’re not. Shopping at farmers markets will save you money, and you’ll get farm fresh produce. You can find fresh fruits, vegetables, and lots of other goods at your local farmers market. Not only will you save money, but you’ll get better, fresher produce. It’s definitely a win-win!
- Shop At A Few Different Stores
If you only go to one grocery store and get all your items there, you’re most likely overpaying for some items. Every store has different deals on items, so visiting a few stores will ensure that you get everything for the best possible price. For example, for grocery staples you could shop at Aldi, for bulk items you could shop at Costco, and for organic items you could shop at Trader Joe’s. It’s all about discovering which stores near you have the best deals on the items that you consistently buy.
- Check The Clearance Aisle
Usually when we’re grocery shopping, we go straight to the aisles where the items we need are, get the things we need, and head out. But finding the clearance aisle and checking it out could potentially save lots of money. Typically stores have a variety of items on clearance, and buying those items would save you lots of money.