How to Save Money on Groceries
Close up of a cart with groceries.

Are you looking to save money on groceries? It’s easy to walk into a grocery store near you and buy what you don’t need. In addition to shopper’s guilt, this can also have a negative effect on your monthly budget. 

Cutting costs on groceries can seem challenging at first, but if you come up with a plan and implement minor changes to when, how, and where you shop, saving money is feasible. 

1. Eliminate food waste

Your grocery bill can skyrocket because of food waste as leftovers, produce that goes bad, and leaving things open in your pantry. To try to eliminate your waste, look at what you have in the kitchen before you go grocery shopping. So, make a list of what needs to be eaten in the next few days and what you already have. 

2. Meal prep

Planning out your meals for the week can you limit what you buy at the grocery store and help you use up what you already have. One key thing to keep in mind though–keep your meals simple. It’s easy to get swept away in pictures and recipes of cool-looking meals online or in cookbooks, but these often require a lot of time and a lot of ingredients. If it’s possible, try to plan meals that use similar ingredients and plan on the fact that you’ll have leftovers. 

3. Make a shopping list

When you go buy your groceries, keeping a physical list in your hand, whether it be on your phone or handwritten, can help you stick to buying what you need and avoid impulse purchases. If you keep a list, say in the notes section of your phone, you can use this as a base list and edit here and there on different weeks. At the store, make sure you delete or cross out the items you have already put into your cart. 

4. Shop less often

If you are young and have more time, or if you’re just someone who has an addiction to Trader Joe’s like the majority of the population, you are probably going to the grocery store once or twice a week. In a time with not much else to do and little social interaction, grocery shopping can often be fun and exciting. However, as most of you probably already know, it is hard to leave the store with just one item. Often times, you’re going to come out with a lot more than you planned on. Limiting your shopping to once a week or even once every two weeks if you can, can drastically help you cut money and cut down on food waste. 

5. Buy groceries online

Using a delivery service such as Instacart or Hello Fresh can help you save money on groceries even though you have to pay a fee. This helps to limit impulse buying and these platforms can help with meal planning. Many of these places also offer free shipping if you hit a minimum. 

6. Buy cheap pantry staples

Another way to save money on food is to buy affordable items such as rice and beans. Both are healthy and can be used many different ways. Other cheap dry goods are powdered milk, frozen/canned vegetables and fruit, canned meat and fish, oats, and pasta. These items also have a long shelf life unlike fresh produce. 

7. Go to a budget-friendly grocery store

Avoid going to stores such as Whole Foods where a bunch of strawberries is $6+. Other grocery stores are going to have the same or very similar products and charge much less money. 

8. Try to limit yourself to store brands

Often times, name-brand products are going to cost a lot more than store-brand products. Some might argue that the name-brand products are better, but are they really? Many times, the companies that make branded products also make the store brands and according to Consumer Reports, buying store-brand products can save you around 25%. 

9. Shop by yourself

Shopping by yourself lets you spend less time in the store, prevents you from buying additional items, and lets you stick to your list without getting distracted by a friend, partner, or child. 

10. Eat before going to buy groceries

As many of you probably already know, going grocery shopping while hungry is not the best idea. Shopping before a major meal such as lunch or dinner will make you more likely to add additional products to your cart as everything looks good. At the same time, it’s also better to avoid going to the grocery store after a meal or after a party. Shopping under the influence of alcohol can also increase your grocery bill. 

References

How to Save Money on Groceries” by Dave Ramsey

24 Ways to Save Money on Groceries – Food Shopping Tips on a Budget” by Amy Freeman from Money Crashers

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