Top 10 Ways to Save When You’re Grocery Shopping

If you feel as though your grocery bill has been steadily increasing, you're not alone. Over the past year, the price of groceries has jumped a shocking 2.4%. So you might be thinking, "is there any way I can save on groceries?" There are indeed many ways! Here are 10 helpful tips you can use the next time you go grocery shopping:

1. Buy Store Brands

Changing what brands you put into your shopping cart can save you lots of money. It’s one of the easiest ways to save on groceries, and the quality of the product is practically the same. Buying the store brand will typically save you up to 30%.

2. Make a Shopping List and Stick to it

When you’re on a budget, impulse buys will bleed your wallet dry. All those little $5 dollar purchases can add up, and you don’t necessarily need that extra little snack or trinket. So, how do you fix that issue? Make a shopping list and stick to it. You go the old-fashioned route by using a piece of paper and pencil. On the other hand, you can use a plethora of free apps. You can use Out of Milk, AnyList, and Pantry Check, just to name a few.

3. Plan Your Meals for the Week Based on What’s on Sale

When you’re looking for ways to save on groceries, reading the weekly sales circular can be helpful. Using a recipe ingredient matching site such as SuperCook.com can help when you’re looking for affordable recipes. These kinds of sites give you meal ideas based on what you have at home and what items are on sale in a given week.

4. Know the Sales Cycle and Stock Up When Things Are on Sale

Be sure to remember the regular prices of the 10 most common items you buy at the grocery store. That can help you identify sales cycles. You can use MyGroveryDeals.com to look for the best deals around where you live before you go grocery shopping. 

5. Find Coupons Before You Go to the Store

Back in the day, you used to have to buy copies of the Sunday newspaper to get your grocery coupons. But now the Sunday coupon circulars routinely show up in your mailbox. Just check those bulk mail circulars that you may be throwing away right now. 

You can also find these coupons online. If your regular grocery store is a chain, you can also go on to their website to look for the coupons. In addition, you can go onto websites such as BeFrugal.com and Coupons.com as well. 

6. Use Cash Back Apps

Take advantage of getting cashback. You can use apps such as Ibotta, Checkout 51, Fetch Rewards, and Rakuten every time you go grocery shopping. 

7. Buy in Bulk 

It’s always cheaper to buy in bulk. Buying necessities in bulk such as dish soap, hand soap, and paper towels will save you a lot of money. You can also save on shelf-stable pantry staples such as honey, maple syrup, dried goods, and vinegar.

Some of the best healthy foods you can buy in bulk are: 

- Dried beans and lentils

- Frozen meat and poultry 

- Frozen fruits and vegetables

- Honey 

- Oats

- Dried Fruit

- Nuts in the Shell

- Whole Grains

- Dried Pasta

- Chia Seeds 

8. Break Packages at the Meat Counter To Save Money

Say you see a package of sausages that contains six large links and is sold by the pound. But maybe you need only two or three of those links. Just go to the window at the meat department and ask the clerk to break the package for you. You can save a lot of money by doing this. 

You’ll get it repackaged and repriced at the meat counter, and you won’t end up paying for food that you don’t use. You can do this with any meats such as steak, chicken breast, and pork chops. 

9. Be Wary of Sneaky Product Placement 

Retailers often put items with high-profit margins right at eye level on their shelves. There is a saying that goes in the industry, “eye level is, buy level.” So, if you really want to be a savvy shopper you have to look all around you for the most affordable items. That’s sometimes where you’ll find the store brand or just second-tier brands that deliver acceptable quality for a lower price than the big names.

10. Never Shop on an Empty Stomach

If you shop on an empty stomach, you’ll most likely buy food you don’t need. To avoid these impulse purchases, have a meal or a snack before you head to the grocery store. Most importantly, stick to your list.

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Vola supports over 6000 banks and credit unions and uses one of the nation’s largest bank connection providers to securely establish a link to your account.

Vola is transparent. There are NO HIDDEN FEES Vola operates by charging a subscription fee, there are no other charges. If the features offered by Vola are not compatible with your bank or phone, Vola Finance will refund you your subscription fee.

What is the 70/20/10 Budgeting Method?

How do you beat the financial blues? This is a concern for people of all income levels. According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 64% of adults indicated money was a significant source of their stress. To ease your financial stresses, it’s key to have a monthly budget. One type of budgeting is the 70/20/10 method. The 70/20/10 split model can be helpful for a majority of households. 70% of your monthly budget should go to monthly expenses and 20% should go to savings. The last 10% should go to debt. If you’re in a position where you don’t have a debt to pay off, this 10% can also go to donations. 

So, how do you build this budget? Let’s break it down.

How to calculate your monthly income

Use your net monthly income as the baseline for how to budget each month. To calculate your monthly income you first have to figure out your yearly pay. Multiply your hourly wage by the number of hours you work each week. Then, multiply the total by 52. Now that you know your annual gross income, divide it by 12. You’ll be left with your monthly income.

What is the 70%?

Living Expenses. This includes your mortgage/rent, groceries, gas for the car, childcare, etc. Basically, all of your living expenses are necessities. Calculate 70% of your net monthly income and subtract your living expenses. If you have income left for this category, that’s money you can spend on other things. If you don’t, that is completely okay. We will cover expendable income later on in this article. 

What is the 20%?

Savings. This percentage breaks down into three subcategories. The first subcategory is 10% for retirement. If you’re younger, this might seem like a silly task. But, putting aside funds for retirement early on is extremely crucial. It’s estimated that a retiring couple could need up to $295,000 for health care alone, so it’s important to plan ahead and start saving as soon as possible.

Next, set aside 5% for emergencies. Emergencies can include anything from car trouble to periods of unemployment. It’s there for any large, unforeseen expenses that may come your way. As we’ve seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be prepared for anything. It’s tempting to dip into this fund, but leaving it alone for as long as possible is crucial.

The remaining 5% is for your specific goals. This is where you’ll put a little extra away for things like vacations, a new car, college tuition, etc. Similar to your emergency fund, this 5% is all about planning ahead. 

What is the 10%?

Debt. Part of the reason this model can be so helpful is this last category. Anyone can acquire debt. It can pile up from car loans, student loans, medical costs, credit cards, etc. The last 10% of your budget will go to paying down any long-term debt.

If your goal is to have more financial stability, it’s good to have a perspective on your debt. Hopefully, with some more discipline, you’ll slowly get out of debt. 

If you’re in a place where you don’t have any debt, consider donating to a cause that is important to you!

Adjust 

If you’re able to cover each category with funds left over, you’re on a great path. Keep saving and planning ahead!

If it doesn’t add up, do not fret! Now that you have your expenses organized, look at where you’ve gone over budget. For example, if your debt is at 15%, you may need to temporarily reduce one of the other categories. You may have to reduce your savings for specific goals. In the meantime, you can set a personal goal to get that number down to 10%. If it's difficult to adhere to the 70/20/10 ratio, then you can make adjustments if needed.

Saving for future expenses is just as important to pay off debt. If you’re over budget on your living expenses, consider adding another source of income or cutting back. You can pick up a side hustle, eat out less, or limit how many online streaming services you use.

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It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all for structuring a budget. The 70/20/10 method might not be for you. Your needs and goals will change as you get older. No matter which model you choose, the most important factors are having clear goals and discipline. If you’re able to stick to your budget, you’ll be able to lessen your financial stresses.

About Vola:

Vola Finance can advance you up to $300 at NO INTEREST. Vola Finance can make sure your bank balance does not get too low and alert you before it does so that you don’t pay overdraft or NSF fees. Furthermore, Vola Finance breaks down your spending pattern to help you budget your upcoming expenses and find ways for you to save.

Vola supports over 6000 banks and credit unions and uses one of the nation’s largest bank connection providers to securely establish a link to your account.

Vola is transparent. There are NO HIDDEN FEES Vola operates by charging a subscription fee, there are no other charges. If the features offered by Vola are not compatible with your bank or phone, Vola Finance will refund you your subscription fee.

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