It’s that time of the week again: grocery shopping day. You’re dreaming of cooking up a Chef’s Table-inspired week’s worth of dishes but your bank account says more instant noodles and less delicious aged cheese, organic veggies, and grass-fed beef. But we all deserve to eat like queens of our kitchens, so how do we curb spending our whole paycheck at the supermarket or grocery store? Get yourself a shopping list app, lock down a budget, and check out our round up of proven tips and tricks on saving money on groceries.
Including your grocery shopping into your weekly and/or monthly budget is crucial. To figure out your grocery shopping budget, track your current spending and then consider using a grocery shopping calculator to determine how much of your income you should set aside for grocery shopping.
2) Shop on a Full Stomach
It’s an oldie but a goodie of a rule. When you’re starving, you’re going to stock up on…well, anything. You’ll buy less snacks and take-out food, which tend to be pricey. According to a survey, shoppers spend an average of 64 percent more when hungry. Also, try to shop when you’re not feeling tired and stressed. You’ll be more likely to make better choices when you’re satiated and feeling calm.
3) Make a Grocery List and Stick to it
According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, supermarkets are places of high impulse buying with 60 to 70 percent of purchases being unplanned. The solution? People make a grocery list are least likely to avoid impulse spending, and can save up to 23 percent on their grocery bills. So make a list and stick to it! If you’re looking to save money for vacation and planning on buying groceries there, make the shopping list ahead of time and estimate the cost to help budget.
4) Plan Your Meals a Week Ahead
How do you make an effective grocery list? By meal prepping and planning. Plan your meals for the week before you shop and then buy strictly what’s on the menu.
5) Save Money on Groceries App
There are a number of groceries app out there that can help you save major money on your shopping. No more clipping coupons! Just clicking on these frugal-friendly and time-saving apps. Some top favorites include: Flipp, Coupon Sherpa, MealBoard, and GroceryPal.
6) Be Careful With In-store Sales and Coupons
While you certainly want to be aware of in-store sales and coupons, you also don’t want to buy something just because it’s on sale. For example, maybe your grocery store is selling mustard for 50 percent off but what good is that if you don’t really eat mustard? If the food item isn’t on your grocery list, then your best bet is to skip it. Same goes for those “2-4-1” deals. It’s only a good deal if you’ll actually use two.
7) Shop With a Calculator
As you shop, add up your grocery bill to help you stay on your grocery shopping budget. Have kids? Make them a part of it and they might even like going grocery shopping with you.
8) Buy in Bulk
For major staples that you use on a regular basis, you might want to consider buying in bulk. Pantry staples like grains, beans, rice, tofu, lentils, seeds, and flour are cheaper in bulk. Not only are they budget-friendly but they’re also filling and healthy, and are easy staples to add to any meal.
9) Buy Fewer Pre-Packaged Meals and More Fruits and Veggies
Pre-packaged foods, like a bag of pre-cut broccoli and grated cheese, tend to be more expensive than buying a whole broccoli and a block of cheese. Adding more fruits and veggies are a great idea too — you can decrease your grocery budget by up to 25 percent when you opt for fresh produce — and keep your eating habits healthier too.
10) Buy Store or No-Name Brands
Not only are many made by the brand name companies, just with a different label, but they also taste basically the same and cost less!