Groceries are one of the biggest bills we have. The average American family of four spends approximately $5,259 on food at home per year. That doesn’t account for eating out or ordering in. And with inflation, the amount we spend on food is rising.
Not to fear, with some know-how and planning, there are many ways to save money on groceries. And you don’t have to compromise the quality of your food either. Here are some great tips for budgeting your grocery shopping while still enjoying delicious, satisfying meals.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
Meal planning is a classic tried and true way to save money on groceries. By planning your meals out, you can stretch your grocery budget further. In addition, it will help you to stick to only buying what you need. Check out our article: Best Cheap and Easy Family Meals for Under $20 for some great ideas.
Create a Grocery List
Once you have your meals planned for the week (or month), you will know what items you need. Creating a grocery list first can be a great advantage. Staying organized will help you save money and prevent the urge for impulse buys. Organizing your grocery list by section or aisle can save you time and keep you on track.
Use Online Pick-up or Delivery
Online grocery shopping has become widely available. It is an excellent way to save on your food bill. The most significant advantage is that it can help you avoid impulse buys. When you shop for groceries in-store, it’s too easy to purchase items that are not on your list. Stores know this and set up their aisles to grab your attention on purpose. Shopping online allows you to stick to your shopping list and avoid impulse purchases.
Another advantage of online grocery shopping is access to coupons and promotions. Many stores provide online coupons and specials that are not accessible in physical locations, allowing you to save even more money on your food bill.
Look for Sales and Use Coupons
Taking advantage of sales, deals, and coupons can save more money on groceries than you may think. Grocery stores typically offer weekly sales and discounts on specific items. You can save money by looking for these sales and planning your meals around them.
Coupons can also save money on items you regularly purchase and need. Couponing has become so popular that TLC has a television show on it! You can save a lot of cash at the supermarket by finding and using coupons. And extreme couponing can even turn into a can even be a fun and free hobby that helps your wallet.
Shop for Meat on Sale
Meat is easily one of the most expensive items on your grocery list, and lately, the cost is sky high. Look for meat that is on sale or marked down for quick sale. When you do find a good deal on meat, buy a bunch of it in bulk. You can freeze it for later use – frozen meat lasts a very long time. For some great tips and tricks on meat shopping, check out our article: 10 Ways To Save Money on the High Cost of Meat.
Buy In Bulk and Stock Up
While buying items in bulk costs more at the time of purchase, it can save you quite a bit of cash in the long run. Bulk buying is an excellent idea as long as you always make sure only to buy items you know you will use. Staple foods like rice, beans, pasta, flour, and sugar have a long shelf life, so storage is not an issue. Plus, these are items that you know you will need.
Shop Less Frequently
Heading to the grocery store often for smaller amounts of groceries can have you paying more for an item than you would if you had planned for it or bought it in bulk. Here is an example: you are grilling hamburgers but realize you don’t have any buns, so you quickly run to the store. Unfortunately, this leaves no time for price comparison or looking for deals, and you end up paying top dollar for them.
By making fewer trips to the grocery store, you’ll give yourself more time and space to consider what groceries are essential and make more mindful decisions. In addition, you are less likely to make impulse purchases.
Buy Generic Brands
Buying generic brand groceries can also help you save money. Generic or store-brand products are often less expensive than name brands. This is because they don’t have the same marketing costs.
Interestingly enough, many generic brands are made by the same manufacturers as their name-brand counterparts. In addition, they are produced using similar ingredients and production methods. Often, the quality of the generic brand is just as good, if not even better, than the name-brand version of it.
Avoid Pre-packaged and Pre-cut Items
Pre-packaged and pre-cut items are usually much more expensive than whole and raw food items. This is because the companies that sell these items have to incur extra costs in terms of packaging and transport. Also, these products must typically be stored in a controlled temperature environment, which adds to the cost.
Consider purchasing whole items and cutting them yourself to save money. This is an excellent way to save money because you will only pay for the goods, not the packaging or storage. And when you think about it, you’re actually paying someone to cut up your veggies for you. Do you really want to do that?
Avoid shopping when you are hungry
Don’t Shop Hungry
Eating a meal or snack before you go grocery shopping is a good idea. Several science publications have looked at the impact of hunger on grocery shopping. A 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that hungry consumers bought more high-calorie foods than those who had eaten before shopping, causing them to spend more.
Another study by the University of Minnesota showed that hungry shoppers bought more unhealthy foods than fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables. In addition, these unhealthy food often are more pricey.
Freeze Your Food
Don’t let your leftovers go in the trash. You are literally throwing money away. Instead, freeze them in portion-sized containers or bags for later use. This will prevent waste and save you plenty of money on groceries.
Cook From Scratch
Cooking from scratch is a classic tried-and-true way to save money on your grocery bill. Here’s why:
- Lower cost per serving: Cooking from scratch can be less expensive per serving than buying pre-packaged or prepared foods. This is especially true when you buy in bulk.
- Less food waste: Cooking from scratch allows you to yield only the amount of food you will eat right away.
- Healthier ingredients: Cooking from scratch means eating healthy. Fewer preservatives are a good thing. While you may not see the extra money today, eating healthy can save you money on medical costs later on.
- Leftovers: When you cook from scratch, you can make larger batches and have leftovers for future meals. This can save you money on buying additional meals or ingredients.
Saving money on groceries doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the food quality or how much you eat. With these simple tips and tricks, you may find that you have a surprising amount of money left over. Before we close, here are three more quick and easy ways to save money on groceries:
Use cashback apps
Cashback apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 offer cashback on grocery purchases. Simply scan your receipt and earn cashback on eligible items.
Use a rewards program
Many grocery stores offer rewards or loyalty programs where you earn points or discounts on purchases. Signing up for the programs is usually very easy and can score you some great deals.
Use a price comparison app
Price comparison apps like Flipp and Price Cruncher allow you to compare prices at different grocery stores. Use these kinds of apps to find the best prices for the groceries on your list.