If you want to save money on groceries, you’ll need to learn a few simple tricks. A grocery bill can be a big part of a family’s monthly budget, but it is definitely possible to save money grocery shopping and still buy the foods that you love. You just need to be strategic and smart about your shopping habits. Here are 10 key hacks if you want to save on groceries and have more money left over for other expenses.
1. Use coupons
You can get a Sunday paper to obtain coupons for many products, or can buy coupons clipped from the Sunday paper from websites online. You can also print coupons from a wide variety of websites. Use coupons for every product you can, otherwise you are essentially giving away free money. If you match up coupons with sales, you can really save money on groceries. Even if you just use coupons for items that are not on sale, you can still get big savings.
2. Stock up when items are on sale
If an item goes on sale, there is no reason that you must only buy one or two of the item. Grocery stores typically put items on sale on a regular cycle, with sales repeating around every six weeks. If something you regularly use goes on sale, buy the number you need to get you through to the next sale in six weeks. That way, you’ll never have to pay full price.
3. Buy generic
Generic brand products cost around 30 percent less, according to Time. In most cases, the taste and the quality are the same between the generic and the name brand product. The only difference is the price tag.
4. Plan your meals based on the grocery store flyer
Grocery stores put sales in their flyers. Use those flyers to plan your meals for the week so you’re taking advantage of the deals. By planning around what is on sale, you should be able to avoid paying full price for the more expensive components of your meals, like meats.
5. Calculate unit price
While most people assume the largest package is always the best deal, this is not necessarily the case in every situation. You should compare the cost per unit (like cost per ounce or cost per item) and find out which deal is truly the best one so you don’t waste money buying the more expensive size. Many stores will even put the per-unit price on the shelf tags to make it easier to save money on groceries.
6. Stick to your list
You should make a shopping list before you go to the store and then stick to it. This will allow you to ensure you buy only what you need and aren’t tempted. Grocery stores are set up to prompt you to buy more but you can outsmart their marketing tactics by shopping with a list.
7. Go shopping by yourself
When you shop with kids, obviously you’ll have distractions from your list and could be prompted to spend more. You kids may also ask you to toss stuff into your cart for them. But it’s not just shopping with kids that could prompt you to overbuy. Going shopping with a partner or friend may also make you more prone to buying impulse items.
8. Avoid going shopping when you’re hungry
If you’re hungry, you’re much more likely to make impulse buys that add to your bill. Being hungry makes you want to acquire not just food, but any items when you’re out shopping, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Eat a big meal before you shop so you’re full and won’t be tempted to start throwing stuff in the cart just because it looks good.
9. Check out options outside of the grocery store
You shouldn’t assume buying everything at the grocery store is cheaper. Many items, including toiletries, dairy products, and even pet food can often be purchased for a lower cost at drug stores than at your grocery store — especially if you use coupons and match those coupons up with drug store sales. You may also want to look into warehouse clubs, which can bring you significant savings.
10. Skip the prepared and convenience foods
One of the best ways to save money grocery shopping is to avoid paying extra for foods that are designed for convenience. This includes items like pre-cut berries and pre-washed lettuce, as well as prepared meals that you can take home and eat up. You pay for having the prep work done for you, and it’s often not worth the premium price when it takes you just a few minutes to wash lettuce or slice up some strawberries.
Have any questions about how to save money on groceries? Have a tip you want to share with us? Just comment below!