With groceries, it’s easy to get caught up in saving pennies. After all, a dollar spent is a dollar earned, right? When you consider that grocery bills can take up an average of 17% of your household budget, according to the USDA, that one dollar you thought you saved could be costing you much more. It’s crucial to stay on top of what you’re spending on food and ensure you’re only spending for your best interest. If you want to spend less on your grocery bill, follow these simple ways. That’s why we’ve prepared this list on how to save on groceries!
1. Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals is the biggest thing you can do to save money at the grocery store. It allows you to compare prices, create shopping lists and even prepare some meals in advance to reheat them when you get home from work.
The average person throws out $275 worth of food each year, which means you could be wasting $260 every time you go to the supermarket without any plan. You don’t have to shop for three meals a day every week—it’s better and easier to plan for two or three days.
For instance, think about what you would like to eat for dinner on Wednesday evening together with the side dishes and healthy snacks. Then head to the store, get your ingredients, and prepare those meals. This way, you will end up saving a few dollars each week.
2. Choose Generic
You get what you pay for, right? Not necessarily. The USDA reports that there are often no noticeable differences between “brand name” and generic products. The same applies to grocery items. The most expensive brand isn’t always the best; sometimes, it’s more expensive due to a company’s marketing efforts.
Generally, generic products tend to be less expensive because they don’t have to cover advertising and marketing costs, which can add up. Although that doesn’t mean generics are always worth it—you may hedge your bets by sticking with well-known brands for expensive items like fresh produce—generics can save you a lot of money on groceries if you use them as a replacement for more expensive name brands.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Discounts and Sales
It may seem obvious, but you can save a lot of money by simply keeping an eye out for sales and discounts. If you regularly purchase the same items, such as toilet paper or laundry detergent, keep a list so that you know what to buy when they go on sale.
Keep an eye out for coupons as well; browse through newspapers each week or visit some coupon websites (like SnipSnap) to find better deals. If any items rarely go on sale in your area—or if they don’t go on sale very often—consider purchasing them online. You may be able to score deals at sites like eBay or Amazon.
Finally, check weekly ads at grocery stores near you and compare prices with competitors’ stores. This way, you can take advantage of local deals without paying shipping fees!
4. Buy Fresh, Seasonal Produce
Buying produce in season is the best way to save money on groceries. This way, you’ll be getting the lowest prices and eating the freshest food possible without worrying about it going bad before your next trip to the store—or worse, wastefully throwing away veggies.
This tip also applies when you’re shopping for non-produce items. For example, buying a bag of apples from Mexico instead of Washington State isn’t just an environmentally unfriendly choice; it will cost more than twice as much.
Therefore, don’t even consider buying any out-of-season locally grown produce. These days, there are plenty of farmers’ markets where what’s considered “in season” varies from place to place depending on climate and weather patterns.
5. Buy in Bulk When It’s Cheaper
Additionally, buying veggies in bulk can save a dime. It’s simple: the more you buy at once, the less you’ll have to spend per item. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying boxes of cereal, cans of soup, or even individual fruit and veggies—you can save a lot by getting them at once.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’re buying store-brand items, they’ll be cheaper in bulk, so check the unit prices on the shelf tags.
6. Don’t Shop Hungry
When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to make impulse purchases and spend money on things that aren’t necessities. And the less you spend on extra food items, the more you’ll save on your grocery bill. So to avoid this trap, make sure you eat before heading to the store.
If you can’t get to the store right when it opens, try making a list of everything you need beforehand and stick with it for the rest of your shopping. This will make it harder for you to pick up extras or go overboard with your food choices.
7. Shop at Warehouse Clubs
Warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco offer huge savings since they buy bulk from manufacturers who want more exposure for their products and services. Plus, these clubs provide significant discounts for memberships and sometimes even free samples from vendors.
You can save a good amount of money by shopping in these wholesale grocery stores.
8. Check for Rebates
Major grocery chains offer rebates, which can help you save anywhere from $10 to $50 per month, adding up to hundreds of dollars per year. For instance, Ibotta offers rebates on items bought at Target and Walmart. If you use their app while shopping, you’ll receive cash back for specific items like cereals and frozen goods.
As always, every little bit helps when it comes to grocery bills. It’s easy to get carried away spending money on fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re in season – but don’t go overboard! Keep your eye out for sales and make a run for it when you spot them.
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do to save on groceries. Ultimately, at Consumer Protection Group, we understand what our clients in debt need. We educate the public on managing debt because we’ve been there. We know just how daunting it is. Contact us so we can work together towards your financial freedom.