One of the reasons why saving money on groceries is so important is that it is one of those expenses you have the most control over. Think about it. How to save money on groceries?
You can’t reduce your home payments, your car payments, or your health insurance premiums. That means you need to find other places to save money, and groceries are one great category where you can.
To help you with this effort, we provide you with 30 ways to save money at grocery stores; choose any 10, and I bet you can reduce your grocery bill. It’s better to do it at different stages of the grocery buy.
What should you do before you leave the house?
If you’re serious about saving money on groceries, there are a few things you need to do before you leave the house.
1. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
That might sound old-school, but you should never shop for groceries without having a detailed list of everything you need. That is not only a reminder of what you need to buy, but it also works as a safety measure to keep you from buying what you don’t need (always stick to your list!).
Some items that may not be necessary must also be checked. And the reason for this is that if you seem to be over budget, you can bypass these off-menu items.
2. Check out grocery store flyers.
Almost every grocery store publishes a weekly bulletin announcing this week’s special offers. You should always pay attention to this brochure. Any items offered for sale can be brought to the store. You can also highlight special offers in your list, so you know to look for them when you’re in the store.
3. Find coupons for higher-priced items.
Don’t limit yourself to coupons at the store. Many manufacturers offer coupons on their websites that are not available elsewhere. Check the brand’s website for higher-priced items and see what is available before shopping.
For example, razor blades are expensive. But before you go to the store, check the Gillette website and look for coupons. Another more general source is Printablecoupons.com. You have vouchers for a wide range of manufacturers, giving you access to deals on a wide range of products on one site.
4. Set a spending budget.
That is one of the best ways to stay on budget with groceries. If you go to the grocery store without a budget, it’s sad to feel bad about how much you’ve spent by the time you get home.
You can fix this by setting a fixed dollar amount and staying within that budget no matter what. If you reach the end of the market, you can put some items back by the time you realize you’re over budget (remember in Tip 1, I said some things on your list may not be necessary).
5. Count prices while shopping.
When you buy and check items from the listing, enter the item’s price on the left side of the listing. Before leaving, total your purchases. That will allow you to know your grocery bill before you go. If you go over budget, this is when you can decide which items to return.
But it also has another important purpose. Knowing the total bill value before you leave will determine if you have been charged for any items. For example, if your listing totals $200 but the final bill is $212, you’ll know there’s a problem. You can check it and pay attention to it before leaving the store.
6. Take a calculator with you.
To help you stay on budget, add up your grocery bill as you shop.
7. Avoid Shopping when you’re hungry.
That’s the most common tip for saving money on groceries, but that’s because it’s effective. If you go to a food store on an empty stomach, you are guaranteed to buy more than you planned. But eating a good meal before helps you stay within your budget.
Choose where to shop.
Here are strategies to get you out of the places where you’ll spend a lot of money and into those where you’ll save more.
8. Avoid high-end food stores.
Do you know the boutique grocery stores that appear all over the country? Avoid them because they may have high-quality components, but they’re designed for people who don’t need grocery budgets.
9. Joining wholesale food clubs
You have to be careful here because stores don’t usually have everything you need. Since they sell in bulk, it is possible to buy more products than you need (see # 30 below), which is a waste of money.
But they can still be excellent places to buy bulk food at low prices. Well-known examples include Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s. You usually have to join and pay a small membership fee, but once you’ve done that, you can take advantage of all the discounts available to them.
10. Check ALDI.
If you’ve never marketed there, ALDI is rather unconventional. That is because it’s a food retail store in Germany. But they have opened hundreds of stores across the United States, and they have the plan to keep growing.
That’s good because ALDI already has lower prices than grocery stores on most items. Like wholesale clubs, they don’t have everything, and they don’t have a broad group in every category. But you can save money, especially on basic commodities like milk, bread, cheese, eggs, grain, and orange juice.
11. Become a loyalty member at your favorite grocery store.
Some stores have very low prices, but if you’re not a member of the loyalty program, you’ll pay more. One example is the Kruger Plus card. Kroger has announced low prices and noticeable price declines in the store. But they have two prices, one for members and one for non-members. Trust me; you want to be a member.
12. Avoid repetitive purchases if you shop at more than one store.
If your shopping strategy includes shopping in more than one store, be sure not to repeat purchases. For example, if you’re buying meat, milk, and eggs at a warehouse club but doing your usual Shopping at your local grocery store, you’ll have to avoid buying meat, milk, and eggs at that store.
Once you get to the store.
Most people aren’t familiar with it, but grocery stores are designed in a way that will make you spend more money than you intend to.
Here are strategies to get around this trap.
13. Avoid meals in a box.
You can assume that any prepared meal in a box or bottle will cost more than a meal you prepare. If you’re trying to save money, it’s always best to avoid these meals. That is especially true if you have a family to feed because you will have to buy a meal for every family member.
Math doesn’t work in your favor with these meals.
14. Buy in bulk when Staples is on sale.
Do not be afraid to store the products you buy when they are on sale. That can include meat, cereals, butter, beans, and pasta. Everything can be stored, and no matter how much you buy, you’ll use it sooner or later. That could be a real chance to save some dangerous money at grocery stores.
15. Don’t be affected by “5 for $5.”
We hope you realize that these offerings are designed to buy more products than you need. That is a real problem if it’s something you don’t use. You can use two or three elements, and you end up throwing away the rest.
If an item is declared as “5 for 5 dollars,” “10 for 20 dollars,” or whatever the order is, convert the package into one thing in your head. For example, it could be one item for $1. If you only need two, you can usually get them for two dollars. You don’t have to buy every five (or ten) to get the deal.
16. Avoid brand names—if they are “awesome,” they will cost more.
Store brands are always cheaper than brand names. As long as the quality and flavor of the store brand are pretty close to the national brand, it would help if you liked the store brand, especially since the price is too low.
Also, watch out for any “cool” elements. Cool always costs more. You can usually figure that out pretty. Look for items that are advertised on TV. Always remember that cool stuff means you’re paid for it all.
17. Don’t buy anything because it’s “on display.”
Some people can’t resist selling. In their mind, it translates to “I save money.” That may be true if you need the product. But the money spent had no real benefit if it was bought only because it was on sale.
18. Avoid buying small or single meals.
That comes close to a real problem in a box but extends to more elements. It makes sense if you’re one person. But if there are two or more people in your family, it doesn’t make sense to say, “Buy milk from a quarter-gallon.” That is because buying four liters of milk usually costs much more than a gallon.
19. Look high and low, not in the middle.
When you go through the grocery store aisles, your natural tendency is to look at the shelves at eye level. Grocery stores know this, so they lay out their most expensive goods. To find the best deals, scan the upper and lower shelves. That is where merchandise is at lower prices and places where stores hope they don’t look.
20. Pass on prepared foods.
That includes meals prepared and available at the RMG store. Ordinary grocery stores increase their supply of ready-made foods, making it more difficult to escape.
But any food item prepared at the store would be more expensive than one designed at home. You may need or want these items from time to time, but don’t make them a habit. They’re more like a light restaurant than a grocery store.
21. Watch out for payment items; they’re all over the store.
Have you ever seen these screens set up around grocery stores, especially at the corridors’ ends? They’re called “end hats,” designed to guide you to them.
They sell items people don’t need, especially those expensive. But by putting it in your face, where you can’t avoid it, one hopes to bite it. No. Although there can be special offers at sometimes low prices at the end of hats, the opposite is true in most cases.
More strategies to save on groceries.
Finally, here are strategies that will help you keep your money.
22. Pay with a grocery rewards card.
Using the correct check-out method can help you earn rewards that can be used to offset your bill. Best for online grocery shopping: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market)
23. Building a grocery corner in the house:
It’s always easy to figure out exactly what you need when you have at least most of the foodstuffs stored in one place. If you do not have a supply cabinet, place it in the corner of the basement or garage. Make it well organized; that way, you can see exactly what items you need before heading to the store.
It works better with larger items that need storage. But only an organization can help you save money because you always know what you need—plus what you don’t. If you don’t already have one, having a refrigerator or a spare refrigerator can help you store foods that need to be frozen or cooled.
These things contain the collected elements, allowing you to edit your kitchen fridge for the little things you use most. Also, the extra units will allow you to tap into the meat and frozen goods sales. The more household food stocks are controlled, the easier it is to save money at grocery stores.
24. Draw from your food inventory periodically.
From time to time, you should focus on using your excess food supply. Not only will this prevent you from eating beyond the lifespan of your ministry, but it will also force you to use items you may have ignored.
If your inventory is particularly large, you may even be able to use this method to provide a few shopping trips altogether, where you “shop” for your home stock.
25. The most economical husband.
In most families, one spouse is more economical than the other. That may be a natural tendency, but it may also be a real advantage when buying groceries. He’d be a more economical partner, more adept at finding deals and resisting the temptation to buy goods that broke the budget.
26. Always shop alone.
If you shop with your wife or one or more of your children, you will likely buy more than if you were shopping alone. If it’s hard to resist your Shopping, it’s very hard to manage the pulses of two or more people.
That is especially true for children because they tend to see anything in a beautiful package. Leave the kids at home with a parent who isn’t shopping.
27. Limit your shopping trips.
It would help if you tried to restrict your shopping trips to predetermined periods. It can be once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month, depending on what suits you and your family.
Many shopping trips mean many exposures to purchasing unnecessary goods. If you’re on a diet, you must stay out of ice cream stores. The same goes for groceries. If you want to save money, you’ll need to reduce the amount of time you spend at the store. Every trip is an opportunity to spend your budget.
28. Payment in cash or on a direct debit card.
There’s a lot of debate on this point. Some say you should use credit cards and take advantage of cash reward offers. It might make sense if you got a cash refund of something like 5%. But if it’s 1% or 2%, it won’t help.
The problem is, when you spend it on credit, there’s always a big factor that goes a little over your budget. When money is spent in cash or using a discount card, it’s easier for you to stay within the budget since you don’t have the opportunity to carry a buoy (increase) until the next month.
Try to figure out how to pay yourself to save money better. A credit card might be the way to go if you are disciplined and have a good cash reward program. But if you spend more money using a credit card, a cash or discount card may work better.
29. shop on less busy weekdays.
It’s hard to stick to your game plan in a busy store. Everything takes longer, including waiting in lines. One of your goals when shopping for groceries is to reduce your time in the store. It reduces the chance of you buying something you weren’t planning on. It’s easier to do that if you’re shopping on calmer weekdays.
I’ve discovered that weekends feature the largest crowds. Weeknights, especially Mondays and Tuesdays, are usually calmer. When you can beat the store, get what you want, keep your list and organize your vouchers, and save as much money as possible.
That is usually when stores stock up on common items, forcing you to make a return trip (and spend more money).
30. Never buy more than one item of what you need.
To save money, you might get used to buying in bulk. It can save you that money, but only if you’re already using the products you buy. You can waste money if you buy large quantities of items because they have attractive prices. That’s because you get rid of every item you buy and don’t use. That means you’re wasting money.
Grocery shopping is one of the few areas in your budget where you have the opportunity to save a large amount of money. Here’s your chance to make the most of this opportunity.