Did you know that one of the highest monthly expenses for the average American family is food? Well, now you know! Here are 12 grocery store tips to help you save money on your food budget!
Let’s face it – food is an essential staple to every household. There is no way around it – you have to eat – and it has to be included as top priority on your budget! There are grocery shopping tips that can help you save.
Depending where you live you will find that some items are more expensive than others. But adjusting to keep yourself within budget is necessary
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More!
We can’t stress enough the importance of planning before you start food shopping. The first step is to plan your meals ahead. Meal planning will help you stay on budget and cut down the cost of groceries you buy.
Next, shop your own pantry first! Yes, we mean, take a look at what you already have at home. Then, make a list for the additional items you will need to prepare the meals on your weekly meal plan.
It is very easy to get distracted when you are grocery shopping. Having a grocery list will eliminate the urge to buy what you “think” you will need. The importance of meal planning is that it will help you stay within budget!
2. Shop Alone
For some this may be therapy / vacation / quiet time – just ask a stay at home mom of young kids!
Go grocery shopping alone!!! When you shop with your kids or significant other you tend to get distracted. You may even cave in to the “demands” – mom/dad guilt is a real thing!
Shopping alone takes away the peer pressure and the guilt feelings. It will help you stay focused to finish the task at hand.
3. Only Go Shopping Once Per Week
It’s important to have a grocery list when you go out shopping for your weekly meals. It prevents you from having to go back to the grocery store again and again and tempt you to get additional items you don’t need.
Shopping once per week helps you stay within your grocery budget. It also forces you to make sure you are sticking to your meal plan.
4. Check Grocery Ads Before You Shop
Grocery stores always have popular products on sale and most likely you receive the mailers weekly.
This is a marketing tactic to lure you into their store. BUT this can be a game changer for you as you can use it to your advantage.
Especially for those weeks that you don’t know what to prepare for your meals – take a look at the ads and see what is on sale. If you noticed that lettuce is on sale, then maybe plan for a salad style lunch and dinner on two different days of the week.
5. Stock Up On Sales
When your regular items are on sale for the week and your weekly budget allows, stock up and take advantage of the sale. Just keep in mind that some items will have a shorter shelf life, so you don’t want to stock up for items that may go bad before you can use it.
6. Shop The Perimeter Of The Store To Save Money
Essential foods such as meat, dairy, produce and bread are usually located around the store’s perimeter. The inner isles are for the prepared and processed foods. Skip the prepared food isle if you can. The goals is to stick to your weekly meal plan so you can save.
7. Shop In Season
Plan your meals around what is in season. Stores are known to charge more for items that are out of season. So when vegetables and fruits are in season plan your meals around them to help you save money and eat healthier!
8. Change Grocery Store
We are all creature of habits and knowing where everything is in a grocery store is somehow comforting. It is ideal to check out other grocery stores so you can compare the prices and stay up with the competition. Certain stores may be offering a better sale for a particular week than your regular store. When you are on a budget and grocery shopping – a penny saved is a penny earned!
9. Shop Bottom Shelves
This also means, look for store brand! It’s been proven that whenever we shop we tend to look at items that are at eye level. Item at eye level will be more appealing when you are on a grab and go mode but may not necessarily be the best price option.
When grocery shopping in store, the brand name items will always be eye level. The store brand is usually tucked all the way on the bottom shelf – lonely, waiting for you to find them. BUT, pay attention!!! Depending how popular the item is – it may be on sale. You may get a better deal on the sale brand name item versus the store. Always check your ads!
10. Outsmart The Special Sale
Some special sales can be very misleading – but if you read in between the lines you can take advantage of the sale. Grocery stores usually advertise a certain amount of items for a certain price.
But you do not have to buy in bulk.
Be sure to check the wording on the ads and if they are offering 10 cans for $5, most likely you can get only what you need and only pay $0.50 per can.
11. Farmer’s Market
The sellers at farmer’s market are often your local farmers. They don’t want to bring unsold produce back home at the end of the day. So take advantage of a late afternoon produce shopping to enjoy a few special deals before the market closes.
12. Shop Online
A great way to stay on track and avoid temptations is to do your grocery shopping online. Many grocery stores, like Walmart, now allow for online shopping and curb-side pick up while others deliver directly to you. BUT, don’t be fooled, it is easy to get sucked into those apps that pick up and deliver for you. If you can, avoid the extra delivery fee because after all, they will eat up your budget too!
Saving on grocery shopping and eating healthier is a win win! Don’t be in a rush when you grocery shop, create a meal plan, make a shopping list – this will help you stay on budget and only get what you need.
If you want to learn more on how to budget check out How To Budget: 13 Free Ways To Keep You On Track And Out of Debt.