How to save money on groceries

Would you believe me if I told you the average monthly spending at the grocery store for a family of four is almost $900? (Source)

Between that and eating out multiple times per month, it’s amazing we are able to afford to feed ourselves.

Fear not, however, because are many ways to reduce your grocery spending. Read on to find out how.

Set a budget

The first thing you should do before you go to the grocery store is set a budget. Figure out how much you want/need spend on food and don’t go over!

An effective way to make sure you don’t go over your set limit is to use cash. You set your limit, get the cash for that exact amount, and only spend the cash.

Don’t pull out your credit card in a panic because what was rung up was higher than your limit. Swallow your pride and have the cashier take items off. Better yet, add up your items as you shop!

Create a list

Make a grocery list at home with a full stomach. Write down things that you need to have and make sure you are including items that are good for you, like fruits and vegetables. It’s one thing to shop for less. It’s a whole nother thing to buy healthy foods for less.

Meal plan

Planning out your meals for the week will do three things. It will remove food decisions throughout the week, which provides more energy and focus on more important matters. You can also schedule healthy meals and you create a list of exactly what you need for the week.

Buy efficiently

About one-third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted every year. ONE THIRD! (Source)

To cut down on wasted food and wasted dollars spent on that food, buy what you know you’ll eat.

This includes buying foods that actually taste good and buying in appropriate quantities.

Buying in bulk is a very popular way to save money, but you need to make sure you don’t waste anything. Freeze what you can to consume later and cut down on waste.

Don’t buy pre-made

The pre-made items at the grocery store, salads, for example, look delicious and are super convenient, but they are also much more expensive.

Alternatively, buy the ingredients for those pre-made items and make it at home. It’ll save you money and you will probably result in more food.

Eat in season

Produce that’s out of season is more expensive because it has a longer distance to travel.

Not only that, but produce that you buy locally will be much better for you. Items that need to travel long distances are altered with artificial ingredients, like GMO, to preserve it for travel.

Locally grown produce shouldn’t contain any artificial ingredients, which makes it better for you. (Source)

You’re also contributing to the local economy.

Don’t go hungry

Eat before you go to the store. An empty stomach is a problem at the grocery store.

Scan shelves

The priciest items in any aisle will be on the shelves at eye-level. Look at the top and the bottom shelves for items that are less expensive

Avoid inner aisles

The essential items, like dairy and produce, are on opposite ends of the store. This “forces” you to go through the middle.

You start scanning the aisles, you pass things that look good, and through them in your cart. Before you know it, your cart is full of items you didn’t need and you blew your budget.

Buy store brand

It’s pretty well-known that name brand products are more expensive than a store brand.

When you go to the store, avoid the name brand products. Odds are, the store brand is close or just as good, and it’ll cost you much less.

Shop around

Some stores are cheaper than others. Simple as that. It’s not a blanket, one store is cheaper than others, however. You need to shop around to find out what products are less expensive at what stores.

Drink from the faucet

Drinking bottled water can get very expensive. If you are drinking the recommended amount every day, that could add up to more than $1000 per year. This compares to less than $1 for the year for the same amount of water from the faucet. (Source)

Rain checks

If you go to the store specifically for a sale item and that item sold out, get a rain check. You can come back to the store when that item is restocked and still get it at the sale price.

Use coupons

Check your weekly mailer for coupons that apply to you. You can also go to websites like Coupons.com and search for coupons that specifically apply to you. Another thing you can do is sign up with Pillsbury.com and receive coupons to your inbox every

Use apps

There are many apps out there, and I’ve written about this in the past, that are designed to save you money. We use Wal-marts Savings Catcher, Ebates, and Shopkick, but there are many more out there.

Conclusion

Grocery shopping can get very expensive! However, there are several ways you can lower the cost of feeding yourself and your family. Use these tips to decrease this budget item and, therefore, increase your savings rate.

– Jake S.

So readers, how do you save money at the grocery store?

Published by

Financial Health and Wealth

I am a Financial Consultant and Blogger. I live in the Greater Milwaukee area. I am married with a six-month-old son. My goal with this blog is to educate people to better understand basic finances and to help save them money along the way

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