In this guide, we’re looking at how to save money on groceries. If you consider the fact that you buy groceries every week and the fact that everyone needs to eat, you’ll realize just how much money is spent on these essentials.
A lot of people just think of grocery shopping as essential and therefore spend whatever is needed, but there are ways to shop and save money on food, and you don’t have to sacrifice too much in terms of the quality in order to do so.
This is one of the ways you can boost your bank balance, so you have money to spend on other things. While some people try to earn extra money to do so, it might actually be easier to cut some of your outgoing cash rather than worry too much about adding more money to the overall fund. Making a food budget and starting food shopping on a budget can mean that those extra dollars really start to add up.
Depending on what city you are in, the average grocery bill per month can be between $314 and $516 every single month. Even saving 10% of that could mean an extra vacation or more money to spend on the things you love doing in life, and you may not even have to make any compromises. Here are our tips for grocery shopping on a budget.
Find the Cheapest Grocery Store
This sounds like a really simple tip, and it is really. It’s vital that you find the most affordable store to help you to save money on food, and this may actually mean visiting multiple stores. You might find that one is better for dried foods, while another is better for fresh foods, and the best ways to save money on groceries might be to split your shopping into two different trips.
Making a budget grocery list for each of the stores so you know what you can get cheaply could be a great way to do things and helps to ensure you don’t pay over the odds.
Buy in Bulk
It may take some getting your head around, the idea of buying more of something to save money, but buying in bulk can work out a lot cheaper in the long run. Let’s say you go through 1kg of pasta every week. If you buy that pasta each week, it is far more expensive than buying 30kg in one go and using it for the next six or seven months. Bulk buying is nothing new, and it has been made a lot easier with the addition of online shopping as you can quickly and simply find websites that will sell you things in wholesale quantities.
Obviously, don’t do this with fresh items that you won’t possibly be able to eat in time unless you have the capacity to freeze them. If you are able to freeze a lot of goods, then it is definitely a good idea to fill up your freezer with things that can last you a long time.
Stock Up During Promotions
A lot of the items you may buy regularly will be on promotion at some stage as the manufacturers try to boost the sales or as the store tries to shift through some stock. If you are smart enough, you can use this as one of the ways you save money on food.
Stocking up could mean buying a few months of something while it is on a buy one get one promotion, but as always, be sure to check the dates, so you know that you will be able to get through it all. Wasting food is definitely the enemy of those looking to save money on food. There’s no point in cheap grocery shopping if it doesn’t get eaten.
Sacrifice Big Brands
You might be willing to do this more for some items than for others. If you adore a certain brand of coffee, for instance, you may know the taste and not want to make any changes that mean not enjoying this taste. You might not have to. However, it is definitely possible with a lot of other items, and sacrificing brand names for cheaper, store-brand alternatives is a great way to save some money. If you are just buying a tin of tomatoes, then will you really even notice the difference? Is one brand of dried pasta that much nicer than another?
There are loads of examples of blind taste tests on food and drink, and the truth is that in a lot of cases, people will not be able to tell any difference between one brand and another. You don’t have to sacrifice all the food that you love, but you may be able to create a cheaper shopping experience without even telling.
Check for Long Dates
Avoiding wasting food is another great way to save and avoid paying out excess money that you really don’t want to, just to replace food that might have gone bad.
When you are in the grocery stores, be sure to always check for the longest dates so that you are able to ensure nothing gets wasted in your home. This can be a way to save money, but it is also good for food waste. Also, some items that are past their “best before” date may still be absolutely fine to eat or drink, they may not do you any harm, and they might even taste just as good. The restrictions on when the companies have to name a best before date are too strict in some peoples’ opinions.
Go Straight to Suppliers
A lot of the time, people don’t even realize they can save money by working with local companies that stock food and drink. For instance, you could go to a local farm that produces potatoes or other produce and ask if they sell it by the bag. You will usually find they are happy to do so as this can be a more profitable way for them to sell, but it cuts out the middle man too, so you don’t have to worry about them taking a big cut.
If you are dedicated and you want beautiful fresh food, check what local food markets you can attend, too. You might be able to save money this way, and you can definitely support local businesses and suppliers. Grocery shopping can be more fulfilling this way.
Only Shop Once a Week
Basically, you should look to shop as infrequently as possible if you can. There are actually a surprising amount of people who only look a couple of days ahead, and this is not the way to save money, it can lead to impulse buys, buying extra things that you don’t need or not looking in the cupboards at home to see if you have things that need using up. If you grab groceries on your way back from work each day to cook your food, then you are probably actually building up a surplus.
By shopping once a week, you can create a clear and definite plan for the type of groceries you need that week and what meals you are going to prepare. The proper planning can mean you only use what you actually need to use. As we’ve already discussed, one of the best ways to save money is to cut down on waste and ensure all of the food is getting eaten!
Coupons and Loyalty Schemes
Couponing is a big deal! Lots of people devote a lot of time to finding the best coupon deals and reducing the cost of the items they want to buy by paying with cutout or print off coupons. These are designed to encourage you to buy a certain brand, but they’re a good way to save some more money on your food and drink. There are examples where an item is already on promotion, and you can then use a coupon to get more money off.
There are also some loyalty schemes such as points systems that supermarkets may offer to keep customers coming back, these sometimes reward you with money off or special offers in the future, so it is definitely worth keeping on top of them, otherwise, you might be turning down the chance to save some money.
There are an awful lot of methods that you can use in order to save money on groceries, we’ve touched on most of them here, but ultimately it depends on the items you normally buy and what sort of cook you are. If you are smart about things, you can prepare delicious meals, avoiding paying extra for convenience such as microwave meals, and you can even end up a lot better off in the coming months and years as a result of your frugal shopping.