Everything has become more expensive due to inflation; however, the rising costs of essentials like grocery are particularly problematic since they are recurring expenses. According to stats from the Consumer Price Index published in February 2023, the cost of food consumed at home increased by 11.3% over the previous 12 months.
Maintaining your shopping budget under control might seem impossible, with costs for food ranging from meat to canned products and frozen meals skyrocketing. With that said, you’d have to go above and beyond the typical grocery-saving techniques of using coupons and shopping in bulk to save on grocery shopping.
We have tried several strategies to help save on grocery shopping, checking and modifying them to ensure they work. Consequently, we have developed a list of techniques that make a real difference in your grocery savings. This article is particularly helpful if you have a large family to support.
Here are ten ways to save money on grocery shopping:
1. Take Stock First, Then Go Shopping With A-List
Before leaving the house, you must check everything in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Since we live in a technologically advanced time, you can adopt and save money on groceries app by using them to keep track of what you have and update it when you run out of anything.
Taking stock will help you determine which products you currently have, which ones you need, and which you urgently need. The last thing you want to do is go out and purchase a carton of milk only to discover that you already have some at home.
Moreover, you need a list when you shop. The finest list you can create will result from an inventory identifying the missing items. Else your cost will be at least twice as much as it would be if you randomly walk the store and grab whatever appeals to you.
So, list the items you need every week, whether milk, bread, fruits, etc., the ingredients missing for meals you plan to make, and any pantry staples you’re running low on. Once you have your list, stick to it.
However, if you genuinely enjoy the impulsive rush of random shopping, then set a limit on the amount of extra products you buy. You can simply convince yourself that the extra savings will help you save up to buy your dream home. This will prevent your cost from going through the roof and prevent you from purchasing more food than you can consume.
2. Shop On The Days That Are The Least Crowded
Another way to save money on groceries you purchase is by going to the store on less crowded days. While this may seem dismissible to most shoppers, it is pretty impactful. Crowds might have an unfavorable impact on your budget for groceries.
It may be more challenging to browse the variety and identify the brands or sizes that are the most reasonably priced when the store is busy. Finding the slower times at the shop could need some trial and error, but once you do, stick with it. An added benefit is that it will take less time to finish shopping on such days.
3. Purchase More During Sales, But Be Mindful of Shelf-Life
You should always stock up when food prices are at their lowest. Food items on sale often provide absurd savings. This is true, particularly with more expensive commodities like meat and fish.
So, be on the lookout if a significant holiday is approaching. The best sales typically occur when we get closer to Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. More significantly, basing your menu on what is currently on sale might be beneficial. Ensure you only buy the foods you include in your menu plan, not just because they are on sale.
You should also know the food items’ expiration dates while buying them. This is because food prices are frequently reduced. After all, it is near the end of its shelf life.
4. Draw up a Food Budget and Follow it
This one may seem obvious, but it is not. Some people rely only on their buying habits and only draw accounts at the end of each month for the previous month instead of having a predetermined budget.
Knowing that you must always put your income before your stomach is the first step in creating a food budget. If you’re unsure where to begin or how much to spend, the USDA’s charts are a fantastic place to start. The current food prices illustrate what a healthy diet may look like at four distinct price points. Even at the lowest price point, you can save a lot of money and still expect to have a meal that is quite nutritious.
Remember that a budget is useless if you don’t follow through. So remember to follow through on the budget you set. Don’t expect following through to be easy since, for instance, you can run out of certain ingredients needed to prepare your favorite meal.
This is where your creativity should kick in. By using your imagination when you run out of particular culinary items, you will realize that you can use the butter on hand for your bread instead of eggs until your budget indicates it’s time to restock the eggs. Creativity is a vital ability to develop because it is one of the essential components of cost-effectiveness.
That said, at all costs, avoid impulse buying. It might be one of the most costly shopping habits. Shopping with kids or a significant other may make you more likely to make impulsive purchases. Make allowances for such situations and try to keep them at a minimum.
5. Minimize Food Wastage
Allowing food to go bad and throwing it out is equivalent to throwing out your money. Try your best not to waste food by ensuring that you or your family members consume leftovers.
Regarding the best ways to save money on groceries, minimizing food wastage often tops the chart. This is because it will stop you from preparing more food than you need, lowering rations, and extending the shelf life of your supplies.
6. Utilize Grocery Shopping Apps
Besides using the calculator function on your smartphone, go further and install a grocery shopping app. There are several apps for saving money on groceries that can help you.
Keeping track of your stock might assist you in determining whether you should purchase something that wasn’t initially on your list. The best apps for saving money on groceries have this feature embedded in them, which is especially useful when on a tight budget.
Some apps have an additional feature of lending you money to buy groceries and pay back at a later date.
7. Don’t Go Shopping Hungry
The worst decision you can take is shopping on an empty stomach after a long workday. There’s an excellent chance that you will inevitably leave the shop with items outside your budget once you do.
Your hunger will cause you to pick up snacks and food items you can instantly prepare, like pasta. Your stomach will love you, but your bank account won’t. To avoid this, go grocery shopping after you have eaten or set aside a specific time to shop.
8. Buy What You Need
When discussing how to spend less on groceries, it is vital that you only buy what you need. Excessive grocery shopping is a total waste of money. Moreover, the groceries you buy in excess may also result in wastage if it has a limited shelf life. So, only purchase these things if you have a plan for it.
9. Buy in Bulk
The main exception to buying excess products is when you buy those with very long shelf lives. This includes rice, pasta, canned goods, and cereals. Fortunately, these products are also usually cheaper to buy in bulk. If these goods are part of your meal plan, watch for them anytime there is a sale.
10. Loyalty Programs and Coupons
Getting money back when you buy groceries is both thrilling and cost-effective. Since most grocery stores want to keep you shopping there, they are quite ok providing you with coupons or making you eligible for their loyalty programs.
You can save time and money by joining these supermarket chains’ loyalty programs and shopping through their network. Alternatively, you may inquire whether your favorite grocery store offers these initiatives.
Most grocery stores provide these services and may also offer special discounts to loyalty members. Sign up for it to earn coupons and points, which you can use to buy groceries or get a percentage off the total cost of checking out.
A little preparation can go a long way when you’re looking to save money on groceries. Groceries can consume a sizable chunk of your budget, particularly during periods of high inflation. So finding out how to save money during inflation will really help you avoid overspending.
You can also devise several other ways to save money on groceries. Between planning your meals, creating a shopping list, and getting those items, there’s much more you can do to help you save money, live better and remain healthy.