What does your grocery shopping look like? Let me guess: You walk into your favorite store, buy what you want, then go home and prepare whatever you feel like eating. There are no specific grocery shopping intervals, plans, inventorying, or initiatives to cut down the grocery bill. Just walk in and pick up what you fancy at that time.
If this is you, there is so much you can do to lower your grocery bill.
These 12 tips will help reduce your grocery bill; incorporate them into your grocery shopping habits.
1. Set a Budget
Just like you have a fixed rent or mortgage budget, so should you have a grocery budget. While it is not one of the fixed expenses, you certainly need to have an amount to operate with. Your monthly goal should be to spend nothing more than the set grocery budget.
While expenses can vary depending on many factors, such as your location, the average grocery bill is between 0 -$540 per month per person. Set what realistically works for you, and find ways to stick to it. A great tip to stick to your budget is shopping with cash only, especially if you struggle with impulse buying. Walking in with just the cash you need leaves no room for impulse buying.
2. Make a Shopping List
Never go shopping without a shopping list. If you do, I can guarantee you will forget some of the things you need and buy some you don’t need.
Always inventory your pantry, fridge, and freezer to create a list of what you need. Ensure to do this a day or two before your shopping day. You, however, can keep updating your list all through the week. This way, you can have time to add everything you need.
When you go to the grocery store, stick to what is on the list. Tick off what you put in your cart to ensure you remember everything.
3. Buy In Bulk
A study done on the pros and cons of buying in bulk showed that doing it correctly can save you up to 20%-50% on purchases.
If you buy in bulk, you will pay less per unit. You may have to do some math to determine whether and how much buying in bulk will save you. Remember, what matters more here is the price per unit.
If your favorites are on sale, take that as an opportunity to grab them in bulk. Do not just get tempted to buy in bulk what you rarely use.
4. Use Loyalty Cards and Coupons
Register for your grocery store’s loyalty program today and ensure to get your points keyed in whenever you make any purchases. You could redeem these points later and get coupons, cash, or credit.
It is such an effortless thing to do that would save you money in your future purchases. Not claiming your loyalty points after purchases is more or less letting your money go down the drain.
Coupons can help cut a fraction of your bills; it is always a great initiative to collect and use them. But do not get tempted to make a purchase you do not need just because the offer looks attractive on a coupon.
5. Shop at Discount Stores
Discount stores have considerably lower prices than regular grocery stores, sometimes even lower than the manufacturer’s recommended retail prices.
Some of the best discount stores to check out include Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General. Aldi and Lidl are also great places to go for discounted prices.
Yes, they are less fancy and may have a limited selection of goods, but if you know what you want, they are a great way to save money.
You may also consider shopping at salvage stores. Salvage stores purchase products from regular grocery stores for resale to the general public. Some of these things would be surplus goods or “unaesthetic” foods. Think of something like curved cucumbers or carrots that nobody would buy at regular stores. Find salvage grocery stores near you and buy your food at throwaway prices.
6. Compare Prices
Take time and compare the prices of items before buying. While it may take more time and effort upfront, it will help you know which vendors and brands are cheap.
You can use grocery store apps, websites, or apps dedicated to product comparison.
Some of the apps you can use to compare grocery prices include Flipp, Instacart, Price Cruncher, Grocery King and Grocery Pal.
7. Opt for Generic Brands
Always choose generic brands; a lot of times, they are just as good as expensive name brands. Some of the products to go for generic brands include salt, sugar, pasta, eggs, milk, cereal, frozen fruit, and vegetables.
If in doubt, you can always check the ingredients of a product and compare it to the expensive brand names. You will realize that there are lots of similarities.
Do not get ripped off by the expensive brand names when you can get the same value from cheaply priced brands.
8. Buy Seasonal Produce
We know those watermelons and strawberries look juicy in winter. Unfortunately, they would not do your wallet any justice.
A lot of times, out-of-season produce is imported or has been transported from so far away. You will have to pay for the huge transportation costs when they get to the shelves. While also in transit, a lot is done to keep the fruits and veggies fresh, which automatically raises the prices. Find out seasonal fruits and stick to them. If they are not in season, you definitely can wait for them.
9. Reduce Meat Consumption
The first money-saving strategy people should resort to is eating less meat and fish whenever things are tight.
There are so many cheaper, healthier, and more reliable plant protein options you could go for. Think of adding lentils, beans, peas, amaranth, and quinoa to your protein supply.
Admittedly, cutting meat from the menu can be difficult for many people. However, you can ease in slowly by using meat alternatives such as tofu, tempeh, and soya; playing around with egg recipes; using meat flavors to enhance your plant protein food; and trying different vegetarian recipes.
10. Cook in Batches
Cooking in batches and storing in smaller portions for later will not only save you money. It is a streamlined process that will save you time and extra effort.
For starters, people cannot stop eating out because they are too tired to cook after work. You can quickly solve this by preparing your meals over the weekend and freezing it.
Secondly, if you buy vegetables or fresh produce in bulk, cooking and freezing it is the best way out. Leaving the fresh produce to lie in the fridge will likely result in waste. In short, batch cooking goes hand in hand with bulk buying.
Lastly, bulk cooking is great for portion control which reduces food wastage. .
11. Avoid Pre-cut and Pre-packaged Items
You 100% knew that buying pre-cut and pre-packaged items cost you more money. But did you know just how much more it can cost? A study shows buying them pre-packed or pre-cut can cost you 40% more.
You may like the idea of cut vegetables, but they are digging deeper into your pockets.
Don’t buy vegetables and fresh produce for three times the price. If you do, you will not be paying for the produce; you will be paying for the packaging, the labor that went into cutting and packaging, and the treatment that went into keeping the items on the shelves.
12. Use Leftovers Wisely
A lot of leftovers end up in the trash. Changing this can save you a large fraction of your grocery bill.
If you have a problem eating the same meal twice, think of your leftovers as ingredients to a whole new meal. Think of ways of repurposing your leftovers, such as preparing soup from vegetable leftovers.
If you will not be eating your leftovers in the following few meals, have it frozen to be eaten over the week. You are better off planning a day to eat and clear the week’s leftovers.
While carrying lunch to the office is a sure way to save money, it can be tiring to get the food ready every morning. But what if you ate your dinner leftovers for lunch? You would have saved your time and money.
Grocery bills are one of the highest bills in every household. In most households, they come third after housing and transportation. This price can almost always be lowered; it is just up to you to take the initiative. If you decide to cut that price, you can redirect more of your money to financial goals or loan repayment. Take the steps discussed above to reduce your grocery bills.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.