Groceries, especially when having a family, can be a big expense in your monthly budget. That’s why we collected a few tips on how to save money on groceries.
Hopefully, your next trip to the grocery store will be a bit easier on your wallet with these store hacks.
Check your pantry
Before you go shopping, go through your pantry (and/or fridge) and see what’s in there. Check the expiry dates and see what meals you can whip up with the ingredients you already have. Maybe you don’t even have to go to the store today. Who knows what’s hiding on those shelves.
Think before buying in bulk
Buying in bulk can be pretty convenient, especially if you have a big family, but is it really cheaper? Compare the price per unit or ounce and see if it’s really a good deal. Also, make sure that the items you buy in bulk are not easily perishable. Otherwise, you’ll be literally throwing away your money.
Don’t shop when you’re hungry
We do a lot of crazy things when we’re hungry. Hangry, if you will. Studies showed that people who go food shopping hungry usually choose more high-calorie foods in a simulated supermarket. Even a quick snack before your grocery trip could help you save money.
As professor Norbert Schwarz stated in his research: “If hunger means ‘I want to get food,’ then ‘getting stuff’ may be on your mind. When you then have the opportunity to ‘get stuff,’ you may take a few things that are available that have nothing to do with satisfying your hunger.”
Don’t shop more than you need
Using a smaller cart or a basket can also help you with this. Buy only the items you need for your meal plan / on your shopping list. Everybody loves a good sale, but if it’s not on your list, don’t buy it. That’s not saving money. We know it’s tempting, but it’s not worth it. Stick to the plan and don’t buy just because something seems like a great deal.
Don’t buy pre-packed fruits and vegetables
If you can, buy unpackaged fruits and vegetables. The price of the pre-packed goods can be double in price, so it will most definitely not going to do good for your savings. You can also wash your own salad, dice the onions, cut your fruits, or shred the cheese. All those ‘little’ convenient things are upping the price of a product. And you can do it all at home by yourself. Or ask family members to help. They’ll eat too, so why not help a bit?
Generic brands are usually 20-25 percent cheaper than name brands. Consumer Reports found that a family of five can save up about $3,000 a year just by switching to generic brands. We think that’s a pretty good answer when wondering how to save money on groceries.
Pay with cash
Budget is your friend. Many people use the envelope system to keep their grocery budget in check. Go to the store with only cash in your pocket, so you have an exact amount of how much you can spend. No credit or debit cards. Along the way, you’ll learn what’s your optimal weekly budget and learn to prioritize meats, fruits, and vegetables over cookies and ice cream. It can have benefits on your health as well, not only your wallet.
Saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be hard. Implement a few good habits and stick to them. It will help you save money in the long-run so you can pay your mortgage without worrying or enjoy some nice family vacation.
It’s worth the effort, right?