Although prices have gone up exponentially in the last couple of years or so, inflation is a reality of life. Another reality is the need for grocery shopping. No matter how much we dislike price hikes, grocery shopping is unavoidable, especially when, like me, you have hungry mouths to feed.
The good news is that I’ve found several ways to save money on groceries and make each trip a little less painful. Here are some strategic tips and tricks that can help you save big on groceries without sacrificing your family’s nutrition.
How To Save Big On Groceries
Buy generic brands.
It’s no secret that brand-name products cost more than their generic counterparts. Swapping several brand-name items for generic or store brand versions of the same thing can have a big impact on your grocery bill.
Plus, some generic products are not only made in the same place, but they contain the same ingredients, but are available at a lower price.
Ignore eye level items.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, pay attention to the way the grocery shelves are organized. You’ll find that, usually, the most expensive items are placed at eye level. Grocery stores do this on purpose to try to get you to spend more money.
Instead of grabbing those eye-level items, look at the shelves above and below eye level. That little bit of extra effort is often rewarded with lower-priced items.
Make a list and stick to it.
Making a grocery list is one of the easiest ways to save on groceries before you even head to the store. But for this to work, you have to stick to your shopping list. I use the Cozi app to create my grocery list. It’s one of my favorite free apps.
Parents: Use this tactic to get your kids involved in planning and shopping. Let your children help plan meals, then turn it into a scavenger hunt at the store. Give them the list of items needed for their meal and enjoy searching for each item.
Shop the sales.
By paying attention to sales at your grocery store then planning your meals based on those discounts, you’ll save a lot of money.
The key to shopping sales as a money-saving tactic is to avoid buying items just because they’re on sale. As tempting as it might be to grab that discounted box of pastries, if it’s not on your list, don’t buy it.
Shop seasonal produce.
Produce is most affordable when it’s in season. Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re in season, and they’ll not only be cheaper, but they’ll taste better too.
Use cash back apps.
Look into using a cash back app or rebate app to help you shrink your grocery budget. Apps like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and Checkout 51 can help you save money on each grocery trip, which adds up over time.
Although not as common as it used to be, clipping coupons is an effective way to slash the cost of groceries. You can still find paper coupons in local ads and newspapers, but these days the best place to find coupons is online.
Coupons.com is a popular site that offers free printable coupons and online promo codes.
Use grocery store apps.
The following grocery stores have apps that offer coupons and rewards to help you save even more money on groceries:
Don’t shop when hungry.
It might sound silly, but you’d be surprised by how easily an empty stomach can affect your decision-making capabilities. Shopping on a full stomach really can help you save money on groceries.
If you have more than one grocery store near you, compare prices of your most shopped items to see where you can find the best deal. Sometimes it’s worth it to shop at multiple grocery stores to spend the least on food.
Pay with cash.
A great way to ensure you stick to your grocery budget is to pay with cash. When you go to the grocery store with cash, you know exactly how much you will spend. A credit card is convenient, but it can’t hold you accountable like cash can. With cash as your only payment option, there’s no way to exceed your food budget. (You can find more budget saving tips here!)
Plus, it’ll help you avoid impulse buys by forcing you to decide which items are most important. If you usually shop for groceries weekly, I recommend taking cash out every week instead of once a month. This way, you’re not tempted to overspend at the beginning of the month, only to end up scraping by a couple weeks later.
Buy in bulk and freeze the extras.
Buying in bulk isn’t always the most cost-effective option, but in some cases it can save you a decent amount of money. When shopping for bulk items, pay attention to unit pricing. You should only buy an item in bulk when the unit price is lower than that of the single-packaged item.
This practice typically applies to bread, meat, and cheese. Buy them in bulk and then freeze what you won’t use right away.
With a few small changes, you can save big on groceries.
Try as you might, you can’t control the cost of essential items. But as prices continue to rise, there are several ways you can spend less and save more. Just a few seemingly insignificant changes can add up and save you a lot of money in the long run.
I want to hear from you! What strategies have helped you save money on groceries? Have you tried any of the tactics mentioned above? Or, do you have a different way of saving money? Tell me about it in the comments!