As we all know, saving money can be tough. The cost of living is rising, and we’re all trying to cut corners wherever we can. But grocery shopping can be a daunting task.
How do you know if the price is fair? How can you save money without giving up the enjoyment of eating?
The good news is that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods or go hungry to make ends meet. Even if you’ve lived in your area for years, some tricks may help you save money at the grocery store. This article will review some commonly overlooked tips that can tell you how to save money on groceries.
Make a grocery list
One of the best ways to save money at a grocery store is to make a list. Your list will help you remember everything, so you won’t need to run back to the store after you get home, wasting time and money. However, if you are trying to know how to save money on groceries for one person, there are other benefits as well:
- Planning meals for the week ahead can include items on sale in your area that are not perishable. When items are on sale, you’ll be able to get more savings than if you wait until later (or next month).
- Ensure things like meats and vegetables are within their expiration date before buying them! Food that doesn’t taste very good or has spoiled from being left out at room temperature for too long can be saved.
- Some things may seem like good deals at first glance. Nevertheless, suppose they’re not used up within a reasonable period (for example, frozen foods). They’re probably not saving much money since they’ll go bad before anyone can use them.
Don’t shop hungry
If you are wondering how to save money on groceries for one person, the only tip is don’t shop when hungry. When you’re hungry, your judgment and willpower are severely compromised. You will buy more food than you need—some of that food won’t even be very good for you. You may also make bad decisions about what to purchase because of an increased desire for junk food. For example, if there’s a massive display of donuts right by the entrance, it might be tempting to grab one before even checking out. Even with healthier options in the vegetables section or fruit case, hunger can cloud your judgment of what is best for your body or budget.
The first tip for saving money at the grocery store is to use coupons. Coupons can be found online, in newspapers, magazines, or in grocery stores. Some apps help you find coupons. You can save much money by buying items on sale with a coupon, so it’s worth your time to look through them before heading to the store. If you have particular products that you often buy—for example, bread—make sure that the coupons match up with those products (aka: don’t clip an off-brand coupon for a loaf of whole wheat bread).
Buy in bulk when possible
If you are wondering how to save money on groceries during inflation, buying in bulk when needed is the most manageable thing to do. If you have a family, it may be challenging to find a sale on something that does not last long enough for everyone in the household before it expires or goes wrong. Buying in bulk is a great idea if the item can be frozen and lasts six months or more (like meat) because you will have half as much waste as buying it by the pound (which means paying double).
Buy local brands instead of international brands
Buying local brands instead of international brands is another great way to save money at the grocery store. If you are worried about how to save money on groceries during inflation, shop from local brands. Local brands are usually cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment than international brands. They’re also usually better for the economy. Local brands stay within your country’s borders rather than flowing outward to other countries through international trade.
Compare prices between stores
When deciding where to buy your groceries, remember that different stores have different prices. So, compare prices of similar items between different stores.
If you have a Whole Foods in your area, then you know it’s not likely to have the best prices around. They typically charge premium prices for access to high-end organic products. If you have a Target or a Trader Joe’s in your area, those typically have much better prices. (Interesting side note: I recently read this article about who owns Trader Joe’s that finally solved the mystery in my mind…)
It’s also essential to avoid buying something just because it’s on sale or cheaper than the other option. A sale on skim milk at another store may tempt you to purchase it, even if you usually buy whole milk. The one-time purchase might save you money (assuming you buy enough milk), but your body will thank you if you stick to what works.
Buy items on sale
There are several ways to save money at the grocery store. One is to buy items that are on sale. Buying in bulk can also be helpful, especially if you’re getting something for free at another store (like a restaurant gift card) or if there’s an additional discount for buying in bulk (such as with some meat).
Finally, when possible, try purchasing local brands of certain foods instead of international ones; this will often result in lower prices due to increased competition among producers who want your business.
Avoid pre-packaged or processed items
Another great way to keep your grocery budget in check is to avoid pre-packaged or processed items. Often, these foods cost more and don’t taste as good as their unprocessed counterparts. They also often have more sugar, salt, and preservatives than whole foods. This strategy might not work if you try to save money by buying applesauce at the store instead of making it from scratch (which is much cheaper). Similarly, if there is an option between something homemade and something prepared by a company whose goal is profit before health, choose homemade!
Avoid the Mid-section of the grocery store
To make more money, the grocery store representatives place the items that have a high-profit margin in the middle of the store. Or any area that is visible to the person who walks in through the entrance. There are a couple of reasons behind this. People usually like to look at items that are trending. So, they gravitate towards the center of the store. And, placing items in the center also grabs the attention of people passing by the store.
Avoid Pre-cut Veggies
Not buying pre-cut vegetables and fruits is an easy way to save money on groceries. First of all, pre-cut items are expensive as they may contain preservatives. Plus, there is a packaging and labor cost attached to it which make it even costlier. Why not buy vegetables and fruits in their whole form which are a lot cheaper.
Buy Cheap Cuts of Meat
Cheaper cuts of beef have the same amount of nutrients as that of prime cuts. There are numerous techniques to tenderize the had meat. To tenderize the meat, you can cook it in a slow cooker or marinate it for a long time. Another way of saving money on meat is by purchasing the whole chicken or meat with bones; instead of boneless pieces. Buying a whole chicken will cost you just $5.
Use a rebate app
As a shopper, you may not know how to save money on groceries, but some apps can help you save money on groceries. While some are for particular stores or chains, others are for general use at any grocery store. Check out these tips:
- Find a referral code from your local grocer or retailer to get started with one of the rebate apps! You can also find them in the app store on your phone. Just search “reward” and see what comes up!
- If a product is cheaper than its usual price (and within certain limits), rebate apps will immediately send you money back into your account or credit card! You save more over time with rewards ranging from $1 to $100+.
Join a wholesale club
One of the best ways to save money at a grocery store is by joining a wholesale club. If you live in a central metropolitan area, there’s probably one nearby, but if not, it might be worth looking into joining one online.
Wholesale clubs offer memberships for annual fees and sometimes for monthly dues, but the benefits can be huge! You’ll get access to products at very competitive prices, sometimes even lower than what you’d find at your local supermarket or market, and often with exclusive offers or special deals on these items.
Buying gas from the same place you buy groceries (or household goods) will also save you money. When customers shop regularly and make purchases above a certain threshold, these stores usually have a loyalty program that gives them perks like cash back.
Sign up for the loyalty program
If you’re like most people, then your local grocery store probably offers a loyalty program. The idea behind these programs is that the more you spend at a particular store, the more rewards you can earn and the more savings you will see. These programs are usually free to join and easy to sign up for. To get started, you have to ask an employee (or look on their website) if they have one and how they work.
After signing up for a loyalty card, remember that not all grocery stores offer identical benefits or discounts, so it’s essential to compare them before deciding which one(s) is right for your family’s needs.
Check expiration dates
Knowing which ones to buy can be challenging when you go to the grocery store and have many options. Here’s a tip: When looking at products that all look similar, check the expiration date first! This will help you save money because the items with later expiration dates will last longer in your pantry and your fridge. They’ll also be more likely to taste better than those with earlier expiration dates, and who doesn’t want that? If you aren’t sure how long something lasts after its “Best By” date has passed, ask an employee at the store who works there (or Google it).
Use a grocery rewards card.
If you’re looking for a way to maximize savings and make the most of your grocery store membership, check out these tips on using a rewards card:
- Find a grocery rewards card that works for you. If you don’t have one already, several websites can help match consumers with the best deals based on their shopping habits.
- Become familiar with each store’s rules and policies concerning rewards cards. Different stores offer different incentives; some require members to spend money at their establishment to use their points or cash them in for gift cards.
- Others may limit how many times shoppers can redeem their monthly points. In contrast, others may not allow shoppers who only shop at one store (read: Amazon Prime members) access free shipping when making purchases online through an affiliated marketplace seller app like Instacart.
Use cash instead of a debit or credit card
Using cash instead of a debit or credit card can help curb your anxiety about how to save money on groceries. That’s because cash is more tangible than plastic, and you won’t be able to spend more than you have, even with a debit card with a low balance. If you have no money in your checking account, you can’t spend anything on your card—even if the balance is zero!
This might sound obvious, but using cash only, forces us to be more mindful about what we’re buying. When we use our cards, it seems like there’s always enough room for one more thing or another at the register (even though we know deep down that this isn’t true). Pulling out actual dollars for each item significantly reduces temptation compared to swiping plastic every time.
Side note: using a cash back credit card can be another effective way to get discounts on your groceries. As long as you pay your full balance each month, then it’s essentially just a kickback on anything you spend.
Budgeting your money at the grocery store is an important skill to have. Budgeting is essential, especially if you’re trying to save money. You need to know how much money you have available for groceries and how much you want to spend on each food group.
While budgeting can be a difficult task, it’s also something that can be learned with practice. It will become more natural and manageable when you get better at grocery stores budgeting your finances. Budgeting is essential because it helps with saving money in the long run. If you don’t know your budget or don’t plan which foods are worth spending more on or less on (like organic vs. non-organic), then there is no way buying things without thinking about them first would ever save anyone any time or energy.
Suppose you are still wondering how to save money on groceries, the most important thing to remember when grocery shopping is to budget your money. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from all these tips, it’s that the best way to save money at the grocery store is by planning! You can use a pre-made list or create your own based on what deals you find online or in-store (and what coupons might be available).