Spending your hard-earned money on the daily essentials is a part of life. Along with your rent or mortgage, you cannot avoid the weekly grocery shopping bill.
Weekly household grocery spending in the United States is around $106 to $160 dollars. However, buying your weekly grocery doesn’t need to break the bank.
In this article, you’ll learn the best ways for you to save money on your grocery shopping bill.
How To Save Money With Grocery
There are many ways to save money when you go grocery shopping. This includes making a weekly meal plan, avoiding fancy recipes, making meals from scratch, and shopping around for the most competitive prices.
1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
Many of you might have been given the advice ‘don’t shop when you’re hungry’ because you’re likely to buy more food than you need. I know I have.
Research presented at the 2011 conference of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour found that in one study when participants were hungry, their brains were more receptive to food than other purchasable items.
So, if you’re hungry, have a snack before you head to the grocery store to curb that hunger.
2. Make a list (and stick to it)
A shopping list is a tried and true way to stick to a predetermined number of items that you need from the shops. If you stick to it, you’re less likely to buy items that you don’t need.
And if you combine it with a weekly meal plan, you know exactly what is necessary and what will just bloat your credit card.
3. Avoid fancy recipes
We all like to indulge in fancy food, some of us more than others. However, elaborate meals often come with expensive ingredients. If you cannot swap out a pricy spice for a less-expensive alternative, you might need to reduce the number of fancy meals you plan to cook each week.
4. Check your stocks before you shop
Food waste in the United States is a massive problem. Each year, around 180 billion pounds of food is wasted. That equates to 130 billion meals and a shocking $408 billion in food that is thrown in the trash each year.
Not only is food wastage a terrible situation when so many people around the world don’t have enough it eat, but it is an appalling waste of money as well.
So, check your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry before you shop, and don’t buy what you already have. This will reduce the likelihood that the food you buy ends up in the bin.
5. Shop when you’re not rushed
If you’re like me, grocery shopping is a chore that must be over and done with as quickly as possible. However, one way to develop good money habits in the supermarket is to take your time to compare prices.
This means looking for items beyond your immediate eye line (that’s where the cheaper, store-brand options often are) and comparing not just prices between brands but also quantities.
Often, buying in bulk is also a great way to save money, as long as none of the food ends up in the bin.
6. Make a weekly meal plan
This requires a little organization, a dash of creativity, and a handful of persistence. But it’s a great way to prepare yourself for an efficient trip to the grocery store.
When you have a plan on what you will be eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, you’re less likely to spend money on foods that you really don’t need.
7. Join a collective
Many communities have local co-ops that are run by people like you and me.
It’s a simple system where buyers group together to buy items in bulk and members share in the savings. Not only can you enjoy fresh food at lower prices, but you can end up reducing food miles for the community as well.
8. Make meals from scratch
Fresh food is expensive, there’s no way to deny it. But your grocery bill can creep up the more we choose pre-prepared meals. Not only are they bland and generally less nutritious but they also have hidden sugars and salts that are bad for your health.
For your wallet and your well-being, avoid them as much as possible.
9. Educate yourself on prices
It’s a great idea to make yourself aware of the regular prices of the most important items on your shopping list like fruits and vegetables, bread, and toiletries. Not only will you be able to compare items to choose the cheapest, but you will be able to recognize when items are discounted.
10. Don’t be scared to shop around
For many of us, the local supermarket is a quick and convenient place to do your grocery shopping. However, it is not necessarily the cheapest or the place to get the best quality food.
Make yourself familiar with all the food outlets in your area. And don’t be afraid to travel those few extra miles to get a cheaper deal.
Becoming familiar with specialty shops is also a great way to save as well. Try your local grocer, florist, and butcher who might be better value for money.
11. Don’t be fooled by product placement
Supermarkets don’t arrange their shelves randomly. Each item is placed specifically to encourage you to spend more money when you go grocery shopping.
Research published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis found that items placed in the middle of the shelf were associated with the highest percentage of purchases.
This means that the retailers want you to buy items between eye level and grasp level. There are two likely reasons for this:
- They get more revenue from these items
- They are items associated with the retailer
So, keep your eyes open for items high and low and you’re more likely to grab a bargain.
12. Make enough for several meals
One of the best ways to appreciate the value of money is to stretch your hard-earned dollar that much further. When you’re cooking, make enough for a second meal. You can either have it for lunch the next day or stash it away in the freezer for a meal the following week.
This is true for leftovers too, which you can use to make a slightly different meal. For example, use the leftover chicken from the Sunday roast for chicken sandwiches the following day. If you’re particularly thrifty, you can even use the bones and skin for a delicious stock!
13. Buy when the food is reduced
Retailers will often reduce the prices of groceries when they are close to their use by and use before dates. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on your grocery bills long as you use the food before it spoils.
For example, if you visit the supermarket in the evening, the bread made that morning is likely to be discounted to a significant degree.
14. Be adventurous
Many of you are brand loyal, even if you aren’t aware that you are. It’s about being comfortable with what you know. However, if you are prepared to be a little adventurous, and try products and brands that you are not used to, there are loads of savings to be made.
For example, many supermarkets have their own branded products. Often, they are cheaper than the well-known alternatives and are of comparable (or even better) quality.
Being adventurous extends to the types of food you eat and the shops you visit. Step outside your comfort zone and try something different. Not only can you save only, but you can also enjoy something new.
15. Try the rewards program
Many establishments, especially the larger chain stores, have dedicated rewards programs. For example, in the United States, there are Albertsons for U, Giant Flexible Rewards, Kroger Boost, and Price Chopper, to name just a few.
The benefits of the rewards programs can vary, but you can use the points you earn:
- Get discounts buying groceries
- Ger discounts buying fuel
- Get cashback offers
- Have access to free products and weekly specials
Why You Should Develop Good Money Habits
When you have good money habits, you are able to manage your finances more effectively and make sound financial decisions. This can help you stay out of debt and save for important goals, like retirement or a rainy day fund.
Developing good money habits is not only useful when you step into the grocery shop. It is a skill and a habit that you will benefit from for the rest of your life.
Remember, learning about money is not something that happens once and then you’re done. It’s a lifelong process and we improve the more we practice.
When you develop good money habits:
- You are in control of your finances
- You can make thoughtful and informed decisions
- You are less likely to go into unnecessary debt
- You are more likely to have substantial savings
With good money habits, you are then less likely to be swayed by influential marketing gimmicks at the supermarket or grocery store that will end up burning a hole in your wallet or purse.
- How to Create Passive Income With Your Expertise Today (5-Easy Steps)
- How To Retire Early With $50,000 Passive Income (3 Easy Ways)
- Secret Truth of Passive Income vs Active Income (Secret to Get Rich)
- 9 Reasons Why You Should Start Saving Money
- 7 Biggest Money Traps to Avoid in your 20s and 30s (Money Mistakes)