Are you looking for ways to minimise household spending and save more money? Maybe you need to finance your dream vacation or pay for your children’s college education. Whatever your reason is, you can easily save thousands a year and reach your savings goals faster if you reduce your grocery expenses.
That said, cutting back on groceries does not mean depriving your family of healthy, delicious meals or living differently. With proper planning, foresight, and a few tips and tricks, you can make grocery shopping more affordable. From creating a list to taking advantage of a clearance sale, here are several strategies to reduce your grocery bills:
1. Go to the Store with a Shopping List (and Stick to It!)
Proper planning is key to doing everything—even grocery shopping. Unless you take the time to write down all the things you need from the store, you will most likely end up buying unnecessary things and forgetting essential items. Isn’t that a big waste of time and money? You should definitely make it a habit to create an extensive shopping list before heading out to shop. More importantly, follow your list to the letter and resist the urge to impulse buy to avoid overspending.
2. Shop on a Full Stomach
Besides making sure that you have a shopping list when you buy groceries, eating something before grocery shopping will also help you save money. According to many studies over the years, people tend to purchase considerably more stuff when they shop on an empty stomach. Hunger makes people focus on the thought of seeking, acquiring, and consuming food. Such thoughts increase the desire to get not only food, but also non-food items. So, if you want to avoid the temptation of spending money on groceries you do not need, always shop on a full stomach.
3. Stock Up When Staple Items Are on Sale
While buying household staples is non-negotiable, you do not have to pay full price on these all the time. Just stock up when these items are on sale. You can start with must-have items that are nonperishable, such as canned goods, paper towels, and toilet paper. Imagine how much money you can save when you always purchase your staples at reduced prices.
4. Look Beyond the Label
Branded products are more expensive but this does not mean that their quality is much better than generic or store-brand items. More often than not, the only difference between branded and generic brands besides the price is the packaging. So, the next time you shop, opt for generic products to save a few bucks.
5. Compare Prices
You may not realise it, but identical products are often sold at different prices depending on the store. As such, you may want to visit several grocery stores in your neighbourhood and compare prices. It just makes sense to purchase from a store that offers the groceries you need for less.
6. Opt for Whole Items
Buying pre-cut veggies, shredded cheese, or other prepared food items may help cut your food preparation time, but these are usually more expensive than their unprocessed counterparts. Stretch your money by purchasing whole vegetables, fruits, and other similar products. IF the reason you choose processed foods is the time-saving you get from them, perhaps you can allot time for meal prepping during the weekends. Chop, dice, and slice all the ingredients you need for the week and store them in the freezer.
7. Use a Calculator
If you often spend more than your set budget when shopping for groceries, you need to shop with a calculator. Tally every item you put in the cart to have an idea of how much your groceries cost even before reaching the checkout counter. If your computation indicates that you are spending beyond your budget, take out the items you do not need. This shopping trick is also an effective strategy to avoid impulse buying.
8. Give “Must-Go” Food Items a Chance
Contrary to popular belief, perishable food items marked as “must-go” are not expired. The store simply wants to sell them faster before they reach their sell-by date to avoid wastage. These food items are still in good condition and perfectly safe to consume. Try buying these products if you can cook them right away and reduce your food spending significantly.
9. Reinvent Leftover Food
Throwing away leftovers is a surefire way to increase your food spending and waste your hard-earned money. If your family dislikes reheated meals, be creative. There are plenty of ways to breathe new life into leftover food. For instance, you can chop up leftover meat and scramble a couple of eggs to create a tasty omelette. You can also use these same leftovers as a sandwich filling or to make fried rice. The possibilities are endless, but if you need ideas, check out recipes online. With this strategy, you will readily notice a significant reduction in your monthly food expenses.
10. Grow Your Own Produce
Growing an edible garden is a sure way to save on groceries in the long run. It is also a relaxing activity that can help relieve stress and anxiety. If you have limited space, you can plant veggies and herbs in pots. Just make sure that you position the containers in areas where they can receive a lot of sunlight.
Reducing your grocery bills does not happen overnight. The process requires careful attention, self-control, and a bit of work. However, if you persevere and practice money-saving habits consistently, spending prudently will become second nature to you. Best of all, you will also save enough money to fund your financial goals.