Grocery shopping can sometimes be overwhelming and expensive if you aren’t prepared. That’s why we’re here to give you the scoop on saving money at the grocery store. Here’s how:
Decide Where To Shop
There are plenty of options when grocery shopping and depending on your budget for the week, you may need to get creative with shopping. Visiting multiple stores might be the new norm to help you stick to your budget.
Traditional grocery stores and local supermarkets offer the convenience of items you need to buy now. Giant superstores like Wal-Mart and Target offer a huge variety of options and often will price match to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Bulk shopping is an excellent option for those who have a huge family or regularly use large quantities of grocery items. Lets not forget about Dollar Stores as some sell name brand household items that will be cheaper. Think condiments, rice, oatmeal and frozen veggies.
The key here is to find out which store is best for your budget. The convenience of your local supermarket might be great for one-off items, but will you be able to stick to your budget if you shop for a week's worth of groceries? Set your weekly budget and determine which grocery store will keep your budget in check.
Planning ahead is essential when grocery shopping. The first thing to do in planning is to make a list - and stick to it! Whether you write it down or add it to your mobile notepad, include everything you will need. In addition to normal meat, cheese, vegetables, etc. don’t forget to add spices, oils or household products.
To further organize your list, decide what meals you’ll want to make for the next week or so. Meal prepping is a great time saver and it limits the amount of food you might waste when buying random grocery items. Pick a few breakfast, lunch and dinner options and create your list based on the ingredients for each.
It’s also important to take inventory of the contents of your pantry before shopping to give you a better idea of what you need to purchase at the store.
Many grocery stores offer some sort of loyalty program where you can earn discounts on items not advertised to the general public or they offer money off when you spend a certain amount on items. If you’re looking to save money when grocery shopping, signing up for these perks is a great step!
Take note of the deals with huge markdowns on items you use regularly. If you are familiar with your grocery store and the pricing for an item, you will know if it’s an actual deal and if it’s not. Stockpile these items while they’re on sale to save big on them in the future.
The best time to shop for groceries is on Wednesdays - who knew?! Many supermarkets begin new sale events on this day, so they are looking to get rid of the perishable items that hadn’t sold at the beginning of the week. This is great for your budget! You can take advantage of the discounted meat, poultry and cheeses as they will still be days away from their sell-by date.
If you’re not using the food right away, stick it in the freezer to preserve it. And we know what you’re thinking, “What about produce?!” Supermarkets tend to set out a fresh display of produce on Wednesdays, too! Get the biggest bang for your buck on these items as the same rule applies, supermarkets want to get them off the shelves!
This last part goes without saying, never grocery shop on an empty stomach. Not only will you be tempted to purchase items not on your list, you run the risk of blowing your budget out of the water and potentially wasting food. We’ve all done it, shopped on an empty stomach which resulted in purchasing a pack of Honey Buns. Well, you probably ate one of those sweet treats to satisfy your craving, put them up in the cupboard and never saw them again until you’ve gone to clean it out. So, eat before or grab a snack before you head inside. If you’re shopping with children, the same rule applies. Keep them occupied with snacks and games so they are not tempting you to buy additional items.
Whether you decide to shop locally or at a superstore, pre-planning your grocery shopping trip will save you money and time in the long run. Be sure to stay focused on your list, track your budget and sign up for coupon programs.
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