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Wondering How to Save Money on Groceries? Give These Tips a Try!
It’s so secret that trying to save money is something we often strive for. This is especially true when it comes to saving money on things that we HAVE to buy – like groceries. We all have to eat, so spending money on food is inevitable. HOW you spend that money is definitely within your control, though!
Being the two of us, we set out to buy groceries with the intent of saving money and eating healthy. Some might say that’s no possible – but we can tell you that it definitely is. And no, you don’t need stacks of coupons to do it! You just have to know what you are doing and stick to it when you shop.
Whether you are a large family or just a single person household, finding ways to save money on groceries can really make a difference in how much you spend (or save) over the course of a month, year – or more. So, here are some great tips we use ourselves to reduce what we spend when shopping!
Look At The Lower Shelves
As you probably already know, the most expensive products are usually displayed at eye-level. The thought behind this is that consumers are more likely to see these products and and therefore more likely to buy them.
The cheaper – often generic – brands are usually stored at the lower shelves – and sometimes they are so easily overlooked. That’s why we recommend that you always check the shelves that are not at eye-level before putting something in your shopping cart. Often there are cheaper alternatives that work just as well.
Buy Less Meat
Did you know that buying and eating meat can be more expensive than eating a diet that includes more plant-based protein such as soy (tofu, tempeh), beans or lentils. If you’re a meat lover – no, we are not telling you to become a vegetarian/vegan overnight.
However, substituting a few meat-based meals per week with simple plant-based alternatives can be a great and easy way to save some money on groceries. At the same time, be careful not to substitute your meat consumption with any of those fancy new meat-substitute products. Normal beans, lentils and tofu will do the job just fine!
Don’t Go Grocery Shopping Hungry
Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry and came home with lots of things that you didn’t mean to buy? We know we have!
That’s why we now make it a point to only go to the grocery store when we’ve eaten something beforehand and don’t feel hungry. It can be quite noticeable how much easier it is to resist putting food that you don’t need (mainly junk food) into your shopping cart or basket.
Read Next: Money Saving Challenges You Should Try
Make A Grocery List
When you’re not really sure what you need, it’s so much easier to spend more money because you will probably end up with a few “maybe I could try this” and “I might need this” kind of products in your shopping cart.
Think about what you want to cook for the next few days and then make a shopping list with that in mind. Not only can this save you a lot of time in the store, it can also save you quite a bit of money by avoiding products that you have no use for!
Only Shop Once A Week
We have noticed that we can save quite a bit of money on groceries by only shopping once a week. That doesn’t mean that we have to starve half the week – we obviously buy more groceries on our weekly shopping trip than we would if we went shopping twice or three times a week.
However, what we have noticed is that we buy a lot less junk food, cookies, chips, etc. when we go shopping once a week. Sure, we might still get some snacks on our shopping trip – but when they are gone, we have to wait for a few days until we go shopping again.
If we went shopping two times a week, the temptation to pick up another few unhealthy snacks during that trip to the store would be quite big. By not even going to the store, we can avoid this temptation. Over time, this saves us quite a bit of money that we would have otherwise spent on empty calories.
We are not big into coupons (also because they are not as common where we currently live), but we do use them every once in a while and know that some people can save huge amounts of money with coupons.
If you feel slightly uncomfortable with using coupons, you don’t have to go overboard. Just keeping an eye out and knowing what kind of deals exist can already make a difference and help you save some money on more costly purchases.
Nowadays, you can also use a lot of coupon codes online – which can be a great way to save some money on non-perishable items. Just make sure to do the math if there are any additional costs (e.g. shipping) involved with ordering online!
Don’t Buy Pre-Cut/Washed
Buying pre-cut or pre-washed items can be quite convenient and save a little bit of time. From a money perspective, however, it’s usually not a great choice since you pay for that convenience.
So if you’re trying to save some money on groceries, it’s usually better to buy uncut and/or unwashed produce. And honestly, it doesn’t actually take that long to wash or cut it, does it?
In some cases, it can be a good alternative to buy frozen produce if you want to use it for cooking. Before doing that, you should always do the math to see which option would be more economical!
Set A Budget Before Shopping
When we go shopping with a set budget in mind, we usually pay so much more attention to the price – and compare different options. It might just be a mindset thing – because of course we want to succeed with the goal that we set ourselves. Whatever the case, it certainly helps us save money when grocery shopping!
Of course it is important that you set a realistic budget. There’s no point in setting a budget that is way too low and makes it impossible for you to buy even the basic products that you need to cook your meals for the next week.
At the same time, you also shouldn’t set a budget that is way too high. Your budget shouldn’t allow you to put a whole bunch of unnecessary snacks into your shopping cart without going over the budget. You’re trying to save money, remember?
Eat In Season
You’ve probably heard of this tip before – but we’ll repeat it because it’s true! Eating fruit and vegetables that are in season can save you quite a bit of money. And not only that, but often produce that is in season doesn’t have to be shipped from halfway around the world. So that’s another big plus in our books!
It can be difficult to first figure out what kind of produce is in season during which time of the year. But once you’ve started paying more attention, you’ll get used to it quickly! If you are based in the United States, then you can also check websites such as this one to see the produce that is in season for your state!
Don’t Go Overboard on “Treats”
We know that it can be very tempting to get snacks and treats at the grocery store, but try to put a limit on it! Do you really need chips, chocolate, ice cream, donuts and gummy candy? Not only are most “treats” not really that good for your body, but they can also unnecessarily blow up your grocery bill!
You don’t have to stop eating candy completely – we know how nice it can be to enjoy a piece of chocolate at the end of the day. However, try to limit yourself and don’t go overboard. We usually allow ourselves one or two treats maximum per week. So, at the grocery store we’ll think about whether we’d rather have the chocolate covered peanuts or the bag of salt and vinegar chips. And then we only buy that!
In the beginning, it might take some getting used to but honestly it’s not that difficult to stick with it! And it a way, it makes the treats we have at home feel so much more special and we enjoy them more.
Stick To The Basics
The meals you eat every day don’t have to be or look fancy. Yes, social media sometimes makes us believe that our meals have to look amazing – but they don’t! As long as you eat a balanced diet and get all the nutrients your body needs, you can pretty much stick to the basics.
There’s no need to get an exotic fruit when you can also get an apple – that’s what we’re trying to say. There are healthy filling meals that can be made with rice, lentils, beans, and standard vegetables like carrots and peppers. You don’t need all of the super foods and dried berries and fancy spices – sometime it can even be fun to come up with new dishes using “normal” ingredients.
Read Next: How to Eat Healthy On A Budget
Compare Sizes And Prices
Sometimes comparing sizes and prices at the grocery store can be very confusing and slightly difficult – especially if you don’t enjoy math. However, if you’re trying to save money at the store, doing this can make such a difference!
What appears cheaper at first glance is actually not always cheaper when you break it down. Sometimes bigger sizes are more expensive, but then when you break it down to price per unit (or similar measurement), it turns out being cheaper than the smaller package.
However, this is certainly not always the case! That’s why it is so important to not just compare prices – but also compare the amount that you get for that price!
Buy Generic Brands
Sometimes it’s so easy to get sucked into buying brand name products. We believe that’s because we see them so much on TV and/or social media that in some cases we just feel more connected with a brand and/or believe that it will do a better job. For us, that’s often the case when it comes to products for baking (or similar).
However, we have to remember that that is – unless there have been professional tests/studies – something that hasn’t been proven. It’s just advertisement. That’s why we’d recommend that you always compare brand names to generic brands – compare the price and compare the ingredients, and if those are good, give it a try!
In some cases you might find that the generic brand product doesn’t work as well – and that’s fine. But there are probably also going to be cases where the generic brand works just as well (if not better) than a brand name. And since generic brands are usually noticeably cheaper than brand names, these switches can save you some money on groceries!
Know Your Grocery Stores
Unless you live in a very remote area, you probably have more than one grocery store that you could go to. That’s why it is important to get to know your stores! Where is the produce good and affordable? Which store has better deals on staples such as pasta, rice and beans?
Knowing this and then shopping accordingly can save you a noticeable amount of money on groceries over a period of time. We wouldn’t recommend going to a different grocery store just because of one or two items (the gas you use driving there might be more than the few cents you’d save). However, if there are more items or the savings are significant, then go for it!
Grow It Yourself
No, we’re not telling you to build a greenhouse in your garden and become completely self-sufficient. However, there are quite a few items that are easy to grow at home.
One such example is herbs and produce like tomatoes. Not only are herbs often on the expensive side when you buy them at the grocery store, but growing your own herbs at home can actually be a fun hobby. We are actually trying to get more into growing our own produce at home – and will keep you updated on how that turns out!
Stop Buying Bottled Water And Sugary Drinks
Another way you can save money on groceries is by buying less bottled water and sugary drinks. We understand that in some parts of the world, it’s not possible or healthy to drink the tab water – and then obviously you shouldn’t do it.
However, if you can drink the tap water where you live, then give it a try! Not only could you save some money by not buying bottled water, it would also reduce the amount of plastic waste you create at home!
Cutting out sugary drinks should – in theory – be even easier than stopping to buy bottled water. However, we also know that it can sometimes be difficult to change a habit – and sugar can be kind of addicting. But be strong and try to buy less and less sugary drinks over time. If you don’t have them at home, you also can’t drink them!
Read Next: How to drink more water
Bring Your Own Bags
This one might be tip that doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s one that you can implement very easily. In some countries, you actually have to pay for the bags you get at the grocery store.
That’s why we’d recommend that you buy a few good reusable bags and then use them over and over when you go grocery shopping. Over time, this might save you a little bit of money – as long as you remember to actually bring your own bags and don’t forget them at home half the time!
And at the same time, this option is more environmentally friendly since you can avoid using these thin plastic bags that you’d only throw out at home anyway.
Use What You Buy
Saving money on groceries doesn’t stop after you leave the grocery store. If you don’t end up using the items you bought and then have to throw them out after they go bad, you’re wasting money in a way.
Had you never bought the unused item to begin with, that money would still be in your wallet! That’s why it is so important to actually pay attention of the food you have at home and use it before it goes bad. Not only can you reduce your food waste this way, it also helps you save money!
And there you have it – a handful of great ways to save money on groceries. Of course, not all of these will work for everyone but it’s definitely a great list to start off with and to find some inspiration! Let us know how it goes shopping – we’re always up for hearing new tips and strategies.
As always, Stay Curious,
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