There’s no getting around it. Food is a basic necessity and you cannot survive without it. It can be very easy to find yourself spending more than you want or need at the grocery store. If you overspend on groceries, you may find yourself short on money for other expenses. Here are some tips on how you can save money on groceries.
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- Shop from a list. Inventory what’s in your kitchen, fridge, freezer, and pantry every week. Keep a list handy where you can easily add things you are running out of or that need to be replaced. Buy only things you need that are on your list.
- Meal plan. Planning meals for a week can save you time and money. You spend more if you order take out of have to go to the grocery store every day.
- Keep a running total. Keep track of the cost of what’s going into your basket using a calculator or your cell phone. It’s always helpful to know what you’re spending before you get to the register. It’s also helpful to use them if you need to compare pricing of buying two different product types or quantities.
- Shop alone. When you have other family members with you, such as children, they tend to ask you to buy additional items you might not need which increases the grocery bill.
- Shop early in the day or late at night. By shopping when the store is less crowded you can finish faster, decreasing the likelihood that you’ll spend extra time in the aisles where you can add unnecessary items to your cart. Early morning and late night are also the time that many stores mark down items like meat in order to sell them before the store closes and their sell by date passes.
- Don’t shop hungry. Studies have shown that shoppers tend to buy more in the grocery stores when they are hungry. No doubt this is part of the reason candy is conveniently located by cash registers and bakeries are near the entrance to the store. Shopping when you’re full will help you fight the urge to buy things that can be eaten right there and then.
- Avoid buying non-grocery items at the grocery store. Health and beauty products such as contact lens products and painkillers may cost significantly more at the grocery store than they do at a large drug store or discount department store.
- Look up and down. When shopping be sure to check the higher and lower shelves. The more expensive brands are normally located on the shelves at eye to chest level. Less expensive brands, as well as generics, are either located higher or lower than the average line of sight.
- Check prices. Don’t buy items that have no price. Either ask someone to get a price for you or use a price check scanner if your store offers one. If shopping a sale or using a coupon, be sure to buy the correct size, variety, and quantity. If you don’t need a specific brand, use unit pricing to know which products offer the best value.
- Get a raincheck. If you have items on your list that are on a really good sale be sure to get a raincheck if the store is out of it.
- Check your receipt. I like to watch the screen as items are rung up. It’s easier to question pricing at the register than it is after you pay. It’s very common for items to ring up incorrectly, and nickels, dimes and quarters add up quickly. Be sure items are ringing up at their correct advertised price.
Do you have any additional tips for saving money on groceries?