7 Ways to Cut Costs at a Grocery Store
Here are a few steps that I take to save money while food shopping
1. Meal Plan
Before I go grocery shopping, I always brainstorm what meals I want to have that week. I typically cook a stew-like dish that I can get 3-4 meals out of (some of which I’ll freeze for a later date) and meals that I can make quickly. By doing this small amount of prep, I save money each week because I know what I’m having for each meal and can avoid costly “fast” food.
2. Make a Grocery List
Once I determine my meals for the week, I then write down all of the ingredients that I don’t have in stock. It’s important to take inventory of what food you have in the pantry or refrigerator so you don’t allow anything to go to waste. I try to just buy the items on my list while I’m at the store, but alas, I usually add 1 or 2 items that I forgot I needed.
By sticking to my list, I’m less likely to buy things I don’t need or give in to impulse buys, therefore saving me money when I go check out.
3. Compare prices & look at the price per unit
For the most part, generic brands are cheaper than their name brand counterparts (and typically taste just as good). However, this isn’t always the case so I make sure to compare the unit prices of the products. For those who might not know, a lower unit price means you’re getting more bang for your buck. While this may not seem to have a big impact on your total, if you apply this rule to all of your products, it will save you a decent amount in the long run.
4. Buy in bulk when it makes sense
I’m a huge advocate of buying in bulk for non-perishables (ie – paper products, oats, dried beans, etc) since they store easily. Perishables are a different story though. If you are just cooking for one or don’t have a place/know how to store the extra food, then I don’t think it’s worth buying in mass quantities. I’d rather spend a little extra money than risk having food spoil.
5. Use coupons
Depending on what part of the country you live in and what grocery store you shop at, this one might be harder than others. For whatever reason, I feel like relevant coupons are hard to come by so I’m always happy when I find one on a product I actually use. The real key though is remembering that you have the coupon when you check out! Here are the top places I find coupons:
1. Cell phone apps
3. Weekly inserts
6. Use a store’s reward card
These have always been free in every grocery store I’ve ever been to so there’s no reason not to have one. Many times you can get a discount on the store brand products you buy. Like many other items on this list, the reward card savings aren’t many during a single shopping trip, but they add up over time.
7. Check your receipt before you leave the store
I can think of a handful of times that I checked my receipt when I got home only to find that they double charged me for an item. Now I’m diligent about checking my receipt right after the cashier has handed it to me. Thanks to this small habit, I no longer risk spending more than necessary.
Do you have any tips to saving at the grocery store?!