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How to Save Money on Groceries: Best Tips
Best Tips for Saving Money on Groceries
Everybody wants to save money but few people will take the time and expend the effort to really learn about ways to save money on groceries. Life is busy and people have more important things to consider than saving a few bucks at the supermarket, right? Most folks already have too much on their plates already and may not be concerned with how to save money on groceries.
Fact is, most folks shop by simply taking a look in the refrigerator, cabinet or pantry and making a list of the things they need or want to eat. They then drive to the nearest supermarket and fill their cart with the most appetizing selections. Those who cook at home may also make regular runs to the grocery store to get a few ingredients for a special dish. Grocery shopping can be very expensive.
There are better ways to save money...
Ways to Save Money at the Supermarket
If you are one who manages their money and are constantly on the hunt for savings tips, this article is for you.
When my spouse and I started to carefully manage our finances, we started to really take notice of just how much money we actually spent each month. We developed a household budget in order to take control of our financial situation. Since groceries was a big part of our household budget, we decided that part of that budget would include making the most of the money we spent at the grocery store.
Once we sat down and took a close look at how we were spending our food dollars, we saw that this spending was out of control.
Make a Menu and Plan Meals in Advance
Of all the ways to save money on groceries, planning a menu is perhaps one of the most effective. Sure, it takes some time and effort to plan ahead a few weeks but it is by far one of the best ways to save big money. Planning meals also helps you ensure that you have all the right ingredients to prepare the healthiest and most nutritious meals for your family.
Planning each meal is also going to cut down on the number of times you have to make one of those "I need just this one thing" trips to the grocery store.
Planning assures you have enough of the critical, basic ingredients necessary for healthy meals. Meal planning also requires you make a standardized grocery list.
Save even more money by using the same basic ingredients in several meals. For example, how many ways can chicken breast be prepared?
Planning ahead and buying large numbers of these items saves time and unnecessary trips to the store.
I remember when we first instituted this meal-planning mentality at our house. Before meal planning, we would simply look in the cupboard or fridge to see what was available. If the ingredients were not there to make a meal, we simply ordered a pizza - it was just easier.
When we sat down and began to take control of our finances, we discovered, to our horror, that we were spending almost $400 (USD) each month on pizza! That was a big chunk of our monthly food budget.
Save Money by Shopping Only Once a Month
Making only one trip to the grocery store is absolutely one of the most effective ways to save money on groceries.
Look, I was in the advertising/marketing biz for 35 years and the number one thing retailers know about shoppers is that they are especially susceptible to impulse buying.
Retailers hire consultants to design store layouts to keep people in the store longer, lead shoppers to certain parts of the store and program specific music to appeal to shoppers in their stores at different times of the day.
Shopping only once a month eliminates the temptation of impulse buying every time you go into a supermarket. Monthly visits also help you easily plan for your monthly budget.
Some other tips for saving money on groceries include not taking small children, not shopping when you're hungry and shopping at a particular time of the day.
Small children are especially motivated by packaging and may ask for many items that are not on your list. Shopping at about 10:00 a.m. will help you avoid hunger pangs and also help to beat those heavy afternoon grocery store crowds.
Shopping at Bulk Stores is One of the Best Ways to Save Money
Stores like Costco® or Sam's Club® carry name brand items in large, bulk quantities. If you're shopping every month and planning meals, the big bulk sizes work perfectly, especially if you have a hungry family.
These bulk stores make sense for those who do not want to mess with coupons. While you can use some coupons there, the everyday deals will likely give you more savings than the coupon.
For example, I paid less than $4 (USD) for a 48-ounce bag of Costco Brand Tortilla Chips. A 12.25-ounce bag of Tostitos® Tortilla Chips at our local grocery store is about the same price.
That is four times the tortilla chips for the same price. You will have to check out the bulk store in your area to get a true cost comparison, but I'm sure you will find some amazing buys there.
Save Even More Money by NOT Buying These Items at the Grocery Store
Although buying a saucepan or a spatula at the grocery store may seem convenient you will likely pay much more. Looking to save money at the supermarket?
Toiletries, cosmetics, razor blades, moisturizer, deodorant and toothpaste all cost substantially more at the grocery store.
The same goes for batteries, light bulbs and extension cords - all very expensive there.
Purchase small appliances like toasters, tea kettles and coffee makers at a grocery store and you will definitely pay a premium price for them. Supermarket party supplies are another set of items that tend to be particularly expensive.
Sure, grocery stores offer convenience but if you're looking for easy to save money, head over to the hardware, department or dollar store.