Inflation has been challenging for everyone. Utilities, entertainment, clothing, and even food have all skyrocketed in the past few years, and who knows if those prices will ever return to what they once were? This writer has her doubts. So that means we all must adapt somehow, and one of the easiest ways to adapt is in your weekly grocery shopping.
So Easy to Buy
It’s easy to overspend at the grocery store. After all, spending on groceries is justified. We all need to eat. But even at the grocery store, there are ways to save money without feeling broke or starved. You can even afford healthy foods if you are careful.
Here are 12 small ways to save money at the grocery store that will noticeably become more significant savings over time.
Create Your Grocery List and Stick To It
Buying extra stuff is easy as you walk down the aisle. Snacks and bright labels scream at you to put them in your cart. But sticking to your list will ensure you only buy what you need. Being this strict may take a little practice and discipline, but it works. Here’s a Healthy Foods Shopping List if you need a place to start.
Pick Your Stores Wisely
It’s easy to tell you to clip coupons, but you should also consider which stores you shop at. Some are well-known for being pricier than others. Try shopping at multiple stores to get the best deals. Those coupons go much further if you shop at the most affordable places.
Download your local grocery store’s app if they have one. It’s a great way to get easy access to coupons and deals. You can check on them in-store and find a few last-minute deals.
Don’t Shop Hungry
You’ve heard this before, but it’s so incredibly accurate. It’s easy to understand that you will buy more if you shop hungry. Everything in the store will look good if you are hungry enough. Then, after you have eaten, you realize how far off the budget you went.
Pull out cash for your food budget for the month. Separate it into four equal sections with paper clips. Only spend what you have in your weekly money bundle if your bundle runs out; no shopping until the following week. It’s simple but effective. You learn not to overspend fast that way.
Purchase cheaper cuts of meat wherever possible. They are just as good, taste the same, and will cost a noticeable amount of money less than the pricier cuts. Buy cuts such as chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. These small changes can add up over time. Need some tasty chicken thigh recipes? Check out these recipes here.
Buy dry bulk foods. Some stores have bulk bins where you can load up on food at excellent prices on things like dry grains and beans. Keep an extensive stock of them at home so you always have something to fall back on if your weekly budget gets a little thin.
Cut the Junk
We all want a treat occasionally, but buying weekly garbage is a fast path to Brokeville. The tendency to easily buy junk is another reason to avoid shopping hungry.
Reach for the cartons in the back. Grocery stores tend to stock food from the back so that the oldest food is in the front, where most people will grab it first. But if you reach into the back for foods with a later expiration date, your food will last a few days longer, allowing you to use it before it goes wrong and avoid food waste.
Cleaners Don’t Need to Break the Bank
Buy budget cleaners. Shop at places like the dollar store for cleaners. The cleaners they sell are every bit as good as the more expensive ones at your regular grocery store, and you can load up on them for bargain basement prices.
Don’t buy bottled water. Bottled water is not the best option for your health or the planet. Instead, purchase a reusable water bottle and refill it often. You’ll save yourself from spending too much on bottles you’ll drink from once and then discard. It’s just not an intelligent use of your money.
Eat in season. As a society, we have gotten away from eating with the seasons. But the truth is, in-season foods are far more affordable than those not in-season. It’s basic economics. When something is readily available, the price will be lower. In addition, you’ll also get the added benefit of the extra nutrients in fresh, in-season foods. Find a pot and plant just one vegetable to grow on your porch this summer. It may not seem like a lot, but the food will be in season, and it’s one less thing you need to buy at the store. Again, little changes add up.
I’ll share a quick story with you here. Years ago, I decided to become vegan. While I’m no longer vegan, I will never forget when I realized my grocery bill was half what I spent when I was eating meat. Meat and animal products are expensive, whether you believe in a plant-based diet or not. So, while I realize not everyone can or should be vegan, it’s an option for some if you want to cut your grocery bill. Just stay away from the processed vegan garbage and stick to real food. You’ll see the savings happen fast. Here’s a Getting Started Guide for starting a vegan diet if it interests you.
Word to the Wise
While there are many ways to save money, the little things often add up the fastest. Keeping those little things in check at the grocery store will help keep your budget where it needs to be.
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