10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
With rising inflation, import costs, and health crises gripping the world, many household items have become pretty expensive. Due to this, more and more people are becoming cautious about their spending habits.
Household shopping may be an expense you cannot avoid, but you don’t have to spend a fortune at the supermarket. There are plenty of ways to cut supermarket and local grocery store costs. However, this depends on where you shop, the things you buy, and even the number of people in your household.
If you follow these simple actions, you can slash a lot of money on your next shopping trip to the supermarket.
1. Set a Budget
Before you head to the local grocery store or supermarket, it’s prudent to have a budget. Create a budget based on what you can afford. Create a maximum cap of the amount you plan to spend.
Knowing how much to spend on a particular shopping trip helps reduce impulse buying. Once you are out shopping, stick to your budget.
2. Write a List
Creating a list of the things you intend to buy is the second most vital thing. When you hit the stores without a list, it’s easy to grab items that are not needed.
When planning to go shopping, take inventory of your storage spaces like your cabinets, fridge, pantry, and more. Determine the items you need to replenish. Also, you can make a weekly meal plan and check if you have all the items in the recipe. List those that are missing or depleted.
It’s important to stick to your list to avoid a bigger bill than planned for. When you have something like a list to follow, it can help you save money by buying only what’s necessary, so it’s a perfect tip for saving.
3. Never Shop When Hungry or Bring Kids to the Supermarket
While creating a budget and having a list is important, shopping on an empty stomach or with kids can be a big distraction. This can make you end up buying what you didn’t intend to or end up spending far more than you’d like.
Always have a snack or a meal before you leave for the supermarket to avoid temptation brought about by hunger. Hunger can create havoc with your shopping budget. Also, leave kids behind unless what you intend to buy has something to do with them or they must be around to approve.
4. Avoid Premium Brands
Most supermarkets stock four different product levels premium, branded, the store’s own brand, and basics. To save money, opting for the basic items may be the best option.
If you are used to buying a different option, you can do test-buying. Buy a few items to test if there’s much difference compared to what you normally buy. If there is not much difference or if it’s something you can adopt, make the switch.
Alternatively, go for store brands when buying items like milk, sugar, cleaning products, etc., as they are a little bit cheaper than premium ones. Compare the ingredient labels to learn which items are worth it and which ones aren’t.
5. Check for Discounts and Coupons
Some supermarkets create offers and discounts if you order a lot of something in advance. Ask your preferred store if they have such a deal.
Also, go for offers like “buy one get one free” or items sold as a package wrapped along with a freebie. You could easily save money on buying products being sold at a discount.
However, don’t fall into the trap of overspending or buying something not on your list just to qualify for discounts. You don’t want to spend more money than you planned.
Offers like “3 for the price of 2” may not be a great value compared to other items and may just be a way to encourage you to buy more than you need. This may thrust the cost of your shopping bill further up.
6. Buy in Bulk
While it requires spending more money upfront, bulk buying is an excellent way to save. This is because in most cases the more you buy, the cheaper it is.
Also, consider joining wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale that can help you save by buying in bulk. This is a perfect idea for those with large families. Clubs charge a membership fee, but the cost can be worthwhile if you stock up on items frequently.
7. Learn and Beat Supermarket Tricks
Supermarkets create tricks to lure their customers into digging more into their pockets. It’s good to be aware of such psychological tricks to keep your pocket strings shut.
- One of the tricks is placing treats near the registers. Almost everyone has fallen for this at some point.
- Another trick is placing their most profitable items at eye level that is, placing them in a place you can’t fail to miss them.
- Another is placing popular items at far ends of the store.
- Stores may place better-value items above or below eye level, so look around in all directions to spot the best and cheapest items that you need.
- Placing complementary goods beside each other is yet another trick. For example, placing biscuits near the tea or coffee is a subliminal way to tell you to buy both.
- Staples such as butter and milk are often at far ends compared to other essential items like bread. This is meant to increase your chances of filling your trolleys with non-essentials like chips and soft drinks en route.
Aim to be a savvier shopper by learning and avoiding some of these tricks that ruin your budget.
8. Compare Costs
Making comparisons can also help you cut the costs of shopping by 30%, studies show. This means comparing the prices for the brands you buy or changing stores to get cheaper ones.
However, before switching to a cheaper store, make calculations accounting for things such as the extra fuel you’ll have to spend. You may realize the savings are not worth it if you just end up consuming more gas to go to the cheaper store.
Also, before going to shop, check the online prices to know the cheapest provider or brand of the items you intend to buy. This can help you save money on both big and small purchases.
9. Avoid Pre-Cut Items
Most supermarkets take their time to add value to products to entice their customers. However, most of these pre-cut, pre-packaged, and processed items cost a bit more.
While pre-cut veggies or pre-shredded cheese may save you time while cooking, you’ll have to pay for convenience. As tempting as it may be, if you grab them, you’ll dish out extra pennies for the extra work that was put on them.
To save money, opt for whole items such as frozen or fresh veggies and block cheese, then go shred or cut on your own.
10. Sign up for Loyalty Programs and Clip Coupons
A lot of supermarkets have loyalty programs that are free to join. If you sign up, you can benefit from points and member-only discounts, reducing the bill at checkout.
Also, you may maximize the loyalty program by clipping coupons. This adds extra discounts when shopping. You can check out different stores’ deals in the mail, cut out the coupons, and use them when grocery shopping next.
Alternatively, use the now-available digital options. First, download the grocery store apps and browse through to get available discounts. Click the discounts to load coupons onto your card, and then use them when checking out of the store.
Amanda is a senior writer at AdvanceSOS. She has more than six years of journalism experience, mostly in the finance sector. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Drew University.