If you feel like you are eating your money each month, it may be time for you to figure out ways to save on groceries.
For most people, food can be the one area where they constantly blow their budget. I have been there but just a few changes made a huge impact on my finances and I know they can work for you too.
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How To Save On Groceries
Before I began meal planning, I wasted so much money and food. I repeatedly purchased groceries only to watch them sit unused and eventually go bad. Having a plan helps to streamline your shopping and cooking so that nothing is wasted.
You will also save time when you use this method because you can cook one ingredient and add it to multiple dishes. For example, grilled chicken can be mixed with pasta, added to greens for a salad and incorporated into a quesadilla.
Follow these instructions to get started with your meal plan.
After you have completed your meal plan, write a grocery list with all the items you need to purchase. Make sure that you stick to that list while shopping. It can be quite tempting to purchase items that you didn’t intend to buy when you get to the supermarket but resist that urge.
Don’t buy groceries when you are hungry or tired. Doing this makes you more liable to impulse shopping.
One smart way to save on groceries is to purchase store brands instead of brand name items. Often, grocery stores have products with their own brands which are considerably cheaper than the brand name ones but are usually just as good. When you select these items, you benefit from the less expensive price without sacrificing quality.
Consider buying store brand items like flour, sugar, canned fruits and vegetables and frozen produce.
Avoid paper products like napkins and toilet paper which are not as good quality as the name brand ones. You end up using more to make up for the poor quality which will cost you over time.
Items bought from bulk retailers are generally more affordable than those from supermarkets. Be careful about what you buy in bulk though. Only select items you use frequently like canned goods, bottled water and condiments.
Also, ensure that you can use all of the food before the expiration date. It doesn’t make sense buying a 2-pack box of cereal if the expiration date falls in less than one week. More than likely, you will not eat it all before then.
Consider Seasonal Items
Buying produce that’s in season is a great way to save on groceries. In season fruits and vegetables are plentiful and you get them at the peak of freshness. This means they are cheaper, will last longer when you bring them home and may also taste better.
Grocery stores frequently place ads for sale items in the newspaper and online. Others print the information and place it in the store. Consider these sales when meal planning and shopping. You can plan your menu around the discounted products to help you save when you shop.
Even though the savings from individual coupons may be small, they can add up and help you stay within your budget. Remember to stick to your list and exercise caution with coupons. Just because you have a coupon for an item doesn’t mean you need to use it. That way, you won’t spend money you didn’t plan to.
Apps such as Ibotta can save you money on groceries through small cash rebates. Simply load the app on your cell phone and use it whenever you go shopping at popular stores like Walmart and Target. It is available for both Android and iOS.
Ebates is another way to get cash back for your online purchases. Sign up for a free account and shop through ebates at your favourite stores. You will receive cash back via PayPal or cheque.
See 5 Ways To Save Money While Shopping In Your Pyjamas for my full review of Ebates.
Purchasing pre-cut or prepared foods like packages of chopped veggies and marinated meats is a time-saver but you pay extra because someone else did the work for you. Skip these higher priced items and prepare your own vegetables, meats, etc. from scratch.
Pay With Cash
Every time you make purchases with a debit or credit card, you pay a small fee for it. Not to mention, high interest rates are added to your credit card balance if it is not paid before the due date.
Only use cash when making purchases from the grocery store. Place your food budget for the week or month in one envelope and take it with you every time you need to grocery shop. This is a wonderful way to save money because you only have a certain amount to spend so you can’t possibly go over that. Also, you get a tangible reminder of how much you have left in your budget.
Putting one or more of these tips into action will help you to save on groceries and, as a result, you will stop eating all of your money.