7 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Purchasing groceries is a necessary part of life for everyone. If you’re the person responsible for buying your household’s groceries, you’re going to make dozens of purchasing decisions every week. Knowing how to make these decisions wisely is important. You can easily save money on groceries. Moreover, it is a great way to reduce your monthly costs.

a full groceries basket

Unlike many bills, which can’t easily be renegotiated or skipped, grocery shopping involves a lot of discretionary spending. Now, that doesn’t mean that food is optional! But there are many ways to trim your budget and save money on groceries.

With some smart choices and a bit of planning and effort, you’ll be able to avoid wasting either food or money. This way, you’ll be able to go grocery shopping without feeling guilty about how much you’re paying to fill up your pantry.

How to Save Money on Groceries

an older woman buying groceries

According to a recent report released by the USDA, the average cost of food for a young family of four ranges from $128 to $250 every single week. Obviously, this cost is may vary depending on many different factors such as age, gender, and local food prices.

But if your weekly grocery budget is above the average thrifty or low-cost plans listed in the USDA report, it’s quite likely that you could save money by incorporating a few more frugal habits into your grocery shopping routine.

Paying attention to what’s already in your pantry, learning how to plan your meals ahead of time, and wise usage of the food you’ve bought is a good place to start. It’s also smart to compare prices in local stores to see whether or not you’re getting good deals on your weekly purchases.

It may be possible to cut your grocery budget to extreme lows with loads of coupons and super savvy shopping. But you should start with goals that aren’t too much lower than what you already spend. Once you’ve successfully stayed within those limits for a few months, give yourself a smaller budget and repeat until you find the thriftiest budget for your household to follow comfortably.

Top 7 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

#1. Make a Menu Plan

Having a basic idea of what you’re planning to eat over the next few days will help you know how what to buy. This will help you avoid unnecessary trips to buy an ingredient you forgot. It will also keep you from eating out more often than you’d like, which will save you money. Making a menu plan doesn’t mean you’ve got to micromanage every meal, but it does mean that you should have an idea of what meals you’ll want to make over the next few days.

#2. Use a Shopping List

a brief shopping list

After you’ve made your menu plan and have a basic idea of what you’ll be eating, create a shopping list. See which ingredients and foods you’ll need to make the meals you want. When you’re shopping, try to avoid deviating too much from this list. Following a shopping list will help you curb impulse buying and keep you from forgetting things you need.

#3. Know What Food You’ve Got

If you’re at home while you’re making your menu and shopping list, open your pantry and fridge to make sure you do not forget foods you’ve got. If you need to use up an ingredient before it expires, try to plan a meal around that item. Check your shopping list against the food you’ve got to make sure you aren’t going to end up with duplicates and triplicates of the same food.

#4. Know Your Budget

a transparent jar with money in it

Having a budget is a great way to minimize spending and save money on groceries. If your budget is tight, then it’s easier to revise your shopping list before you head out, rather than trying to do so in the checkout lane. Use approximate prices to add up the items on your list and see whether you’ll be spending the right amount of money. If not, try to plan some meals which use cheap ingredients or foods you’ve already got on hand.

#5. Compare Prices

inside a supermarket, products shelf

The prices of foods can vary considerably from store to store, as well as from brand to brand. While there may be some brand name foods that you’re not willing to give up, many foods have generic options that are just as good. Visit a variety of different stores and pay attention to their prices, and buy the cheapest options whenever possible. This will definitely help you save money on groceries.

#6. Plan Around Sales and Deals

When you’re planning your menu and shopping list, it’s smart to check store flyers for special deals. Even if you don’t get flyers in the mail, most stores post them online as well. Check these flyers and try to take advantage of any deals that you’re sure to benefit from.

#7. Buy in Bulk to Save Money

a shopping cart in a supermarket

Some items such as produce should be purchased in small quantities due to their short shelf life. But many items with a longer shelf life are far cheaper to purchase in larger sizes. As long as you have the freezer or pantry space to store them, you can save money on groceries by buying these bulk sizes, or stocking up when there’s a sale.

Putting It All Together

If you’re new to the world of trying to save money on groceries, don’t worry if it’s hard at first. Things will gradually get easier. As you pay attention to prices, you’ll begin to recognize good deals with more ease, and you’ll be more skilled at planning a menu which won’t break your budget.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much at once. Set achievable goals, and take baby steps so that you don’t burn out. And finally, enjoy saving that extra money!

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