Groceries: few people like shopping for them and even fewer enjoy paying for them. While there isn’t a way to get your groceries for free (short of dumpster diving), you do have options. Check out these tips on how to save money on groceries.
Tip #1 – Plan your meals in advance
One recent study showed that 20% of grocery store purchases are unplanned, impulse buys. You can avoid this trap by planning your meals in advance and sticking to your list. Not only will you save money on groceries, but you’ll waste far less food.
Tip #2 – There is nothing wrong with generic
Most people don’t end up buying generic brands because of perceptions of lower quality. However, you might be surprised to learn that blind taste tests have shown that some customers actually prefer the taste of generic brands. Make a point of giving generic or store brands an honest chance. If you don’t like them, it’s not like you spent an arm and a leg and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Tip #3 – Prepared foods cost extra
If you’re in a hurry, prepared foods are admittedly a great way to save time. However, as prepared foods are generally more costly, a better alternative if you’re short on time is to cook meals in advance and freeze them. While preparing a meal, it’s easy to double a recipe and freeze the leftovers for a later date. As an added bonus, homemade meals are generally healthier than prepared foods. If you need some freezer friendly recipe ideas, a great place to start is Life’s A Mom or Martha Stewart’s Freezer Friendly Foods.
Tip #4 – Avoid shopping hungry
This is an oldie but goodie. If you’re hungry while you shop, you will buy more. Everything looks appetizing when you’re ravenous. Make sure you eat a meal (or at least a snack) before shopping and you will find that a lot less ends up in your cart.
Tip #5 – Bend down or tippy toe
Grocery stores and supermarkets usually place the items with the highest markups around chest level. This makes these higher cost items easier to see and more accessible to shoppers. Resist the temptation to reach for what is nearest to you and kneel down or reach up for to find cheaper alternatives.
Tip #6 – Put a little effort into it
Did you know that there are plenty of supermarket chains that offer coupons if you visit their website? Not just that, but if you clip coupons and pay attention to the weekly deals that supermarkets have, you can’t help but save money. A smart shopper saves money on groceries simply by going where the deals are. There are also entire websites dedicated to the art of couponing. Check out Money Saving Mom or Frugal Living NW for daily sale and coupon updates.
Tip #7 – Price match
If you read about a particularly good deal in a store that’s far away, see if one of their local competitors will match the price. This not only saves you money on groceries, but also reduces gas consumption.
These are just seven of the best ways to save money on groceries that we have found, but of course we want to learn about what ways you have found that worked for you. Whether you saved ONE dollar, or twenty bucks, we want to know!