How to Save Money Tip Day 7: 34 Easy Tips for Shopping Smart in the Grocery Store
Food tends to be one area of our budget we can overspend so easily. How do we control our costs in the grocery store? The key is learning to shop smart.
The number 1 suggestion I can provide is to plan!
For example, have you ever bought lots of fresh fruits and vegetables with great intentions and than have to throw out most of it because it went bad before it was eaten. Plan out your meals in advance- what do you need to make these meals? What do you already have in your house?
Here is a list of my suggestions for shopping smart for groceries:
Plan in advance:
- Plan out your meals (make a list of all ingredients you have already and what you need to buy)
- Shop with a list- don’t put items in your cart that are not on your list
- Look at the grocery flyers before hand (make a detailed list)
- Look for coupons especially on toiletries and household products
- Check out recipe books and searches online for new and interesting recipes to try
- Prepare double meals and freeze your leftovers (spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and chili are great examples of foods that freeze and reheat really well) *label and date the container before putting it in the freezer
- Use leftovers in a creative way take leftover roast chicken and make chicken tacos or a chicken and rice casserole with it
- Pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch
- Label all leftovers
- Try to use ingredients in more than 1 meal- if tomatoes are on special this week try to use them in a couple different meals
- Do not shop on an empty stomach
- Consider shopping at multiple stores -look at warehouses for certain items
- Look at smaller stores (ethnic markets for example)
- Take advantage of stores that allow you to price match
- Stick to the outside edge of the market for healthier foods
- Look for alternatives to pre-packaged foods- make your own macaroni and cheese to ensure the quality of the ingredients- you can also add in extra veggies by pureeing some butternut squash to add to the cheese sauce
Fruits and Vegetables: Try to Save Money Tips
- Shop local- look at farmer’s markets for fresh produce
- Prepare your fruits and vegetables when you get home- makes for quick meal preparations and snacks on the go
- Look at alternative sources to fresh produce such as low sodium canned options or frozen fruits and vegetables
- Check out the grocery sales for different types of vegetables on sale
- Consider jarring or canning fruits and vegetables while in season
- Grow your own vegetables or herbs
- Shop with cash
- Use a calculator to add up your costs
- Consider your needs and wants- do you need that chocolate milk or do you want it?
- Check out the top and bottom shelves for hidden bargains
- Check unit prices not just the overall price to see which product is a better deal
- Look at store brands not just name brand items- you are paying for the label/brand
- Take advantage of store loyalty and reward cards- collect points
- Stockpile foods that don’t expire quickly such as canned goods, dry beans, and pasta
- Look for loss leaders in your store flyers
- Find out when or if your store has a clearance section or discounts products such as meat or bread (freeze immediately)
- Look at club size packs of meat and sub-divide into smaller portions at home
- Look for discounted fruits and vegetables (I often find red peppers marked down that I then roast and freeze at home).