For many people, the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the need for them to start saving money in all sorts of ways. Buying groceries is often expensive and food is an easy way to spend unnecessarily and then waste the money when the food is uneaten.
Instead of spending your money haphazardly, here are a few ways to save money on groceries so your weekly grocery run is cheaper and your overall budget sighs with relief.
- Make a shopping list and meal schedule. If meals are a sit down affair, even on busy school nights, making a meal schedule can help you prepare for each meal. Once you have your meal schedule, make a shopping list and when you’re shopping, stick to the list. Don’t buy something you don’t need just because it’s on sale. Stick with exactly what you need to save money.
- Buy in bulk. If you have a members card to any of the big stores, buying in bulk, especially if you have a larger family, can save a considerable sum of money. Items such as toilet paper, diapers, flour, pasta, canned goods, and more can keep for months if you stock up and buy in bulk. Just don’t buy over your means because buying in bulk is cheaper. Stick to your budget and buy what you need as you need it.
- Buy store brands. Sure, the higher quality brand of tissues might be the nicest out there, but do you really need them? Evaluate what items you’re buying that are brand names and see if buying store brands is similar. Of course, there are some items that are always worth the splurge, but if you can switch to store brands for a large majority of items, you’ll notice your overall grocery bill goes down.
- Check the weekly ads. If your store of choice sends out a weekly ad or if they advertise their deals online, take notice and implement the sales into your meal plan. This may be a great opportunity to expose your family to new or different foods as well as helping to lower the grocery bill. It’s also a good way to buy lunch box treats or fun foods for special occasions on a lower price, while still sticking to your meal schedule and shopping list.
- Join a local CSA. If you’re looking for local produce, finding your local CSA may be the answer. There are now thousands of farms out there that have fresh, local produce that needs to be used up. Buying local and supporting local farmers is a great way to keep the businesses running during tight times and stretch your budget with cheap, filling, local produce.
- Buy dried foods. Dried foods like beans or lentils might be overwhelming, even to the expert cooks if you’ve never used them or almost worse yet, had a bad experience with them. Yet, if you plan your meals ahead, you can easily plan to soak your dried foods in advance or use a crock pot or insta-pot to speed things up. Whatever your method, dried beans and lentils are cheap, healthy, and filling and can be used in a wide variety of mouth wateringly delicious meals.
- Don’t shop hungry. You might have your list and your meal plan, but if you step into your shop hungry and the first thing you see is a sample meal for a new pot pie company, your meal plan is probably gone. Go shopping on a full stomach to prevent yourself from buying needless items that aren’t just unhealthy, but unnecessary for you today.
Saving money on groceries is all about setting new habits and sticking with them to see a dramatic change in your grocery bill. Eating in is nearly always cheaper than eating out, and if you prepare ahead, you will end up saving even more money. Your monthly budget will thank you.