Food is a basic human need. In fact, a large portion of your budget is probably allocated to your food expenses. This doesn’t mean that you should spend a fortune each time you go to the grocery store however. To help lower your grocery bill, we’ve come up with some tips you should definitely try.
- Fewer store trips
Unless you need something specific, don’t go to the grocery store. If you think back, you can likely remember quite a few times you’ve gone to the store with no purpose and ended up buying something you don’t even need. To make it easier for you to adjust your shopping habits, you can reduce your visits to twice a month until you’re comfortable enough to schedule your grocery shopping once a month.
- Use a calculator
Using a calculator can help lower your grocery bill in more ways than one. If you see how each purchase adds up to your bill, you’ll be more cautious when adding items to your cart. You’ll start comparing the quality and price difference between branded, generic and store brand items. Once you’re at the cash register, you can use your calculations to check if the items on the receipt are right.
- Use cash
This may seem like too much work, but it will help you stay within the budget. Once you receive your income for the month, budget how much money you will allocate for your groceries. Withdraw this exact amount and use this cash to pay when you shop for your monthly supply. Leaving your credit card and bringing the exact amount of your budget alone will help you avoid overspending.
- Take advantage of discounts
You may only save a little by taking advantage of grocery store discounts and coupons, but a little goes a long way when saving money. You can plan your meals around what’s on sale so you can maximize the offers. Aside from checking flyers and ads from grocery stores and newspapers, you can also go to websites that offer discount coupons for various brands and products. Check out the following:
- Shop the perimeter
What does shopping in the perimeter mean? The outer perimeter of the grocery store contains fresh produce, meat, and dairy unlike the aisles in the middle which mostly contain processed and artificial food. You can get cheaper meals when you make your own, and it’s also much healthier for you and your family.
- Lessen your meat intake
Meat is expensive. By cutting down your meat intake, you can also cut down your grocery bill. So instead of using meat as indicated in your recipe, try using substitutes such as tofu, lentils, and various kinds of beans. If you are a meat lover, cut down on meat at least once a week for a start, then once you’re used to it, you can slowly add more meat-free days into the week.
- Choose generic
People often choose brand names when buying products because they think the quality is worth the price. However, most generic products taste just the same. The only way to know is to see for yourself – try and find out which ones are on par with your favorite brand. Make sure to check the aisle from top to bottom so you can compare prices among different generic and store-brand options.
- Buy seasonal produce
Buying seasonal produce has its perks. First of all, it’s cheaper, especially if produced locally. The abundance of supply causes the price to go down and locally produced items don’t have to get transported therefore cutting down expenses. Aside from helping local farmers, you can also benefit from how healthy the food is. Locally-sourced seasonal foods are healthier for the body due to their higher nutritional content and because they’re free from contaminants that keep imported produce fresh.
- Try all the grocery stores in the area
We often choose the most convenient option for us when we go shopping, and this convenience is probably causing us to spend more than we have to. Ask your friends in the area which grocery store has the best deals. Confirm their suggestions by buying your essentials from a different store each time and comparing the prices. It is only a hassle at the beginning. Once you see how much you are able to save from choosing the least expensive grocery store, you’ll realize that the hassle was worth it.
- Buy in bulk
Non-perishable food, pasta, cereal, toilet paper, and shampoo are some of the best things to buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is advisable only when you have the storage space because where else will you put these bulky items? Remember not to buy in bulk when you haven’t tried a product yet. You don’t want to waste your money on a product you won’t use because you found out that you dislike something about it as you try it only for the first time.
If you try all these tips, you can surely cut down a good sum from your grocery bill. It may not be easy at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll find it easier to give up your old shopping habits.