You don’t want to simply rely on loyalty points and reward incentives to save money on groceries. These options work, but they also lead to more spending in many cases. Huge deals you can’t pass up are a calculated risk on behalf of the grocery store to get you to spend more money on other things. Of course, you already know that… but it bears repeating. Club cards, coupons, and rebate apps are very useful. I love them. But there are better ways to save money on groceries and they don’t require you to save or scan any information before or after going to the store – Free Birthday Stuff.
You can save money on groceries every week without ever using a deal app. Just knowing a few things can turn your local grocery store into a treasure trove of found money. Before we start it’s a good idea for you to come up with a plan for the money you save. As soon as you find money, it’s sure to try and get away from you, so have a place to put it before it has a chance to fly the coop!
You don’t have to have a budget in order to save money. But having a budget really helps you understand how much money you are saving and where that “extra money” should go. If you already have a budget, you may already know where you need to trim things down. Smart grocery shopping is only one way to help you balance your household budget. If you already have a grocery budget and you want to keep to it or shave off some of your monthly expenses, these tips will help save money on groceries better than finding random coupons and scouring the weekly circulars.
Know Where to Go
The very first thing to consider before heading out to the store is where to go. Each grocery brand has a strength and a weakness and you want to exploit those weaknesses. Kroger is the place to go for meat. They often have the best cuts and you can consistently get a better price. Safeway is also a good option for high-quality meats as the sell-by date approaches and the prices get slashed. Go to Walmart for bottled water, canned goods, and cereal. Aldi and Costco often have the best prices on produce.
Know Where to Look
Every once in a while a grocery store changes its layout and it becomes very disorienting. When this happens, take the time to explore and see what they’ve changed. It’s crucially important to know your way around the store so you can efficiently pick up only the things you are looking for. You can also typically ignore end caps unless they have something specifically on your list, but remember end cap items aren’t necessarily the best priced. Usually the lowest priced items are shelved lower down while the higher priced items are at eye level.
Know What to Pay
You may have to visit several grocery stores somewhat regularly to get a good idea of what everything should cost. Pay careful attention to the prices in the stores as you bargain hunt, but also, keep familiar with what you consistently pay for these items. This way you will start to know what items are not worth purchasing if they are not priced well. This will happen sometimes on a routine shopping trip. You’ll have an item on your list, like paper towels and the price will be way higher than you know it should be. Sometimes, it’s better to leave it and pick it up where you know you can get it cheaper. Frequently rising prices have made this harder to do, but keeping up with current prices is so essential for budgeting as you try to save money on groceries.
Know Unit Pricing
Unit pricing is not a secret code, but it can feel that way. There are two things that will always make me take extra time in front of the shelf: reading ingredient labels and comparing the price per unit. Sometimes it’s by the ounce. Other times it’s another unit of measurement. What it does is break down the cost by how much you will use. Common knowledge is that the more you buy of something the lower the cost is per unit. However, this is frequently not the case. People often buy more than they need and pay more than they should because they think they are getting a better long-term deal. This is frequently false. So always compare.
On the other hand, much less frequently, larger quantities can be priced even lower than lower quantities. I’ve often found this to be the case at Walmart. Where a larger jar of peanuts (for example) is actually a few cents less than a smaller one. So it’s not just a better long-term value, you actually save on that visit and postpone future visits.
Create a Smart Budget Grocery List
You should always prepare a list before you go. For some people just making a list and sticking to it is a challenge, but it’s worth it if you want to save money on groceries. The other thing you should do is focus on budget when making your list. Avoid putting down unnecessary and expensive items unless you have the budget for them. Start by planning cheap meals for the week, then write down the things you’ll need. You can use your pantry and refrigerator for inspiration, but even after you write your list, you should shop your kitchen for anything you already have. Your budget grocery list is an efficient way to keep your grocery bill low and keep perishables circulating out of your kitchen.
Keep Lowering Your Budget
Once you are used to shopping in an efficient way and you have a really good handle on prices and where to go to get what you need at a better value, you can continue to save more and more money. If you frequently use Uber Eats, saving money on food will be very easy at first. You can simply stock up on freezer meals and save, but saving money at the grocery store is a rabbit hole that continues and you can keep reducing what you spend as you build knowledge as long as you’re motivated to do it!