How to Save Money on Groceries: 15 Money-Saving Tips to Help Stretch Your Food Dollar by Ann Marie Patitucci
Unless you’ve been living off the grid and off the land, you’ve no doubt noticed that grocery prices have gone up (along with gas prices and plenty of other things as well). It can be frustrating for anyone but it can be a serious concern for those barely keeping up with their bills, living paycheck to paycheck.
While none of us can control the cost of food, we can follow some money-saving tips to help with our grocery spending. Here are 15 things to do that may help you save money on groceries:
- Shop your own pantry. Check your pantry, fridge and freezer before heading to the store. Note what you have so you don’t spend needlessly.
- Plan ahead. Meal plan for the week if you can. Consider what you already have at home and plan around your existing supplies (see No. 1). Go in with a list and stick to it.
- Shop alone. If you’ve ever shopped with kids before, you know the list tends to get longer when they’re around. This can be true of partners as well!
- Sign up for your store’s loyalty program. This can help you save money on groceries and even gas, if your store has a gas station.
- Clip coupons. I know this takes a little time and forethought, but it can be worth it (this is something I’d like to improve on).
- Join a wholesale club. Buying in bulk can save you money, and wholesale clubs have a whole lotta’ bulk items. True confession: the best (and largest) store-bought apple pie I’ve ever bought came from a wholesale club!
- Buy items on sale. You may consider changing your plan – just slightly – based on sale items. In addition, if you know you buy something regularly and therefore will eat it before it expires, consider stocking up when it’s on sale.
- Buy generic brands. We save a lot of money with this tip. I personally think that sometimes it’s worth it to buy the brand name, and sometimes it just isn’t necessary. If you can do it, it’s a really great money saver. Now to get the teenagers on board...
- Bring your own bags. Depending on where you live, your store may charge you if you don’t bring your own bags. Try to remember because doing so is the more eco-friendly choice and because you’ll save money, too!
- Use a rebate app. There are a handful of rebate apps that give you cash back for buying groceries. You can register for free with one of these services to save more on top of loyalty benefits and credit card rewards. Depending on the app, you may need to link a loyalty card or submit receipts to receive a rebate and start saving.
- Skip the prepared food aisle. This is my weakness, prepared salads, yogurt parfaits, soups, pre-made dinners and sides. But they really increase your grocery bill. I have to will myself to walk past them, because while they’re delicious and convenient, they aren’t exactly budget-friendly. However, there is one exception to the rule...
- Buy rotisserie chicken. A whole roasted chicken is one of the few meals that often costs more to cook at home than to buy. Now that sounds like an easy decision to me! In fact, buying a rotisserie chicken can be quite cost effective – I often get two meals out of one chicken. For instance, I can make my chicken pot pie and still have leftovers for use in chicken soup or buffalo chicken dip or chicken fajitas, etc. And my boys are always happy to fight over the chicken legs!
- Prep your own produce. While pre-chopped fruits and veggies are tempting, you’ll pay a premium for the convenience. If you have a few extra minutes to do the chopping yourself, skip the convenience factor here and save some money.
- Shop in season. Fruits and vegetables are always more affordable when they’re in season. However, if you’re craving something that’s out of season, the most affordable option is to buy it frozen. Good news: fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak, so they’re a great alternative.
- Shop around. I’m sometimes surprised by how much prices can vary from store to store on certain products. It can be worth it to compare prices. This may mean visiting two stores or visiting one and placing an online order at another, but it can be worth it to save some money at checkout.
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