10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

May 24, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Finance

According to 2015 data from the U.S. Dept. of Labor on consumer spending, food consumed at home is among the largest category of living expenses, behind housing and transportation.

Topping food-at-home (i.e. groceries) as a budget line item are housing itself, transportation, and insurance. Also, groceries are slightly edged out by healthcare expenses.

There are not many attractive options available when it comes to saving money on housing or transportation. And slashing your insurance or health care budget is not a good idea.

Grocery shopping, however, gives you a great place to save money in your household budget. Keep reading to find out how to save money on groceries.

10 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries

According to a USDA report on the cost of food, the average family of four in the U.S. can spend anywhere from $571.00 to $1,305.00 on groceries.

That’s a variance of $731 per month!

What would it be like for you to have an extra $700 per month in your pocket? Or even $500?  Just $200 could make a difference in many households.  Even $100 per month could determine whether your children take lessons or participate in some extracurricular activity.

So let’s do this.

1. Inventory Your Kitchen

The average U.S. family throws away $2,000 worth of food each year. Hard to believe, right?

Even if your waste does not rise to that level, chances are good you have been overlooking this easy way to save money on groceries.

Before running to the grocery store for the fixin’s for your next meal, take stock of what is already in your refrigerator and pantry. Get creative about how to use it.

Chances are good that you have ingredients that you may have forgotten about. Do this once a week to see what meal(s) you can eke out of what you already have on hand.

2. What Stores Should You Shop In?

Some grocery stores are significantly less expensive than others. You can save money on groceries just by switching stores.

When evaluating this as an effective option, you do need to add in additional costs such any additional transportation expense to get to the store.  Also, you may want to consider the value of your time and whether or not you can afford the extra drive or the extra time it takes to navigate a crowded store.

If You Want to Save Money on Groceries, Don’t Show Up at the Store Without a Plan

Assuming you make a weekly grocery trip, have a grocery list based upon what meals you have planned for the week. This kind of planning is a habit that, once it takes hold, will help you realize a big payoff.

3. Make a Meal Plan

Look for healthy low-cost meals to put into your meal routine. Gradually build a database of these meals. Once a week, draw from this database to plan your meals. Prepare your grocery list based upon what you will need.

4. Read Circulars

Another planning tool is to prepare for your shopping by reading each store’s weekly sales flyers. Again if you are going to do a “grocery crawl” you need to be sure that your time is not worth as much as the time you will spend hopping from store to store for cereal in one place and meat in another.

You may nevertheless be able to use the circulars to strategize where you will do all of your shopping for that week, based upon the sales that store is offering that week.

Grocery stores typically run their sales from Wednesday to the following Tuesday, with ads in your mailbox by Tuesday for the Wednesday start date.

5. Have a Meal Plan-Based Grocery List

Once inside the store, stick to your grocery list. Do not be wooed by sales on items you would not normally buy and do not need. Do not be seduced by samples. Do not be fooled into thinking that you can save money on groceries by buying extra groceries. Stick to your list.

6. Buy in Bulk

The exception to buying extra food is when there is a sale on items that you regularly and always use.

You can also save money on groceries by buying them in bulk through some type of wholesale club. You will need to weigh the cost of any membership fee against the savings you are likely to realize.

Also, you have to ask yourself whether you can afford to give up space in your house to store non-perishable items. If you are OK with yielding closet turf to 48 rolls of paper towels, this could be a good way to save money.

7. Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

People spend more money at the grocery store at the end of the day if they haven’t eaten properly that day. Also, being in a heightened emotional state (such as angry or sad) tends to cause us to load extra high-calorie treats into the card that neither our wallets or waistlines appreciate.

8. Pay With Cash

Most all grocery stores now accept credit cards and it can be tempting to use one. Studies show that people are likely to pay up to twice as much for items if they can use a credit card. To save money on groceries, consider Dave Ramsey’s envelope system.

While it’s nice to accumulate points or cash back rewards on necessary purchases,

9. Drink Filtered Water

This suggestion is two-fold:  First, buying individually bottled water gets expensive. Although it is convenient, it is unnecessary if you use a replaceable water filter and a permanent re-fillable water bottle.

Second, beverages — whether alcoholic or not — are a costly ticket item. It is easy to walk up and down the aisle and see a cornucopia of fizzy, fruity, sugary, even “good-for-you” drinks. The bevy of beverages is so tempting that it may be a good idea to avoid this aisle altogether.

As a bonus, your health will improve!

10. Use Coupons

Coupons are a great way to save money on groceries as well as other items. You can do especially well when you use a coupon on a sale item.  It is even possible to use two coupons on a buy-one-get-one-free sale!

The strategic use of coupons can be something of an art form. This is a great skill to add to your money-saving repertoire.

Visit us for money-saving coupons and tips!