Money Hack—Simple Tips for Lowering Your Grocery Bill
Groceries. You can’t avoid them. It’s a non-negotiable category in your monthly budget (or should be, at least). It can, however, be a little flexible.
If you’re like the average family, life is a blur running from one thing to the next. You probably don’t have a lot of time for intentionally prepared meals, let alone the hours needed to purchase and prep ingredients. And oftentimes, the price of your family’s hectic schedule is, well, price! But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can still prepare healthy meals and save big time at the grocery store with a few, easy money hack tips.
Meal plan. First things first, don’t even step foot in your local grocer without having a game plan. Whether you’re a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly grocery shopper, you’ll need to plan accordingly. Make a meal plan, also padding in nights for leftovers so you’re not making too much and letting good food go to waste. With your meals scheduled out, proceed to the next tip.
Make a list. Yes, you will feel like your granny filling in columns such as “grains,” “produce,” and “meat,” but you’ll save some big bucks at the checkout counter. Going grocery shopping without a list is like traveling cross-country without a map. You’ll end up in aisles you don’t need to be, it will take extra time, and you’ll eventually break down and grab the quickest (and oftentimes most expensive) food item nearest you and make a mad dash for the exit. Your list will keep you on track and focused and you won’t make impulse purchases that are costly in the end.
Leverage the bulk food section. Be warned, this tip doesn’t work for everyone and it’s only applicable under certain circumstances. For example, if your family goes through pounds and pounds of almonds and you notice they’re on sale this week at your local grocer, it’s a smart move to stock up. Buying items in bulk that don’t quickly go bad can be one way to save at the grocery store. When considering bulk, keep in mind the following:
- Will we eventually need it anyway?
- Am I actually saving any money buying it in bulk versus single quantities?
- Will we be able to eat it all before it goes bad?
- Do I have room to store it?
Answering these questions will help you make wise decisions in the bulk section, avoiding purchases that may be unwise while giving you key insight as to whether or not it’s a good deal.
Buy in season. Produce that is in season in your area is oftentimes way cheaper than buying fruits and vegetables that were either grown in a hot house or are transported long distance. Keep in mind also that in season produce can be cheaper at roadside stands and farmer’s markets as well.
Pay with cash. Contrary to what is now the norm, going into a grocery store with nothing more than good, old-fashioned cash is one way to make sure you don’t go over your budget. While this may require a little more thought and planning, it certainly won’t derail your saving’s account.
Avoid aisle ends. Finally, avoid foods around the perimeter of the store and at the ends of aisles. Grocers notoriously stock the most expensive and nutritionally deprived foods here because the majority of shoppers are in a hurry and pass these sections most frequently. Because of this, stores are able to take advantage and turn a quick buck. Steer clear of these areas. There are cheaper pasta noodles, crackers, and sauces farther down the aisle!
Since you’re going to be buying groceries regardless, you might as well follow this money hack list in order to save as much as possible. What tips do you have to save money on groceries? We’d love to hear from you because we know these suggestions are only scratching the surface!