With grocery prices on the rise, it’s always nice to be able to save a buck or two here and there. Every little bit helps when it comes to your grocery budget and saving money on groceries.
Here are six tips for saving money on groceries.
Sign up for rewards programs.
Most chain grocery stores have their own shopping rewards program, and it is free to sign up. Once you are signed up, you can earn discounts on groceries and sometimes even rewards for gas stations. Some will offer digital coupons you can download right to your account that are linked up with your reward number. These digital coupons are accessed any time you put in your rewards number at check-out. Easy-peasy!
If you want to avoid a bunch of little plastic cards clogging up your key ring, then try out the Key Ring app. It keeps all your loyalty and rewards membership programs in one place. You never have to worry about not having your card with you or forgetting your member number.
Check weekly flyers.
I know some people that will go to 2 or 3 different stores for their grocery shopping in order to take advantage of weekly sales. This is one way to save a bit, but you also have to factor in the extra cost of gas and your own personal time.
I do think it is worth scanning the weekly flyers (if you get them free in the mail) because you can find some sweet deals on more expensive items. Meat, for example. If I do find a great deal, I usually just end up buying the rest of my groceries at that store. Also, there is still nothing wrong with good old-fashioned coupon clipping to save a buck or two. It all adds up!
Plan out your meals whenever possible.
When I don’t meal plan, I usually end up going to the store, mindlessly wander down the aisles, and spend a bunch of money on groceries. Then I get home and think, “What is for dinner?” Inevitably, when I do think of something, I will be missing one ingredient, even though I just spent $200 on groceries. Sound familiar?
When you take time to meal plan, you not only know what is for dinner, but you also can just buy the items you need for that week. This helps you save both time and money at the grocery store! Buying only what you need helps cut down on food waste.
You don’t have the random cans of stuff in your cupboards for weeks or months. You can avoid buying fresh items only to use a little bit on one meal and have them sit in your fridge and go bad. Or get freezer burnt from sitting in your freezer too long.
Some families choose to plan meals out a week at a time and buy groceries for that week the weekend before. Other families like to have whole month planned out. Meal planning does take work, but in the end, it can save you lots of money. And don’t forget—you don’t have to plan out 7 full meals a week. Make a little extra and plan to have at least a couple “leftover” nights.
And if you can involve the kids in the meal planning, they are more apt to not complain about what’s for dinner! (Or at least, maybe not as much.)
Always make a list.
Even if you aren’t able to meal plan, I always recommend bringing a list with you to the grocery story. Otherwise, it is way too easy to walk up and down the aisles and spend money on groceries you might already have at home. Or find yourself sucked into sales that were “too good to pass up” even if you didn’t really need that item.
When you are making a list, try to group things into categories. For example, refrigerated items, produce, frozen, etc. This way, you aren’t running back and forth all over the store. This can save you time and can help you avoid the temptations you might discover wandering back and forth.
Use grocery pick-up if it’s available.
You might be wondering why this might save you money. But think of how many times you have gone into the grocery store to just pick up a few things and then ended up coming out with a bunch of stuff you didn’t really need. This seems to be especially hard to avoid if the kids are with you!
Even if you have a list, sometimes it can be really easy to deviate from it. But if you don’t actually go into the store, problem solved! Many larger grocery stores are offering grocery pick-up now and will often give discounts when you use this service for the first time or refer a friend.
This also saves time walking around the store and standing in line. Yes, it does take a little time to create your online list, but most on-line ordering systems let you save your favorite items in your account. This makes adding them to your cart quick and easy the next time.
Grocery pick-up didn’t exist when my kids were babies, but oh how I would have loved it! I take advantage of it now whenever I can.
Buy in bulk (when it makes sense).
I think there is a misconception that you automatically save whenever you buy in bulk. That isn’t always the case. The key is to compare the price per ounce, which is written underneath the cost of the item.
You can save money buying in bulk on items you use a lot of. Just don’t get caught in the trap of buying in bulk to save a little extra per ounce and then throwing half of it out later on because no one ever ate it, and it went bad.
I hope this list has given you a few new ideas on saving money on groceries each month. Your budget will thank you! Remember, every little bit adds up! Happy shopping!