1. Make a plan
Planning will help you save money for many reasons, one being that having grocery will help to avoid buying things on impulse. You’re more likely to use what you buy and what you already have on hand, which then cuts back on costs more. Also, having a sinner plan for the week helps you to cook more at home and avoid eating takeaways or more expensive options. The first step is to write down a few recipes and shop for those ingredients only.
2. Be picky with produce
Foods like fruit and vegetables may seem expensive, but there are always ways to stretch out your dollar and still get yourself full of nutrition. For example, choosing frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables is a great way to save money and still get minerals and vitamins. Also, consider swapping out more expensive fruit and vegetables with something cheaper, like turning cabbage into slaw, instead of mixed greens.
3. Search for sales
Some of us already use coupons and look through the weekly sale flyer, but if you currently don’t then it’s not too late to start! If there is a grocery store that you go to often, then make sure you’re signed up for their reward points, and try adding virtual coupons to your orders to have a cheaper shopping load. The best way of saving money is to look at whats on sale first, and add some of those foods into your meal plan.
4. Check unit prices
A unit price is located on the shelf next to the price for the items and it allows you to better compare sizes and different brands. So, if you go through cereal every week, then it might make sense for you to buy the bigger box, which will cost more in the moment, but will be cheaper per pound than the smaller box. Unit prices show you the cost based on weight, and smaller sizes cost more. So utilise these!
5. Rethink your protein
Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry and seafood will often be more expensive, but there are ways to smartly save without giving up meat. Of course, a plant-based protein food will be cheaper than meat, so trying a meatless meal or two may help you save money. Also, choosing less expensive cuts of meats help too, like ground meats, top round steaks, or chicken thighs. These are the best ways to ensure you spend less.
6. Know what expiration dates mean
Sometimes food will grow mould or turn rancid – in that case, don’t eat it! However, the dates you see on food packages are often represented by quality standards, not safety. Other than infant formula, which does have a safety date, foods are listed as ‘best if used by-‘ ‘sell-by-‘ or ‘freeze-by-‘ dates which indicate when the food will be at its most fresh and best quality. Paying attention to this can help you save money as you’ll eat the food at its freshest.
7. Shop your pantry and freezer
Sometimes it’ll seem like there isn’t anything to eat in the house, but there will be. Turning to what you have before making a list and shopping can really help you save money. It may take a little effort – maybe you don’t know what you to make out of that box of pasta, or your bag of broccoli – but using these building block to tackle one meal will bring the costs down.
8. Buy in bulk (when it makes sense)
Buying more of everything isn’t the smartest choice, it means you’re spending a lot of money upfront of groceries. However, if buying in bulk means you get a sneaky overall discount, then it may be worth the extra money. Like Costco, some places offer great deals when you buy in bulk and this can be especially helpful for large families who need to stock up on a lot of food. But even if you don’t have a crowd to feed, it might make sense to buy staple foods in bulk for the discount.
9. Switch your store
Many of us rely to our local grocery stores, and we find ourselves being unusually loyal to that particular one. But switching this up may help you save on your grocery bill, depending on sales. Plus, some grocery stores just have certain foods for less, not just big box stores. Stores like Trader Joe’s have developed a loyal following for offering great prices on their items. Even dollar stores will have great grocery staples for great prices!
10. Rethink ‘convenience’
It’s true, a lot of the time we pay premium for convenience, like pre-cut produce or sauces that are already made and ready to use. However, you should make sure you’re convenience wisely and you are getting what you paid for. Sometimes, the cost of chopped veggies or a jarred sauce is not that much more expensive. Be mindful of the prices to see what premium is and know that you can find convenience without paying more like frozen vegetables.