When the budget is tight, we all look for ways to save money. When looking at the bills we have, sometimes the grocery bill is higher than we think it should be. Obviously you need to eat, but here are some ways to save money while grocery shopping.
1. Actually Go Grocery Shopping. I realize that cooking takes time and effort, and driving to get fast food seems so quick and easy. But if you eat fast food all the time (even off the $1 menu), you are wasting money. Calculate how much money you spend on fast food and go spend that at the grocery store. You’ll be able to get way more meals out of it. And if you don’t like cooking, buy meals that are quick and easy. They may not be the best meals, but it’s better than fast food.
2. Don’t go Hungry. Everyone knows this one, so why do you keep going when you’re hungry? Eat before you go!
3. Eat all your food. Before you go hard-core grocery shopping, try eating every single thing in your cupboards. That might mean getting a little creative with a few meals, but why go grocery shopping when you still have food to eat at home? Only go buy the weekly milk, bread, and eggs and see how long you can go by just eating what you already have.
4. Make a menu. This is one we all know, too, but it’s pretty darn annoying to sit down and plan out meals. But if it’s worth saving the money, do it. Plan out 2 weeks of meals and go buy everything you’ll need and nothing more.
5. Cut out junk food. Do you really need chips and cookies? Eliminating junk food will save you money and inches.
6. Go Alone and Take Your Time. If you have an irritable husband or wild kids, you’re not going to be able to take your time. Why do you need to take your time? So you can really evaluate the products you’re buying so you can make sure you’re getting the lowest prices (always looks at price per unit).
7. Bring Cash. Give yourself a budget and only spend the cash you bring. Paying by debit or credit means you don’t have to pay attention to the total cost. Pay with cash and you’ll have to pay attention or you’ll be one of those people removing items at the check stand.
8. Bring a Calculator. Take your time and calculate the total cost of your purchase as you go. Instead of doing it in your head, bring a small calculator.
9. Use a Basket. If you are only buying 2 weeks of food (based on your menu), you should be able to fit it in a basket instead of a cart. If you have to carry what you’re buying, you’ll buy less (plus it’s a way to add a little exercise in).
10. Buy Less Meat. Meat is expensive. Plan a few meals without meat and you’ll save money.
11. Canned or Frozen. Yes, fresh vegetables are fantastic. But they’re also more expensive, and if you don’t eat them right away, they rot and end up in the trash can. The beauty of canned or frozen vegetables is flexibility. Yes, it’s not as fantastic, but you’re still eating vegetables – which is healthy.
12. Plan some dollar meals. Challenge yourself to plan a couple meals each week that cost only $1 per person. Get creative and have fun with it. Include other members of the family as well. Challenging your child to prepare a meal for $1 per person will teach them the value of money as well as get them to creatively solve problems. And don’t cheat and eat only ramen (unless you add some affordable additions to it, like vegetables, beans, or meat).
14. Cereal Night. There’s no shame in having a “Cereal Night” every once in a while. It’s cheap, quick, and healthy.
15. Buy Stuff for Lunch. Packing a lunch for work is a hassle, but this goes back to avoiding fast food. The hassle will save you money (and inches).
16. Potatoes. Potatoes are cheap and there are hundreds of ways to prepare them. Don’t waste money on frozen french fries when you can whip up your own for a lot less.
17. Avoid Canned Soup. You can make soup yourself a lot cheaper and a lot healthier. If you are in love with soup, challenge yourself to cook your own soup every other week. Learn some new recipes and save money.
18. Get Creative. Get creative and think of some other ways to save money while grocery shopping. The best resource you have is yourself!
What ideas can you think of?