Weekly grocery runs are a part of most people’s monthly schedules. Whether there is only one person in the household or a family of many, everyone needs to eat!
While budgeting, many people may find that their grocery budget may be pretty high. There are plenty of ways to stretch a dollar when buying groceries. While it may not seem like much every grocery run, a buck here and there had a way of adding up!
According to a survey by Go Banking Rates, around 34% of Americans have nothing in their savings account. This can be especially terrifying and stressful when an emergency happens. Managing grocery costs can be highly beneficial in building an emergency fund.
Before heading off to the supermarket to buy groceries, check out our top 10 ways to lower costs!
1. Change Where You Shop
People can save more than 30% on groceries simply by changing their routine. While it may be tempting to go to the closest grocery store, chances are there is a more budget-friendly grocery store just a little farther away.
Check out non-traditional stores like warehouse clubs and dollar stores for savings on food and other household items. If one usually goes to a higher-end organic store like Whole Foods, maybe try Trader Joe’s.
2. Store Brands
On average, store brands are over 25% cheaper than name brands. Stores like Trader Joe’s carry many store brand items that are half the price for the same product with a name brand.
While there is a debate on the comparison between store brands vs. name brands, there are many options that can be just as good or even better than its counterpart. Doing some research beforehand and looking at reviews may be surprising, some store brand products actually outrank a similar name brand product in overall quality.
3. Compare Unit Prices
Unfortunately, manufacturers and stores need to make money too. There are many techniques and tactics that are sometimes to used to make sure they are making the highest possible profit.
One of these tactics is the way products are packaged. Just because a product is in a bigger container doesn’t mean that there is more inside. Just because a product is on sale doesn’t mean it is actually a better deal.
One thing to always keep in mind when one goes to buy groceries is to check the actual unit pricing. Don’t just look at the price tag. Unit pricing tells the consumer how much they are paying per basic unit of a product.
So although a smaller package is on sale, the bigger package may still be the better value if it has a cheaper unit price.
4. Stock Up On Sales
One of the best ways to lower a groceries budget is to stock up on sales. When one decides to hit the supermarket to buy groceries, it is always a good idea to check if there are any sales on items that are purchased regularly.
If something that is frequently purchased is on sale for a great price, then buy a few or several. Of course, these items ideally would be non-perishable or can last a long time in a freezer.
A lot of money can be saved on non-grocery items as well at the supermarket. Household items like toilet paper or paper towels are a staple in every home. If there is a great sale going on, there is no harm in stocking up on these items since it is almost guaranteed that they will eventually get used.
Meal prepping has become more and more popular and for good reason. It is a great way to budget accordingly and keep healthy. Another great strategy is to adjust meal plans according to what is on sale. By planning around what is on sale, one can cut grocery spending by 30% or more.
Coupons are an underused strategy that can save a lot of money when one goes to buy groceries. Many people think that it takes a lot of time and energy to dig up coupons. But actually, there are some super easy ways to find them and use them.
Many grocery stores now have apps that are available for download. On these apps, there will be a page solely dedicated to daily or weekly coupons. Before one goes to buy groceries, it is a great idea to give that page a quick scroll to see if there are any applicable coupons.
The more old-school way of finding and using coupons is to clip them out of either newspapers or the store catalog. For those who have more patience, those savings can rack up a lot of savings.
Besides grocery store apps, there are also a lot of third-party apps that also find and organize coupons based on different filters. The app does most of the work, which ends up saving the consumer both time and money.
6. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is one of the best ways to save money and lower costs. Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club have found huge success because of the buying in bulk mentality.
Buying in bulk is a great way to help reduce monthly spending when one goes to buy groceries. Because the store itself is paying a better price to buy in bulk, therefore it can sell to the consumer at a much lower cost as well.
A great idea is to buy meat in bulk and then freeze it. Protein can be very expensive. If one buys in bulk, it will cost much less per pound, making it a great way to save money.
7. Look Up, Down, and Around
Another trick that grocery stores use to make sure they are maximizing their profits is the way they organize the products in each aisle. Most stores are organized per category. But what customers don’t always realize is that there is a formula to the way the shelves are organized themselves.
Often times, grocery stores will place the most expensive, usually name brand, products on the shelf that is eye level. This ensures that these products will be the easiest to see and grab. These products are almost always the most expensive of their category.
When consumers buy groceries, it is natural for them to stare straight ahead rather than look at the highest or lowest shelf. Having to stand on tiptoes or crouch down to the ground is inconvenient and a pain. However, doing so will probably lead to a lot of savings.
The very top or bottom shelf usually carry store brand products, a more generic label, and more cost-efficient products. It may not be the easiest or most convenient product to grab, but it may save a lot of dollars in the long run.
8. Make a List
People often times underestimate the power of a list. Making a grocery list before heading out to the grocery store is a great idea. It will force the shopper to stick to certain guidelines and not spend extra money on unnecessary things.
Everyone has been in a position where they go to the store with a goal and end up walking out with way more things then they planned on getting. Making a grocery list and sticking to it is an important step to lowering costs.
9. No Prepared Foods
Prepared foods are convenient, but they are also expensive. Many people fall into the trap of only purchasing prepared foods because they are convenient and time-efficient.
Prepared foods can be marked up as much as 40%. Prepackaged sandwiches, salads, produce and etc might look great, but it is not a great option if one is concerned about saving money.
Buying the ingredients and preparing them at home is by far the most cost-efficient option when one buys groceries. Because it is not prepackaged, you are not paying for the labor and packing fees that are added in.
10. Cash Back Credit Cards
Trying to find the right credit card can be mind-boggling and overwhelming. There are many options out there, and all major credit card companies are vying for new customers constantly.
However, after doing some research, one can find the best cash-back credit card that will suit their lifestyle and needs. There are many credits cards out there that offer cash-back for groceries. Most cards also offer different awards monthly, that will also lead to more cash-back.
Not only can one save money by making smarter buying decisions when they buy groceries in the store, they can also make money at the same time.
Ready to Save Money When You Buy Groceries?
Being smart and cost-efficient when one goes to buy groceries doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many little changes that can be made that result in big savings.
By simply adopting better buying and spending habits, one can lower the cost of their monthly grocery budget by a lot. Stretching a dollar is a lot easier than many think.
Click here for more information on how one can manage their personal finance.