Tired of shelling out hundreds of dollars every time you walk into a grocery store? Unfortunately, we all have to eat, and that means that buying groceries is an unavoidable part of life.
But that doesn’t mean we have to go broke doing it.
Ready to learn how to reduce your grocery bill? Here are 17 tips to save money at the grocery store.
1. Opt for Store Brands
An easy way to save money on groceries is to avoid buying brand names. Choose store brands instead.
Store brands almost always are cheaper than name brand products, and they often come from the exact same sources. Buying store brands does not mean you have to sacrifice on quality.
2. Look High and Low to Get the Best Deals
Did you know that eye-level shelves usually hold the highest priced items? Instead of buying what’s right in front of you, look up and look down. The top shelf and the bottom shelf are where you’ll find the best deals.
3. Avoid Pre-Packaged Foods
Already assembled fruit salads. Pre-arranged veggie trays. Deli trays already organized …Don’t buy any of these!
You’re paying for the labor it took someone else to cut the produce, slice the fruit, and roll the cold cuts. You’ll spend a lot less money if you buy the ingredients individually and assemble a tray yourself.
This holds true for bagged salad as well. Instead of buying a pre-tossed salad mix in a bag or a tray, buy and wash your own lettuce and veggies and put it together yourself.
4. Choose In-Season Produce
It’s always cheaper to buy produce that’s in season from your local region. The shorter the distance it has to travel to get to your store, the less it will cost. You’ll always pay more for out of season fruits that have to be shipped in from different climates and different states.
5. Skip the Grated Cheese
Buying cheese that’s already grated, shredded, or cubed definitely makes meal prep easier. But it will cost you.
Like pre-packaged salads and fruit trays, you’re paying for labor and convenience. You’ll save money by buying a small block and grating or shredding it yourself.
6. Don’t Assume That Bulk Means Cheaper
Just because something is packaged in bulk doesn’t mean it’s cheaper. Always look at the unit price of an item. The 12 pack of toilet paper might seem like a better deal, but it could cost you less to buy three 4 packs.
Pay attention to the unit price per ounce or per square feet of every item you buy. Do the math when you’re in the aisle and use the calculator on your phone if need be. If it isn’t the best deal, don’t put it in your cart!
7. Grow Your Own Herbs
Even if you live in a tiny apartment or have a small kitchen, it’s super easy to grow an herb garden at home. Grow the herbs you use regularly and you’ll never have to pay for them again.
8. Avoid the Center Aisles
Almost all grocery stores are set up the same way – with fresh meat, fish, produce, veggies, and dairy products on the outskirts of the store. The inner aisles are usually full of packaged goods and freezer foods – and those are always more expensive.
9. Bring Your Own Grocery Bags
We like to think that everyone is already in the habit of carrying groceries in reusable tote bags as opposed to single-use plastic bags. But that’s not always the case. Depending on where you live, your grocery store may charge for plastic bags, so always make sure you have your own totes with you.
10. Leave Your Kids At Home
There’s no way to avoid it – kids will always want things that aren’t on your shopping list. Rather than have to say no or listen to them beg for a snack they want to try, leave them at home. It can cost less to hire a babysitter for an hour than to bring them with you.
11. Don’t Buy Things You Can Buy at a Dollar Store
Dollar stores are great for certain products, such as food storage bags, sponges, rubber gloves, scouring pads, and tissues. Take a trip to your local dollar store and see what they have in their cleaning aisle. Make a mental note to NEVER buy those things in the grocery store again.
12. Do Your Research Before You Go
Clip coupons, scan store circulars and check online ads before you go shopping. That way, you’ll know what the weekly deals are, and you can stock up on items you need when they’re on sale.
It’s also important to know your store’s coupon policies ahead of time. If they do double coupons on certain days of the week, try to shop on those days.
13. Make a Meal Plan and Make a List (And Stick to Both!)
Don’t go to the store unless you know what you need and have a list in hand. Without a list you’re more likely to grab all sorts of things you don’t need.
And the best way to make a list is to make a meal plan for the week. You might even want to plan meals based on the weekly sales or the coupons that you have.
14. Never Shop When You’re Hungry
Never shop on an empty stomach. Go to the grocery store when you’re hungry and you’re likely to want to grab everything in sight. Instead, go after dinner or after breakfast when your belly is full!
15. Avoid the Store Altogether
One great way to save money at the grocery store is to not even step foot in the door. Instead of pushing your cart up and down each aisle, order your groceries online and have them delivered to your door.
You’ll have to pay a few dollars for shipping, but it’s a lot easier to stock your online cart with only the items you need. In person, it’s a lot more tempting to pick up things you don’t really need.
16. Use Money-Saving Apps
17. Don’t Buy More Than You Need
It’s hard to pass up a good deal, but just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it. If you don’t need it and the product goes to waste, you’re actually wasting money.
If you see a deal on a product once there’s a good chance there will be another deal on it in the future. It might even be on sale the next time you actually need it!
How Can You Save Money at the Grocery Store?
There are lots of easy ways to save money at the grocery store; you just have to know the tricks. Putting just a few of the tips on this list into practice can save you big on your next grocery bill!