The cost of groceries may be one of your biggest household expenses and sometimes it can be difficult to pare down the grocery bill. If you’re trying to save more money and want to get your grocery costs under control, think beyond coupon clipping and scouring weekly ads for deals. You can save a significant amount of money on groceries with a little planning and strategic buys.
Here are six super simple ways to save money on that next grocery run:
- Get planning. Meal planning will make it easier to refine that list so you aren’t loading up your cart with whatever tickles your fancy. Get in the habit of planning the meals for the week and drafting up recipe lists. Make your list of ingredients from that and do a quick fridge and pantry inventory check to see what you already have on hand. This will prevent overbuying and also help you narrow down your grocery pickup list to just the essentials.
- Don’t fear generic. Generic brands of staple items like flour, rice, oatmeal, and even some household supplies have lower price points and you won’t be missing out on much except fancy packaging. Save the splurges for gourmet foods and other specialty items and stick with generic for the basics.
- Reconsider buying in bulk. Buying in bulk only pays off under two conditions: 1) you will use up the item before the expiration date and 2) you actually enjoy the brand or product. Don’t buy in bulk just because the time is available in a multi-pack. If you’re not familiar with the product and don’t go through large quantities each and every week, you could be wasting your money. Buy dry staples in bulk and consider the cost per item before loading up the cart.
- Shop online. If you always end up coming home with more than planned on each trip to the grocery store, consider shifting gears to the world wide web. Shopping online can save you time and money, and you might be able to set up subscriptions for items you buy regularly. AmazonFresh is now available in select cities and Amazon.com’s Grocery & Gourmet Food section is set up with subscribe and save options where you can save on everything from breakfast items to meal essentials. Netgrocer delivers groceries for a flat-rate shipping fee and offers a wide selection of products.
- Consider the cost of convenience. Do you buy pre-washed salads and pre-cut vegetables to save time? Buying fresh and taking some time to cut and store produce on your own could save you a significant amount of money each week — especially if you’re on a health kick and are loading up on fruits and veggies. Remember that frozen fruits and veggies have the same nutritional value as fresh foods and generic brands could be a smarter choice.
- Don’t forget e-coupons. More grocery stores are accepting online coupons that you can download from the store’s own website or print from a third-party website. Take a few minutes to search for e-coupons before you head out. Or, use a smartphone app like Grocery iQ to make your grocery list, sort your list by aisle, and capture coupons with a screen tap.
What are some of your tried-and-true methods for saving on groceries?