Groceries are essential to life. After all, we have to eat as a basic life necessity. But if you are working to reduce your debt, you’ll want to save on groceries. Here are several tips to help keep that bill low and still feed yourself and your family nutritious meals.
Write a list.
Plan your meals ahead. Buy the exact amount of ingredients you need instead of impulse buying. You’ll end up with too much.
Calculate as you shop.
When you set out to food shop, have a budget in mind. As you are shopping, it’s helpful to add up what you are placing in your cart as you go. That way, there are no surprises at the checkout.
Don’t shop while hungry.
We all know we are much more likely to overbuy if we are hungry while we shop for food. Plan your shopping after a meal or snack so you are feeling satisfied while you get your food.
Buy in bulk.
There are certain items that will store well such as baking supplies, canned foods, grains and beans. Buying in bulk certainly will save you money. Be sure to compare unit prices and make sure you are actually saving in the long run.
Shop the perimeter of the store.
The freshest and most nutrient-dense foods are located on the perimeter of the store. Avoid the brightly colored packaged foods that come with unwanted expenses towards the middle of the store.
Grow your own food.
You don’t have to have a massive yard to supplement some of your grocery store produce with your own – you can grow in containers or even on your window sill. It can be fairly inexpensive to grow food. If you want to garden on a budget save seeds from grocery produce like peppers and tomatoes, regrow your chives and lettuce, put your dried beans into some soil. Have your potatoes gone by and started sprouting? Throw them in the ground for more potatoes!
Utilize food stamps and food pantries.
If you qualify, food stamps and food pantries in your community can be a great resource for food. Find out if you qualify on your state’s government website.
Use coupons, wisely.
Don’t buy an item just because it is on sale, only if it is something you have on your list or something on your list you can substitute for, say on-sale spinach for kale.
Freeze produce for other seasons like berries for the winter. Cheaper than paying the price for transporting from someplace tropical during the winter.
Save on expensive meat products by going meatless for one dinner per week, one week per month, or forever. Substitute with more vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Good for your health and your wallet.
Make “kitchen sink” meals.
Put in everything but the kitchen sink! When you are running low, try to stretch to the end. You can use certain apps to find a recipe that uses what’s left in your fridge, or you can throw it all in a stir-fry and create something new.
Try different stores.
Consider discount or salvage stores like Aldi or Market Basket. Research what options are available to you in your area.
Bring your own bag.
You might not realize but often grocery stores charge you for bags and you don’t want to pay the fee. Others may not charge for bags but will give you a discount for bringing your own.
Buy generic brands over name brands.
Save on your groceries by buying store and off-brands. Often the same quality at a lower price, consider buying generic brands for lower prices.
You’ll get fresh food and great savings. Wait until the end of the day to shop the farmer’s market. If the day is ending they may give you a good deal on the last box of their produce.
Shop the day-old bread.
Find out where the clearance rack is in your local store to save on your groceries. You’ll find perfectly good food at discount prices.
And if you’re really brave… dumpster dive.
Dumpster diving is the act of pulling perfectly fine products from the garbage of grocery stores. Many stores throw away products if they are past their expiration date or produce that has unappealing bruises, yet are still perfectly fine to eat. So much food is wasted in this way, save it from the landfill and gather free food.