How To Grocery Shop on a Budget

Everyone has to eat, and buying groceries is a fact of life. Although stocking a kitchen with food for meals and snacks is a part of most monthly budgets, these expenditures don’t have to break the bank. Instead of spending a sizable chunk of your take-home pay at the grocery store or spending hours couponing, you can incorporate effective ways to save money that won’t require significant time or effort. With a little planning, it’s possible to plan meals and create grocery shopping lists that are both economical and delicious.

Plan Menus and Make Lists

Grocery shopping without a list invites impulse purchases, which can be expensive. Plan out your menus for the week and make a list of items you need to make the meals. Strive to purchase only items on your grocery list to save money. Don’t forget to evaluate your pantry before you go to see what ingredients you already have!

Pay With Cash to Avoid Overspending

Paying for groceries with a credit card makes it easier to spend a few extra dollars here and there, even if you are keeping your budget in mind. While it may not seem like a lot, an extra $2 to $3 per week adds up to around $130 in extra spending in a year’s time! When you bring a set amount of cash to the grocery store, overspending is simply not an option. You’ll have to stick to your budget!

Check Unit Pricing

Often, it’s more economical in the long run to buy items in bulk instead of in single units. Grocery stores will often display pricing per unit to enable customers to see the advantage of buying in bulk, so pay attention to unit pricing information and buy in bulk when possible. But if you don’t have room to store bulk items, make sure not to buy food that will go to waste.

Compare Prices at Several Stores

Grocery stores will have unique pricing structures based on brands, location, and volume of stock. Peruse the grocery stores in your area to learn which have the best prices for the items you buy, and then make your purchases at these stores. Keep in mind that sometimes, shopping at multiple stores will save you more than just going to one.

Don’t Shop When Tired or Hungry

Heading to the grocery store after a long day at work is a typical scenario. Pushing around a cart when you’re tired and/or hungry can result in a higher than necessary grocery tab, though. Shopping for groceries in these circumstances often leads people to buy more than they need. Whenever possible, shop when you’re rested and well-fed.

Use Rewards Apps

There are many rewards apps that give customers perks for shopping. These apps may provide cash back over time, or they may offer customers special sale prices or coupons. The cash-back process may track sales by scanning a bar code on a card, or customers may have to submit photocopies of receipts. Why not get cash back or coupons for the groceries you’re already buying?

Shop Clearance Items

Stores usually have a clearance aisle or section where foods are marked down because they have been discontinued or are close to their expiration date. These clearance items may have prices that are significantly discounted, which can save shoppers money. Just be sure that you’ll be able to use the products before they expire or else the deal is not as good as it seems.

Shop Weekly Ads

Grocery stores generally put out weekly ads that will offer specific items marked down from regular prices. Weekly ads also tend to have items that are called “loss leaders,” which are items that are priced below market cost, designed to pull customers into the store. Shopping for loss leaders can be an effective way to save money. Learn the days that grocery stores in your area publish weekly ads, and peruse the adverts each week to find discounted items and loss leaders.

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