5 quick ways you too can save on your groceries budget.
If it’s time to start curbing spending, grocery shopping deserves special attention. According to Gallup, the average American family spends between $146 to $289 a week depending on income group. But how to save money in times of rising inflation is not easy, not to say a near impossible task. So you have to make an extra effort to find good deals and plan your purchases very calmly.
I want to give you some tips on how to shave some of your grocery budgets without having to put your entire family on a diet. Fast and smart choices that will make a big dent on your finances at the end of the month.
We all want to keep our family healthy without having to sacrifice on quality and you don’t need to. Having meal plans, knowing what prices in other stores are by comparing prices at different stores (which at times, allows you to match prices), making and sticking to a list, etc will help.
But here are 5 quick things you can do right now to save on your groceries budget.
1. Have someone else do your groceries for you
As you get familiarized with what your family likes to eat and how you get familiarized with what products you want or prefer. You get attached or you start to follow a brand or brands without checking for similar and cheaper prices or making any comparisons whatsoever. It’s all about the brand you want, that one!
Get rid of that habit by having someone, like a husband or a wife or a friend, do the groceries for you. Instruct them to shop for price versus name brand. This move alone will save you hundreds. How?
Instead of grabbing that famous catchup brand, they’ll get the generic store brand. Instead of the house name bread, they will grab the store brand and save you a dollar or more. In the end it all adds up.
In our home, my husband started to shop for our groceries for us. He created his own habits, in the end, it’s true, but instead of grabbing the brand name peanut butter he would grab the generic one.
His groceries habit became so rampant that he knew how much he would spend on that week before he went to the store. 2 gallons of milk, some coffee creamer, 2 or 3 bags of cereal, bananas, apples, some Oreos and crackers for the girls, 2 bags of chips, frozen fruit, Greek yogurt and some bagels and bread. It would feed us easily for the entire week and more and it always cost less than $30 dollars. And as a bonus, he would come home all so proud that he spent less than 30 dollars!
Which leads us to the next tip.
2. You pay more when you buy brands.
With attractive prices, generic or store brands are a good alternative to spending less on purchases. These brands are offering more and more categories of products, which only extends the opportunity to find good prices.
Generic or store brands are in general, of equal value and quality as the name brands. Yes, there are exceptions but by far and large they are basically the same. They only differ in their prices. In general, these products are priced at 5% to 30% cheaper than traditional brands.
A lot of people have a very visceral reaction to buying store brands and become very prominent in people’s minds but I recommend you give a try on the store brands. If only one or two people in your household consume, say, peanut butter, do they really care if it is store brand? There’s another opportunity to save if they don’t care if it’s one or the other. It becomes relevant in the end when it comes to for example medicine and other similar products. Get in the habit of reading the labels, if they are exactly the same, why are you willing to pay more?
Another benefit of buying generic are the sales. Most times, generic brands which are already 20-25% cheaper product are on sales. Which brings the total price and the savings you make even bigger.
And finally, this isn’t really a generic brand, but if you look for aged meats, for example, you can also find loads of savings there. We’ve bought aged meats with approaching expiration dates and we literally have bought it half the original price. Products that are close to its expiration date can be sold with discounts of up to 50%. So when shopping, it’s worth checking if there is a section in your grocery store that focuses on products that are close to its expiration date. It is worth mentioning that it’s important to buy a product that you are sure to consume before the expiration. Otherwise, you may end up throwing food and your money in the trash.
3. Find an employee-owned market with discounted groceries.
Yes, it sucks to have to drive miles away for groceries but in the end it’s worthy. Grocery stores like Aldi, Winco, Fareway, etc are in general cheaper than your local store. They’re cheaper than Walmart even if that wasn’t enough.
You don’t necessarily need to make several trips to multiple stores but that could save you some as well. If you do, make sure you keep your list up to speed and don’t get tempted to go beyond what you absolutely need.
These employees owned, discount, budget friendly stores offer prices in general 20-25% less than the more traditional ones like Costco, Whole Foods, etc.
4. Stock up when items are on sale.
Grocery Stores often offer sales on specific days of the week or month. Fruits and vegetable items may be cheaper on Wednesday when the sales are carried out.
Try to stay informed about sales. It is worth browsing the grocery store website before going out to the store to check if there are any sales planned and on what date they will be held.
Grocery stores usually carry out sales to celebrate their birthdays. Again, to check the dates of these sales, access their websites and even go a Google search for something like: “Grocery Store (insert the name) anniversary sales”. That way you can find references to sales that are happening right now.
It is also common for grocery stores to carry out sales based on holidays or specific events, such as Black Friday. Some stores run their sales, not only of electronic products, but also food, hygiene and cleaning items and sometimes, even before the actual specific event date.
Once again, there are websites that show which store are participating in the specific event and which products are on sale. Another idea is to access the websites of the grocery stores themselves and seek information about say, Black Friday, or even check in the store itself if they have any plans for any upcoming in-store or online sales.
5. Only buy what you need.
This means sticking to a list. I used to ask my husband to stop at the grocery stores for apples only to come out with 15 other bags, to which he would always say “I thought you said we only needed apples” and I would retort by saying “I’m the one cooking, I’m the one who knows what we need”.
That doesn’t work anymore.
The use of a list is basically required. Having a list, which could be construed off a menu that you are planning for the week, allows you to keep yourself in check. If it’s not on the list, why do you need it? Oh, you could be thinking about a new menu option that you haven’t yet? Well, then why didn’t you think about that menu option, to begin with?
Truly, no need, if it’s not on the list.
Planning ahead and entering them in your list creates a necessity for those and only those items. It creates a limitation on your temptation to go beyond the list.
Making a list is well-known, but an infallible tip. By making a shopping list, checking which products are missing in your home and which ones you do not need to buy, you can reduce expenses significantly.
In addition, to avoid spending on items you already own, when you arrive at the grocery store with a list, focused on sticking to it, you run less risk of the dreadful impulse shopping.
Keeping a list also makes the trip much faster. With time, you will learn where the items you need are and without aimlessly moving around the store you will be able to grab what you need fast and furiously.