Keeping Food Costs Down: 9 Simple Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

By Chika

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Last Updated: June 15, 2022

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Groceries are one of the most expensive monthly expenses in American households, after housing and transportation.

And rightfully so! Food is, of course, a requirement for survival. However, even after brief periods of severe inflation, the average cost of most grocery goods has fallen over time when compared to average household income.

Even yet, the amount we spend on groceries at the local supermarket is difficult to take. 

The average American only goes to the grocery store once or twice a week. However, in this critical time characterized by high food prices, it is crucial to optimize your budget. Here are some grocery shopping suggestions to help you save money.

Related: Shrinkflation: What is It, 3 Reasons it Happens & 4 Ways to Beat it

 

 

9 Ways to Help You Keep Your Grocery Budget Low

1. Use a list.

If you have a shopping list with you, you will save a lot of money on your grocery budget.

It is critical to keep to the list and ensure that you have purchased everything on it. This will keep you from making impulse purchases and will save you from having to return to the store because you forgot something.

A trip to the store to get something you forgot generally results in the purchase of other products you don't require. 

A list can save you a lot of money and time. You can use paper and pen, or checklist apps like Trello, that are expressly designed for grocery shopping lists. Regardless, have your list ready and handy when you need it.

 

2. Plan your menus.

You may take advantage of promotions and bulk buying opportunities if you plan your dinners a week or a month in advance.

It will also keep you from going out to eat. You might find that you can prepare food and freeze the rest for later. On days when you don't feel like cooking, this will come in handy.

You can also organize your menus around your store's weekly circular, which will allow you to maximize the sale pricing. You can buy menu plans online if you don't want to plan your menu. Many of the programs are only $5.00 per month, but they will save you a lot of money at the grocery store.

 

3. Use coupons.

Coupons can help you save a significant amount of money on your grocery budget.

The simplest method to do this is to match the coupons to the things that are on sale. If you're diligent and only buy what you'll need and use, you can save a lot of money at the grocery store.

 

4. Switch brands.

Switching to store-brand items or purchasing the brand that is on sale might save you a lot of money.

You could be shocked by the quality of store-brand merchandise. Many of the items are manufactured and packaged in the same facilities and plants as major brands. Because the stores do not have huge advertising costs, they can pass the savings on to you.

 

5. Do bulk purchases.

Stores would be delighted to offer a discount to anyone purchasing in bulk.

It makes sense to buy in bulk if the savings are true as you utilize the product in your home, storing it so it doesn't go bad.

Otherwise, stay away from bulk purchases made solely for the sake of getting a good bargain. If you do not consume a lot of cereal, bulk purchasing will result in you spending money on something that will likely remain on your shelf until it goes bad or expires.

Most packaged and bagged things should be stored in cold, dark settings at home to extend the product's life. Freeze items like brown bananas (For baking), bread, butter, cookies, flour, grapes (They make a great snack), herbs, spices, nuts, and onions.

 

6. Pay with cash.

Carrying a certain amount of cash and just using it to buy groceries is the greatest approach to limit your spending.

You will not be able to spend more than your budget in this manner.

Many people are surprised to learn that whether they use a credit card, debit card, or prepaid card, they will overspend equally. When you buy something using plastic, you usually wind up overspending by 10% to 50%.

When you pay with cash, you must prioritize the foods you require rather than impulsively purchasing sweets, snacks, and other non-essential items.

This way, you come home with the stuff you intended to buy rather than the items you couldn't resist, which are normally available at the checkout counter or the snack counter. 

 

7. Avoid pre-prepped fruits and vegetables.

Stores would love to do all the hard work for you like cleaning up the salad leaves, chopping the veggies, peeling the fruits, and prepping it up for you.

Be aware, though, that there is a considerable cost behind it. The preparation of meals in delis, bakeries, and meat departments is where most grocery shops make their money.

Buying whole fruits and vegetables and preparing them at home when you need them may take a little longer, but it can help you save a lot of money on your monthly grocery bill. Skip the grocery store's pre-prepared areas.

 

8. Keep track of not only your expenses but also your time.

When you go grocery shopping, you are depleting a valuable and finite resource.

Aside from money, you must correctly arrange your time. Make a plan to spend a certain amount of time in the store and figure out how much you'll be charged for the items in your cart.

Unsurprisingly, the longer you stay at the grocery store, the more money you'll spend at the register. While you don't have to sprint through the aisles, don't expect to stroll or, worse, aimlessly across the aisles.

You might even set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to stay on track. You will become more sensitive to your spending and time management if you keep track of your expenses and time.

 

9. Keep the kids at home if you can.

When you take your kids to the grocery store, you'll immediately notice that your cart or basket is filled with items that they picked up in the aisles.

While you may want to be a good parent and get your children everything they desire, this will rapidly exceed your budget (and likely spoil your children).

Think about hiring a babysitter for an hour or two. The money you save on groceries usually more than covers the expense of the babysitter, plus you enjoy some peace while browsing the aisles.

 

 

Keeping Your Grocery Budget Low

Even these tiny grocery budget saving techniques can add up to significant savings in the long term.

Your savings may not seem significant, but when taken together, they can make a significant difference in your budget. Make it a habit to organize your grocery shopping, your budget, and your time. It will assist you in being a more conscious shopper the next time you go shopping.

Photo by Ivan Samkov

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