Grocery shopping can undoubtedly be a thorn in your bank account’s side. A trip to the grocery store can feel particularly expensive if you live in an urban center that’s densely populated. Such areas tend to have a higher mark-up, and it’s worthwhile to travel out of the city center if you can to purchase food and other goods.
However, the grocery store doesn’t have to be such a dreaded place — all it takes is thoughtful planning and careful budgeting, even if you live in a busy city. Take a look at these five tips on how to save money at the grocery store.
1. Make a Monthly Budget
The next time you receive your paycheque, create a simple Excel spreadsheet outlining your budget for the following month. Consider the essentials, including your rent and bills, and then consider how much money is leftover for groceries, entertainment, and miscellaneous items. Consider how much food you’ll need for the month, and plan within your budget to spend, for example, $300 on groceries. If you stick with your plan and don’t go over the budget, you’ll find a chunk of money in your bank account at the end of the month that you can use for something fun, or better yet, to put into a savings account!
2. Find Coupons and Flyers that Work for You
Find online flyers and coupons that you’ll actually use. Such tools will help you save money, but only when you use them wisely. Search for an online resource that posts daily deals from a broad geographical range so you can discover and compare sales at home and from all over your area. Take some time to read through all of the flyers and coupons from your favorite retailers because you never know when you’ll find the deal you’ve been waiting for. You’ll start to notice things such as when extra reward or credit card points are doubled on specific products. You’ll also begin to shop exclusively with what’s on sale because once you start shopping with coupons and flyers, you won’t be able to stop saving!
3. Buy Produce in Season
Fruits and vegetables are often cheaper when they’re in season. Avoid wasting delicious food by buying fresh fruit or vegetables at various stages of ripeness. The best plan of action is to choose some fruit that’s ripe and ready to eat, and some that will slowly start to ripen in a few days. That way you’ll have enough time to eat all of your fresh produce.
4. Choose the Store Brands
The no-name or store-name brands are almost always less expensive than brand name products, and they’re just as good. Look for store-name branded pasta, condiments, potato chips — they offer almost everything that other brands carry but in a less-flashy package.
5. Make a List
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to make a thorough list of ingredients. Create a menu that will help you put together a list of items, so you’ll only buy what you need.
With a little bit of planning and paying attention to coupons and flyers, you’ll be saving money on food in no time.