10 ways to save on groceries
When you’re trying to save money, there are ways you can cut down that won’t hurt too much – like going to the movies less frequently or checking out thrift stores for designer duds instead of buying new. But there’s only so much you can cut from your allotted monthly food budget, because you and your family still need to eat good, healthy food.
There are obvious ways to save on groceries such as shopping from sale flyers, clipping coupons and buying in bulk, but Ramsey Solutions1 has a list of additional clever and remarkably simple tips that you might want to keep in mind the next time you’re headed off the grocery store:
- Stick to your list. Before you leave for the store, figure out a meal plan for the week by checking out sites like NetMums, looking through your own of family-favourite recipes, and flipping through your local store flyers to see what’s on sale. Once you have your shopping list finished, tally everything up to ensure that the total falls within your weekly food budget. If it does, stick to that list. Impulse purchases might be fun in the moment, but they are budget breakers.
- Check for substitutes. You might not have the exact right ingredient for a meal you plan to make, but you may have something that’s close enough already sitting in your pantry. “Shop” there first. For example, almost any bean can be substituted for another in soups, stews and chili. The same goes for grains like quinoa, farro and barley.
- Shop with cash. If you’re someone who simply cannot resist the siren song of impulse buys, only carry enough cash to cover the items on your shopping list. You simply won’t be able to purchase more.
- Keep a running tally. As you put items into your basket, make note of the cost on calculator so you always know exactly what your tally is. This will help you determine how much you “need” something that you want.
- Round up. This is really just tricking your brain, but it does work. When you’re calculating what you’ve put into your cart, round up to the next dollar every time – even if the item is as low as $1.29. It means you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the check out, and that you definitely won’t blow your budget or run out of cash.
- Cook big batches and freeze meals for later. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money. You may have to spend more outright, but ultimately you’ll save in the end when you use your bounty to make big batch meals. Soups are great big batch meals that freeze and reheat well.
- Shop online. If you’re able, consider doing your grocery shopping online. Seeing the running tally and not being enticed by the aromas and marketing in-store can help you avoid impulse purchases.
- Check out the reduced section. Vegetables that are just slightly overripe or bruised are still perfectly good to use in soups and stews. The same goes for overripe fruit, which is great to bake with. And while fresh bread is nice, day-old bread is idea for toast, grilled cheese and stuffing.
- Reward yourself another way. If you’re in the habit of grabbing a chocolate bar or a bag of cookies as a reward for going through the hassle of grocery shopping, find another way to treat yourself. Make a hot cup of tea when you get home, or allow yourself 15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time instead.
- Reinvent your leftovers. When you’re planning meals, think about creative ways to use up any possible leftovers so you don’t waste any of that precious food. In fact, plan to have leftovers just for this purpose! Learn how you can turn leftovers into brand new meals that your family will love.
Remember that even if you’re on a budget, your dinners don’t have to taste like college-student fare. Check out our article on good, cheap eats to help you make healthy, delicious meals on a budget. While saving money is on your mind, check out our article on 10 simple ways to save money, and this one that has 10 more simple ways to save money.
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