Inflation is affecting nearly every aspect of our lives, including our grocery bills.
Though we can cut back on buying clothes to save money, it’s harder to do that with food because we need it to survive. Here are a few tips to save money on your next grocery store trip. You’ll thank us later.
1. Stick to Your Grocery List
We’re all guilty of making a shopping list, checking everything off, and then spending more money on things we don’t need (or going to Target to buy toothpaste and leaving with $200 worth of makeup, clothes, and no toothpaste), but we (literally) can’t afford to do that right now. One of the easiest ways to lower your grocery bill is to stick to your list and only list things you actually need.
2. Meal Plan
Save on your grocery bill by planning your meals, then your grocery list will only include things you need! Meal prep doesn’t have to be cooking everything in one night and putting everything in Tupperware containers (though there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s actually a good diet strategy). It can be as simple as writing down that you want to make chicken on Monday and tacos on Tuesdays. Though it takes some extra time to plan your meals, it’s worth it when you’re saving money on groceries.
3. Take Advantage of Sales
If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, then you can totally plan your meals around what’s on sale that week. Most grocery stores either send out weekly fliers advertising their sales or post it on their website (they might even have digital coupons you can save in their store app too). Planning around what’s on sale will automatically drop your grocery bill.
If you don’t have any dietary restrictions, then plan your meals around what’s on sale that week.
Additionally, if an item on your grocery list is on sale, why not buy an extra to save for the future? Just remember not to use this tip with perishable foods like fruits, vegetables, and eggs.
If there’s a treat that you want but don’t need, like chips or candy, wait until it’s on sale to indulge.
4. Don’t Let Food Go to Waste
How often do you toss food at the end of the week because it went bad? Avoid this by washing and prepping your produce when you get home from the store (it’s annoying and time-consuming but so worth it), and look at the expiration date before you buy anything else, especially dairy items. If you find yourself avoiding a certain food after you wash it or let it go past the expiration date, it might be a good idea to take it off your grocery list in the future and replace it with something you’ll actually eat.
5. Use Your Leftovers
Portion control is important to healthy eating, making leftovers inevitable. Instead of tossing the rest of your plate, make use of your leftovers by eating it for lunch the next day or even later in the week (this is where meal planning comes in handy). If you’re not a big fan of eating the same thing twice in one week, Pinterest is full of ideas on how to spruce up your leftovers.
6. Buy a Rotisserie Chicken
I wish I could take credit for this tip because it’s genius, but I learned this hack from my mom. Buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store (the Costco one is amazing) and cut it up when you get home. Though you can probably eat the whole thing in one meal if you have enough people, it’s smart to put the rest in Tupperware containers for later in the week. It’s an easy way to add delicious protein to a salad, or you can use it as shredded chicken for tacos.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Generic Food Brands
Most of us associate off-brand and generic food as cheap knockoffs that taste like garbage (anyone who has eaten generic cereal knows exactly what I’m talking about), but some generic products are better than the name brand. Take your time to do research into some of the best generic products at your grocery store. If you shop at a national store like Target, Costco, or Trader Joe’s, these will be easy to find, but you might need to dig a little deeper if you go to a local grocery store. Some generic foods are delicious, and it’s only better when you realize you’re saving money.
Some generic products are better than the name brand.
8. Join a Rewards Program
Many grocery stores have a rewards program where you can redeem points for coupons or a gas discount, so why not take advantage of it to help yourself save? Some grocery stores take it to the next level with credit cards with rewards you can use outside the grocery store, and they’re definitely worth looking into.
9. Shop at Cheaper Stores
Choose Walmart over Target (painful, I know). If there’s an Aldi near you, shop there. Stores like Publix, Kroger, Whole Foods, and Tom Thumb are going to be more expensive, period. The “shopping experience” might not be as nice, but you’ll appreciate saving dollars each week just by changing venues.
10. Make the Same Meals Every Week
Boring? Yes. Predictable? Also yes – but that’s the point. If you cook the same meals week after week, you’ll know just how much you’re spending on groceries. Maintaining that part of your budget will give you peace of mind and could possibly free up money for other expenses.
11. Choose Conventional over Organic
I know I just made all the crunchy mamas cringe, but hear me out. Nutritionally, conventional and organic produce are the same, and conventionally grown fruit and veggies are much cheaper. You can swap to all conventional, or prioritize getting only the “dirty dozen” as organic. And this doesn't need to be a change for forever, just for the short term.
Inflation affects nearly every aspect of our lives, and many of us are noticing it hurt our grocery bill. Lucky for us, there are some easy tips for saving money at the grocery store, both lowering your bill and giving yourself extra room to breathe during these tough financial times.
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