When you think of stocking up on healthy foods and going grocery shopping, you most likely associate it with higher costs that will take the second biggest part of your monthly budget after rental or mortgage payments. However, if you have noticed that you spend way more on groceries than you initially planned, it’s not because of their price tags but because of a lack of preparation.
In this article, we will share several practical tips that will help you optimize your grocery shopping, significantly reducing the amount of money you spend on food every month. Apart from creating a basic grocery list and embracing meal planning, they also include searching for discounts, avoiding convenience stores, and taking advantage of store flyers and loyalty cards. Continue reading to learn more about maximizing your grocery savings.
Before going grocery shopping, the first thing you should do is create a basic grocery list, so you know exactly what you’re going to buy. Keep in mind that this list will change during the week depending on what leftovers you have, what you’ve run out of, or what recipes you’d like to make.
Stores often send out flyers with coupons and special offers that allow you to save on specific products or brands. You can also discover the best discounts for groceries online. Apart from that, check out the loyalty programs offered by your local grocery store. Most stores offer discounts when you pay with their branded credit card or by using their own app. You can also get discounts when you shop at their affiliated gas stations or buy fuel there.
If you don’t include meal planning in your weekly plans, it might be because you think it’s time-consuming or unnecessary. However, optimizing your grocery shopping will require you to take care of your meals in advance so that you avoid last-minute decisions that will inevitably lead to impulse buying and food waste.
It takes just a few minutes at the beginning of the week to plan your meals for the coming days. Just take a piece of paper and jot down the meals you want to make, along with the recipes and ingredients required. You can also use ready-made templates available online or a digital tool, such as a meal planner app. Just enter the meals, add an optional grocery list, and you’re good to go.
Farmer’s markets are one of the best places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods are usually grown locally, meaning they have a shorter distance to travel from the farm to your kitchen, so they’ll be fresher. In addition to that, you can get them at a lower price compared to regular grocery stores, which will be great if, for example, you read about how to sell wine online and want to try your hand at it. The only downside is that going to a farmer’s market will require a bit more of a drive, but it’s worth it for healthy food at a lower price.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is buying food to eat on the go or while working. You might think that it’s easier to grab a sandwich, some chips, or pretzels while running errands, but in reality, it’s much cheaper to make these snacks yourself. In most cases, fast food is far more expensive than home-cooked food, and the nutrition you get in return is much lower than what you’d get in your homemade meals.
The best way to optimize your grocery shopping is by buying in bulk when possible. For example, when buying meat, you should look for packages larger than needed for the meal you plan to do today. This way, you can freeze them and keep them until you use them in another dish.
The same goes for fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, crackers, cookies, etc. You can find large packages of all of these foods at discounted prices compared to what you’d pay for smaller amounts. They will also last longer if stored correctly in airtight plastic containers or Ziploc bags.
If you’re hungry when you go grocery shopping, you’ll likely buy more than you need. Needless to say, when you are hungry, all temptations look very appealing, and it’s very easy to give in to them. As simple as it sounds, eat something before grocery shopping, so you’re not hungry when it’s time to buy food to avoid impulse buying.
Optimizing your grocery shopping will require you to take care of your meals in advance. This means meal planning and creating a grocery list, taking advantage of store flyers and loyalty cards, buying in bulk when possible, avoiding fast foods, buying fresh fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market, and avoiding shopping when hungry.
Follow these tips to improve your grocery shopping routine so you can save money on groceries every month. Good luck!
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