Saving money can be difficult, especially as food prices continue to rise. You don't have to be a coupon mom to save a few extra dollars at the grocery store. Here are ten grocery shopping tips that will help you save money every time you shop.
1. BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags
Not only is it better for the environment but many grocery stores offer discounts to people who bring their own reusable grocery bags. Usually it's as little as 5 to 10 cents a bag, but over the course of a year that can add up, especially if you are a frequent shopper. Try keeping a few in your car, or write a note to yourself on your shopping list. That way you won't forget them.
2. Make a meal plan
Small things like planning leftovers for lunch and making your freezer meals rather than buying them can lead to big savings.
3. Use a shopping list and stick to it
Spending a little extra time to write a list helps keep you from buying groceries that you won't use, and forgetting groceries that you need. Staying on track will also get you through the store quicker, and keep you from making any last minute grocery runs later for things you forgot.
4. Double check your inventory
A quick glance in the fridge and the pantry will help keep you from buying things you already have. It will also help give you an idea of what to put in your meal plan. The more you shop from your pantry the less you buy at the store.
5. Eat a snack before you go
It's a lot easier to resist the delicious smells coming off the bakery and the aisles filled with snack food when your stomach isn't growling. You'd be surprised how much you'll save if you cut down on impulse buying.
6. Avoid pre-cut and prepared food
Try switching out regular carrots for prepared baby carrots, heads of lettuce instead of bagged lettuce, and whole fruits and vegetables instead of pre-washed, ready to eat veggies. This might mean a little extra time in the kitchen, but setting aside a half hour after you shop to clean and prep your veggies may end up saving you quite a bit.
7. Watch where you shop
Splitting your grocery trips between 2-3 different stores can help you save money. Consider shopping at your local farmer's market for produce, usually it is fresher and less expensive, plus it will support your local farmers and help the environment. Be careful when you shop at bulk discount stores, you can save money, but not if you end up throwing away half of what you buy.
8. Watch what you eat and drink
Processed foods are not only more expensive, they aren't as good for you. Loading up on fresh produce and cutting some of the rich, processed foods will help trim your waist line and your grocery bill. Try drinking tap water instead of soda or juice, which will cut costs as well as calories.
9. Buy store brands
Most generic brands are every bit as good as name brands and are much less expensive. Store brands don't charge the consumer for additional advertising costs the way name brands usually do.
10. Use Coupons
This can be as easy as picking up a store circular or a newspaper. Keep your eyes open for coupons of things that you normally buy. Be sure to ask about your store's coupon policy. Some stores offer additional savings or will honor their competitors coupons. Ultimately, coupon shopping is the number one way to save money on groceries.