How many times have you come back from the grocery store wondering how the heck did you just buy only 10 items but ended up paying more than $100?! Let’s face it – Trying to keep your Grocery budget under control can be a real struggle. But there are ways that you can shop for good quality products and still stay under control.
And no – I’m not talking about extreme couponing. In fact, this post is not about coupons but rather how to shop wisely and getting more bang for your buck.
First things first – I find grocery shopping to be one of the most boring chores ever. Now don’t get me wrong. I do spend a lot of time once I’m at the store, but just the thought of going to the store for our weekly supplies can sometimes stress me out.
Plus when you are trying to make healthy choices but still want to stay under budget, things can get a little overwhelming. I have read and seen too many shows about people who do extreme couponing and wish it worked for me. But then again not everyone has the time or patience to hunt down coupons that can slash their grocery bill by more than half of what it’s supposed to be.
Here are some ways that have worked for us and that has helped us to reduce our spending on grocery –
Shop more than one store
I know it’s convenient to head over to your nearest grocery store to get all your weekly supplies.
We have a King’s supermarket like two minutes away from our home. While I love its convenience, I know that I can get better prices in other stores like Shoprite or Walmart. I even try shopping at discount grocery stores like Aldi and Costco at least once a month even though these stores are not that close to my home.
Also, we cook a lot of Indian food and we prefer to get all our spices from an Indian store. Even dry goods like beans, lentils etc are slightly cheaper in ethnic stores as opposed to the big box stores.
Shopping at more than one store also helps you to take advantage of the sales that may be going on in a particular store that your favorite store might now have at that time.
Store your coupons wisely
Like I said, I’m not into extreme couponing, but whatever little coupons I have, I store them in a handy little coupon organizer (that I got from the Dollar Store). But guess what? Every time I headed to the grocery store, I used to forget the coupons at home. So frustrating, right? I know!
That’s when I decided to keep my coupon organizer in my car’s dashboard. This way even if I end up taking a different purse, my coupons are always in the car and I don’t have to worry about reminding to take my coupons before leaving my home.
Shop on a full stomach
One of the most important rules while doing grocery shopping is to not shop on an empty stomach.
When we shop on a hungry stomach, we end up doing a lot of impulse purchases like grabbing a bag of chips or candies.
Even it’s too early for lunch or dinner, just grab a quick bite before heading to the store so that you won’t get ‘hangry’ and don’t buy unnecessary things that weren’t on your list, to begin with.
Free Grocery Pick up
Speaking of impulse buys, many times we fill up our shopping carts just because we see something on display or they are handing out free samples. Many stores like Walmart have started Free Grocery Pick up.
Start taking advantage of it so that you can truly stick to your list and not end up buying things that you don’t need or just because you saw it while shopping.
Remember that Free Grocery Pick up also means saving your precious time to do other productive things.
Purge your Pantry & Freezer
A while back I had challenged myself to not do grocery shopping for 2 weeks straight and that was the time I used everything from my pantry and freezer – right from dry goods like beans, lentils, rice and pasta to frozen meat and veggies.
I was honestly surprised that I could still put together a decent meal without having to go to the grocery store for 2 straight weeks. Think meals like pasta, lasagna, chicken and rice, rice and beans, stir fried dishes, mashed potatoes etc.
Fewer trips to the grocery store = less money spent.
Freeze your Fruits
Fruits can go bad quickly if not eaten on time. Extend the life of your fruits by freezing them if you notice that they are going to over ripen soon. I always do it for pineapples, bananas, and berries so I always have fruits to add in my smoothies.
Start your own garden
There are so many people that I know who grow their own veggies and I really admire them for their hard work and patience.
While I don’t really have a green thumb, you can totally grow a few easy veggies in your own home even if you don’t have a huge backyard.
For starters, I tried growing green onions which were like the easiest things ever. You don’t even need soil for them. Just put the green onion heads in a glass of water, keep it near a window and they’ll grow back within a week.
Romaine lettuce and herbs like basil and mint are also very easy to grow and maintain with just a little bit of care and attention.
Homegrown veggies = less money spent at the grocery store.
Save your herbs
Herbs like mint, cilantro, basil etc can wilt quickly causing your money to go down the drain. Instead, you can freeze them with a little olive oil in ice cube trays and use it whenever you are cooking.
Look up and down
If you didn’t know this already – Grocery stores are very smart when it comes to product placements.
Most of the times the slightly expensive items are at your eye level as that’s where you will naturally tend to grab things from, especially if you’re in a hurry.
So if you aren’t doing this – next time, take a look at the top as well as bottom shelves and compare prices before buying.
Buy in Bulk
Sometimes buying only what you need makes sense to us. Especially when you know you won’t need that particular ingredient again. But for other things, buying in bulk is almost always cheaper, especially for things like rice, oats, millet etc.
These are some of the easy ways by which we try to save money on our grocery and stay under budget.
What are your favorite ways to save money while doing grocery shopping? I would love to know.
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