Unless you are living off the grid, shopping for groceries is one of life’s necessities. Perusing the aisles and filling your shopping carts with processed snacks, ready to cook, precut vegetables, jars of sauces and expensive cuts of meat can result in a bill that is alarmingly high. Attractive packaging and clever marketing strategies can also trick you into spending money on products you do not need.
By becoming a smart shopper, you can walk in to a supermarket prepared and easily spend the amount of money you want to spend, without going over budget. So read on and find out our top tips to help you cut your food bill without clipping a single coupon.
Instead of mainstream brands, buy the store’s own brand. There is usually very little difference in the actual quality of the product, but the different in the price could be substantial.
Going to the supermarket hungry is a sure way to spend more money than you want to. Make sure you have a healthy snack before shopping and you won’t end up impulsively buying things you don’t need.
So much money is wasted because people do not eat their leftovers. Leftovers don’t have the best reputation, but with a little bit of thought they can become delicious meals in their own right. Turn last night’s pasta into tomorrow’s frittata and save those precious pennies!
If you can’t face having the same meal two days in a row, then freeze it! There are so many freezer-friendly meals that allow you to buy things when they go on sale, cook and save for later. Pasta sauces, soups, and stews are great ways to use up ingredients, without having to eat them incessantly for the rest of the week.
Meat is more expensive than vegetables. It makes sense, then, to buy less meat — so why not give meatless Mondays a try? Eat more vegetables and grains and save money doing so.
How many times have you discovered something old or expired forgotten in the back of the fridge or pantry? It is easy to open something and quickly forget to use it up, thereby wasting the product and your money. Keep highly perishable products at the front of the fridge to make sure you don’t forget about them!
Don’t go to the supermarket every day. Try going once a week and you will inevitably spend less.
Grocery stores intentionally play slow, relaxing elevator music to encourage shoppers to slow down and take their time. It’s a business technique proven to get shoppers to buy more than what they need; so next time you head to the store, bring some headphones and listen to something that makes you want to dance.
Supermarkets are pretty sneaky when it comes to their shelves and often put the most expensive products at your eye level. Make sure you look at the top and bottom of shelves to find similar products at lower prices.
By planning what you will be cooking for a week’s worth of meals you can ensure you buy just what you need, without anything in excess. If a weeks’ worth of menu planning sounds daunting, start by planning your weekly meals based on which proteins and vegetables you want to eat, and consider more general recipe ideas rather than specific recipes with specific measurements and amounts.
Don’t let your eyes be larger than your stomach (or wallet) and only buy quantities that you know you will consume. People buy more food than they consume and end up throwing away shocking quantities. So become a more responsible shopper, buy less, waste less, and save money.
Restaurant kitchens always implement FIFO when organizing produce. It stands for “first in first out,” meaning that you should always use what you already had on hand before opening your latest purchases.
A lot of supermarkets these days will match the prices of competitors. Talk to your local supermarkets to find out about their price matching policies and then take advantage of it to save money.
Trashy magazines, candies, gums, mints, and gadgets are all there just innocently begging you to take them home with you while you wait in the checkout line. Resist the urges and keep your eyes on the prize.
This may seem like a silly one, but when shopping with a spouse or children, it is easy to load up the shopping cart with unnecessary items. Leave everyone at home and it will be much easier to stick to a budget.
Some stores sell items from the day before at a lower price the next morning. See if your supermarket offers marked down items and snatch them up by doing your shopping in the morning.
More expensive, processed foods are usually found in the center isles of the supermarket. To avoid temptation, stick to the outer perimeters of the store and load up on fresh, unprocessed ingredients.
Before you go shopping, write a list of everything you need to buy. When you go shopping, do not buy anything that is not on your list! All of those little additions to your basket or cart really add up, sticking to a list can keep you on budget and help save money in the long run.
If you are halfway through a recipe and discover you are missing just one ingredient, don’t rush out to the stores to buy whatever it is you’re missing. Most things can be substituted with something you may have to hand, so get onto the internet and do a quick search to find out what you can use instead.
Sign up for a store’s loyalty program to make the most of any sales they have and gain access to online resources like coupons and discount codes.
Make sure you’re getting the best deal by comparing the price per unit of different sized packages. Sometimes buying a larger quantity can be more cost effective, sometimes not — but it’s always worth doing the math to find out. Of course supermarkets have their own sneaky ways to trick you into spending more money than you want to, but armed with these handy shopping tips, you will find yourself well prepared to resist their crafty tactics!