Want to save money at the grocery store? Learn how to do this in a few easy steps. Understand the process and learn what to do before you go to the store, what to look for while you are at the store and what to do when you return home from the store.
Before You Go
Planning is a key factor to your success. Plan meals, plan for sales, plan for coupons and discounts, plan for what’s in season, plan, plan, plan! One of the most important tips to saving money at the grocery store is planning ahead. Start by planning your meals one or two weeks in advance. Also consider planning meals with similar ingredients to limit food waste. Meats are one of the most expensive grocery items on your list. When cooking with ground beef, consider adding lentils or oats to supplement and extend the meat. Also, consider having at least one meatless meal every week. You can substitute meat for beans or lentils for a high nutrition, low cost meal. After your menus have been planned next you will need to create a shopping list. After creating a shopping list, check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer to see what food items you already have on hand. Next check grocery store flyers and newspaper coupons for discounts on the remaining items on your list.
While You’re There
Avoid shopping when you are hungry. This will help you avoid impulse shopping. Stick to your list and avoid unnecessary distractions. Don’t purchase items that are not on your list simply because they are on sale unless you are able to store these items long-term such as canned goods, frozen foods or staples such as rice. Compare store brands to name brands and choose the best price. Also use the unit price to decide the best value for varying sizes of products. Limit pre-packaged foods because you will pay more for these items due to the convenience.
After You Return
Use foods that are highly perishable first to limit food waste. A few times every week, take an inventory of refrigerated food items to use before they spoil. When cooking meals consider cooking once and eating twice. This will allow you to freeze part of a meal for use later in the week. When there are leftovers to be used immediately, have them for lunch the next day. You can also use leftover vegetables in omelets or soups. Keep a running list of food items that need to be replaced, this will result in fewer trips to the grocery store which will save you valuable time and money in the long run.