Shopping Hacks to Help You Save on Groceries
1. Shop with a calculator
More than likely, you’re grocery shopping with a budget in mind. Make it easy to stick to your budget by shopping with a calculator. If you plan to only spend $80 on groceries one week, using a calculator will help you hold yourself accountable. Every time you add an item to your cart put the price in your calculator.
If you made a physical list, write the price down beside the item on your list and total it up at the end. This is also a great way to remember the prices to add to your price book later.
2. Use a basket
Have you noticed that grocery cart sizes have gotten bigger over the years? There’s a reason for that! It’s another one of those grocery store tricks to get you to buy more.
If you only need a few things, use a basket instead of a cart. Carrying a basket around will help you limit how much you’re putting into it – and limit your spending.
3. Buy in bulk
One great way to save on groceries is to buy certain items in bulk. Items that are great for buying in bulk include:
- nuts (you can freeze them)
- pasta (it will last up to 2 years when stored in a cool, dry place)
- canned goods
Keep in mind that not everything bought in bulk is a better price.
Make sure that you only buy items that you use often so they don’t expire before you get to them. Also, make sure you’re comparing prices so you don’t overpay for items you don’t really need.
4. Shop top and bottom shelves
Grocery stores put their expensive items at eye level. When you’re shopping, look for the item on the top shelf or bottom shelf.
Certain cereals, fruit snacks, and cookies are placed at eye level so kids can see them easier. And of course, beg you for them.
5. Don’t shop end caps
Have you noticed that during football season, the end caps are filled with chips and dips and other tailgating foods?
Around Thanksgiving, they’re filled with canned green beans, mushroom soup, and fried onions. And at Christmastime, they’re stocked with baking supplies.
You would think because these items are displayed that they are on sale, but usually, they’re not. And if they are, you can still find better prices by going down the aisle and searching for the items you need.
6. Buy generic
Most generic products are very similar to brand names in quality and taste. That’s not true for everything, of course.
For example, store brand condiments will cost you up to 25% less than the brand name. They can be cheaper because:
- They don’t have developmental costs. Store brands just stick a new label on an already developed product. They’re not concerned with researching and developing new products. There’s no need to test different recipes.
- Marketing costs are cheaper. Brand name companies spend a lot of money on advertising. Every product that store brands sell has the same label. They focus on the store advertising, not each generic item they sell.
7. Shop the sales ads
Always take a look at what’s on sale before you head to the grocery store. Stock up on your favorite items when they’re on sale.
Make sure you know the start and end dates of the sale. Some stores start on Sunday and others on Wednesday.
8. Stick to your list
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this just about every week, but it needs to be said one more time.
Stick. To. The. List!
Even if you have to stare at your list the entire time you’re in the store to avoid making direct eye contact with those little elves on the cookie packages.
Grabbing extra items will end up costing you more than your budget will allow.
9. Eat before you shop
Going to the grocery store while you’re hungry is not a good idea. You’ll end up putting everything that looks good at the time in your cart. Then when you get home, you’ll wonder what in the world you were thinking.
If you want to save on groceries, eat before you enter the store.
10. Know the sales cycles
Start paying attention to when your favorite items go on sale. Make note of how much the price drops, too. You can keep this information in your price book. Soon you’ll be able to see exactly when those items are going on sale so you can plan ahead.
11. Compare prices
Make sure you’re looking for the unit price when you’re shopping for groceries. The cheapest price isn’t always the best deal.
Learn more about comparison shopping in this guide.
12. Buy baked goods in the frozen section
Baked goods from the grocery store’s bakery section usually cost more than the varieties in the frozen food section. Look for bagels, bread, cakes, pies, and other bakery goods in the freezer to save.
13. Pay attention to the cashier
Cashiers make mistakes and so do machines. Pay attention to every item’s price as it’s being rung up.
14. Shop early
There are fewer people shopping earlier hours, especially during the weekdays. This means that employees have more time to go through their inventory and determine what’s getting ready to expire. Therefore, they’ll be discounting all those items. If you’re shopping early, you can be the first to grab the deals!
15. Avoid pre-packaged items
Pre-packaged items may save you time, but grocery stores charge extra for this convenience. Instead, buy fresh items and make the meal yourself. Not only is this a great way to save on groceries, but it’s also a healthier option.
16. Get cash-back when you shop
Of course, spending money isn’t fun, but using a cash-back app like Ibotta or Rakuten will put some of that money back in your pocket!
Best ways to save on groceries final thoughts…
Just think about what you could do with that money if you didn’t have to spend it all on food. You could pay down debt or save for a vacation. Stop spending all of your money on food and learn how to easily save more. It’s your turn to put these into action.
Saving on groceries is one of the easiest ways to save money. The tips above will help you cut your food bill and keep money in your pocket. If you want to live on the cheap, use these frugal tips to save money today.