Smart shopping is a skill worth developing. Buying groceries for your family is getting more expensive every day. Finding ways to save money and stretch your budget is becoming increasingly important. Here are a few grocery store savings hacks for smart shoppers.
1. Plan your meals ahead of time, make a grocery list and stick to it.
Making a grocery list and sticking to it is the best way to just buy what you need. It helps you to avoid impulse buying. You can even put your shopping list on your phone so you don’t forget it. If you plan your meals ahead of time you will be sure to get all of the items you need and not have to make extra trips to the store.
Our Freezer Cooking Meal Plans are perfect for getting your freezer stocked with meals you can make in minutes! Each meal plan includes Full Shopping Lists, Recipes and Assembly Instructions… Everything you need to get started without the stress!
2. Eat before you go grocery shopping.
Eating before you go grocery shopping just makes it a lot easier to focus and not buy more than you plan on. Everything looks good and tasty when you are hungry. It is easy to buy things you didn’t intend on when your stomach is taking the lead.
3. Compare Unit Prices not Item Prices
A common myth is that “Bigger is cheaper” We are conditioned to buy in bulk and we think that means wholesale pricing but that may or may not always be the lowest priceÂ so it’s a good idea to break items down into a common denominator (Ounces, Each, Rolls, etc.) So that you can compare the unit price to see if it’s cheaper to buy one large item or 2 of a smaller item.
Our Stockpiling Price List has all of the breakdowns by unit price already calculated for you so that you can quickly identify a good deal.
4. Shop the Outside of the Store
The perimeter of a grocery store typically has the most healthy items and also the items you actually need, the center of the store contains more processed “Shelf Stable” Ingredients which are typically budget busters.Â Skip the inside of the store aisles when possible to avoid paying for convenience.
5. Package your own Portions
So many items in the grocery stores these days are packaged for convenience. Everything from Guacamole to Apples, Grapes, and Cookies are packaged into smaller packages, but often those smaller packages have a higher price tag. Try comparing the price of a Package of Cookies ($2.50 at my store) to the price of individual cookie bags ($4.97 for a smaller amount) Just by packaging your own individual bags you can save almost 50%.
6. LookÂ for Store Brands on Organic Items
One of the things I have found lately is that a lot of stores are offering their own brands of organic products. That means you can get great quality prices on high quality products. These store brands of organics are often 30-50% Cheaper than the name brand items and you still get great quality!
One great example is the Wild Oats Brand of organic items at Walmart or the Simply nature Brand at Aldi.
7. Use the free smartphone apps.
There are many smartphone apps that will help you save money at the grocery store. There are apps with coupons to use in the stores and apps that will give you money back for scanning items and your receipt. It’s a little extra effort that can actually make a big difference in your budget.
Here are 3 of my favorite apps:
8. Don’t buy more than you will use.
It is tempting to buy a lot when you’re at the grocery store so you don’t have to shop again soon. If you buy more than you are going to use, the items can go bad or expire wasting a lot of money over time. There is nothing more annoying than having to toss out fruits or veggies because it went bad before it was eaten.
9. Freeze any extra food items that you aren’t going to use right away.
If you do have items that you aren’t going to use really right away freeze it. It may be a good investment to buy a vacuum sealer to store food longer without it going bad. It really does save you from throwing money away.
10. Don’t forget to check the expiration date of items before you buy it.
Don’t just pick up the first item on the shelf. If you check the expiration dates the items in the back are usually the fresher items. This is especially helpful with milk or eggs. Grocery stores stock items by rotating the stock and putting the newer items in the back.
11. Find a good butcher shop to buy meat, buy in bulk and separate before you freeze it.
Buy your meat in bulk and separating it in freezer bags can save you a lot of money in the long run. Don’t forget to write what is in the bag and the date. It is much easier to grab the right meat you wanted to make if it is written on the back. You can even put marinate in the bag with the meat before freezing, and save yourself an extra step later.
Our local Natural Grocery Store offers discounts on meat on Tuesdays, that’s a great day to call ahead and place your order so you can take advantage of mark downs and sales on good quality at a lower price.
12. Don’t forget to write the date on items you store in your refrigerator or freezer.
Writing the date on items like leftovers takes the guess work out of eating or tossing it. It is generally safe to eat food up to 3 days after refrigeration, just be sure to heat completely before eating. Food-borne illness can be severe if the item has been in the refrigerator too long or isn’t heated to the right temperature.
13. Don’t be afraid to ask for a rain check.
If the item you want that’s on sale is out of stock, ask for a rain check. Don’t forget to use the rain check when the item is back in stock and before it expires. It defeats the purpose of asking if you just shove it in the glove box and forget it’s there until you clean the car.
14. Store your ice cream in a freezer bag before you store in the freezer.
If you store your ice cream in a freezer bag before it’s frozen it will not get extremely hard. This makes it much easier to scoop out and not bend your spoons in the process. Plus, it will keep it fresh longer and help prevent freezer burn, if it lasts that long without being eaten.
15. Leave the kids at home.
If you leave the kids at home and shop alone you are much less likely to buy items, not on your list. It is easier to get in and out without distraction and giving in to your kids asking for junk food and candy.
Whether you are a single person or shopping for your family of six saving money is just smart. Learning ways to get the best deals and learning how to make your budget stretch is so important in today’s economy. Buying healthy food doesn’t have to be overly expensive if you shop smart.