Groceries are a necessity of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money on them. Unfortunately, it can be quite easy to go over-budget on your food budget, but on the other hand, it can be quite easy to take a smarter approach to your grocery shopping. Before you head out to the supermarket again, take stock of these money-saving tips.
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Plan for Only the Necessities
We’re all guilty of sometimes buying things simply because it looks tasty or interesting. But if you’re letting this get in the way of having an air-tight budget, it’s time to get rid of the superfluous purchases. The first area you can try cutting down is junk food. Not only is it bad for your health, but you can also do a lot better financially by cooking your own food. While you may trade in time and effort, you wallet will thank you.
Stick to a Shopping List
One big problem you can face when going grocery shopping is undefined expectations about what you should be buying. While you may have cut out the unneeded expenses, there’s still a chance you will buy too much of something or you might stray for your necessities and buy something unneeded. Before you head out to the store, make a shopping list for whatever you’ll need for that week. You’ll be less likely to buy frivolous items, which will help you stay on budget and keep food from going to waste at home.
There are quite a few external ways you can save on your grocery bill. You should be familiar with coupons, but you might be under the impression that they don’t save you that much money. However, if you do a little planning in advance, you can save tons at the checkout counter. Look in your local newspaper or online to find deals at your supermarket. In addition, consider joining a loyalty program if your supermarket allows one, or see if your credit card company offers points back for purchases. Every little bit counts, and over time, you could see substantial savings.
Be Efficient in Your Spending
Quite obviously, you can lower your costs by purchasing inexpensive foods. Thankfully, supermarkets usually make it quite easy to figure out what the most cost-effective foods are. Many price tags will include a price-per-volume figure, indicating how much you’re paying per ounce. Even if your supermarket doesn’t give this information, you can still easily figure it out for yourself by dividing the cost of the product by its volume. Buying the cheaper products will save you money immediately and especially so in the long run. Keep in mind that many of the lower-cost foods are just as good as their more expensive counterparts, with a few exceptions, so it will be up to you as to what you want to spend the extra money on.
Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
One of the worst things you can do when you go grocery shopping is go on an empty stomach. If you’re at the store and you’re hungry, there’s a greater chance that you’ll buy more food. In fact, studies have shown that your hunger-induced purchased may not even be food-related; hungry shoppers are more likely to spend regardless of whether it’s food or not. So, have a snack before heading out to the store.
Have a Plan of Attack
If you have a shopping list, you’ll know exactly what you need to get. You should be familiar with your supermarket’s layout, so before heading in, promise yourself to stay the course and not get sidetracked. If you make a beeline for the exact spots you know you’ll need to hit, you’ll be less likely to spend money on unrelated purchases. Plus, the quicker you get in and get your shopping done, the sooner you get home.