If you are trying to stick to a budget, you have to control how much you spend on groceries. It is one of the largest areas where we spend money each month and if you are not careful it has the potential to break your budget by hundreds of dollars. Want to stay on track and cut your grocery bill in half? Here are ten tips to help you do just that.
1. Plan ahead
When you go to the grocery store, if you have not planned ahead of time, it can be easy to buy more than you need. Sit at the kitchen table and write down what you need for the month. You could also use a meal planning app to help you figure out what meals you need to plan for each week.
This way you don’t buy more than you need and you can have peace of mind that all of the food needs will be covered.
2. Use store coupons
Sometimes stores will have an insert in the Sunday paper with coupons that are specific to their store. This can be a great way to save money if you shop at that particular store AND the items are on your list for that week. Here is a little-known fact: did you know that you can get Sunday newspaper for $1 at certain dollar stores like Dollar Tree? Find out other places to get coupons here.
3. Use manufacturer coupons
Certain grocery stores don’t have store coupons, however, they do take manufacturer coupons. Not only can you also find these in the Sunday paper but you can also print coupons for free at websites like Coupons.com. Some stores will even go to the extent of making all manufacturer coupons $1. So, if you have a coupon for 10 cents off, you can actually get a $1 off instead. Not too shabby, right?
You can also consider using multiple coupon apps right on your smartphone if you don’t want to clip coupons.
4. Shop around
Comparing the advertisements from different stores can be a sure way to find the best deals around. I am not a big fan of driving to multiple grocery stores, however, if it can save you $10-$20 then it might be worth it. You want to be sure to keep in mind the cost of gas when driving around to different grocery stores.
With gas at 3.56 per gallon, it might not make sense to drive all over town.
5. Price match ads from another store
Certain grocery stores even take it one step further. They not only take coupons from other stores but they also price match ads from other grocery stores. This can take some work on the front end to do the research, but it can save you a ton of money over the long haul.
6. Take inventory of what you already have
Have you ever gone to the grocery store to buy an item only to return home and realize that you already have that particular item? If so, try using a Food Inventory List. This way you know what you have at all times and are able to keep from buying items that you already own.
7. Buy store brands
I know that it can be tough to sacrifice name brands from personal experience. However, it can be crucial in order to stick to your budget at times. If you are getting toward the end of the month and you don’t have much money left for groceries, then consider getting the store brand instead of the name brand.
For instance, I made the switch with my oatmeal; it is about $2 cheaper and I cannot even tell the difference when it comes to taste.
8. Browse the “about to expire” rack
Many stores will have a special rack dedicated to items that are about to expire. If you have not seen this rack before, ask a store associate where it is located. Often times items will be 50% off and this can be a budget saver when you are cutting it close.
9. Buy groceries in bulk
First I want to mention, don’t buy in bulk just because it is a great deal. You have to make sure that you are going to eventually use the product before it expires. For example, Costco will sell two gallons of milk that are attached and it is a better deal than just buying one.
However, if you can’t finish two gallons of milk before the expiration date, then don’t buy it in bulk. It is best to buy items in bulk that you use on a regular basis AND that have a long shelf life.
10. Create a grocery list and stick to it
It can be easy to buy things that you don’t need when you don’t have a list of what you need. Consider having a written list or use an app for your phone like Out of Milk. Then make a commitment to your spouse that you will not buy anything that is not written on the list.
This can be a great way to keep yourself from overspending, however, it does take self-discipline.
Do you have any additional shopping tips that you use to cut your grocery bill?