Grocery forms a big part of our monthly budget.
That’s the place where you gonna save or lose money.
In case you have kids, the budget might inflate a bit because kids have different taste and liking for food than the adults. According to various reports, food is among the five largest home expenses across the world.
Therefore, it becomes necessary that we plan the grocery expense through various strategies that help us save money, but without any compromise on the essential items. There are actually tips how to save money on groceries.
Let me talk about it.
1. Track the inventor
Every month, track how many essential items are left in the current month that can be rolled over to the next month, and what all you need to buy. We all have a list of important monthly items, but some of us blindly buy all the items on the roster every month.
This is a bad practice if you are looking to cut down your expenses on the grocery.
Make sure that items are only replenished when the old inventory is utilized completely. Impulsive buying is not a good idea if you want to bring down grocery expenses. Some of us hardly consult the list once we reach the store, and indulge in reckless buying only to realize that the item is not even needed.
2. Match the Price
Before buying an item from a grocery store, it is imperative to compare the prices of same item at different local stores. Packaged items might be more or less same at all the stores, but if a large part of your consumption consists of loose items, then there can be a huge price difference at different stores.
It is common to buy groceries from a nearby shop to save the effort and escape the long queues for billing. However, local shopkeepers could take benefit of your reluctance, and sell at higher prices. Make sure that you buy the items from nearby shop only if it is economical compared to buying from other departmental stores.
3. Do not shop hungry
This is my personal favorite.
It might sound a waste advice because connection between going hungry and buying grocery makes no sense for most of us. However, there is a connection if you think a little bit.
When you are hungry while shopping, you will buy the items such as wafers, noodles, ready to eat item and a lot of stuff that will cross your mind at that point of time.
Often you don’t even realize this while waiting at the billing counter, and it only rings when you have finally reached home and got yourself something to eat.
Well, as weird it may sound, the truth is that shopping for edible items hungry, shuns our capacity to act rational, and we often pile up items that are not even necessary.
4. Track the average price
This is pretty much the continuation of the previous point, but still a pretty good strategy to follow.
Ideally, before matching the price you should know the average price of the food item. This helps you to gauge if an item at a particular shop is available above the average price or below it. This will also help you in finding good deals on different items and save the monthly cost drastically.
5. Go for bulk buying but know the unit price
Often you come across the items that are available in bulk packing. Usually, bulk packages save a lot of costs compared to unit buying, but you should be aware of per unit price to compare how much you saved on bulk purchase compared to unit purchase.
There are food items that can be easily preserved for next 2-3 months. Therefore, there is no harm in buying it in bulk to save the cost. Sometimes, a particular brand offers in bulk package while the other brand item is available only in units. Knowing the unit price of the items, will help you find the better one.
6. Do not skip the sale
You are running out of monthly grocery, and there is still some time left for sale. What are you going to do now? Will you replenish the stock because it is urgent or you are going to wait for the sale?
Well, what you can do is buy very necessary items in a very limited quantity that is sufficient to last until the sale. Then during the sale, you can buy items in bulk that can also last for another month or two.
Buy those items in bulk that can be stored for 2-3 months and are also an important item for the daily use. You will not be able to buy perishable items in large quantity and therefore you will have to incur the cost every month. Therefore, in order to save the cost every month, the best option would be to stack items, which are non-perishable and available on sale.
7. Match the ingredients
Some of us, have a tendency to go for the products that are priced higher than the other similar products. Customers often gravitate towards the brands that are more visible, popular and whose advertisements are frequently shown on the TV. However, the better way to choose the best product out of various brands should be going through the ingredients printed on the package.
You will often find that the more preferable brands are made of same ingredients compared to other brands. Surprisingly, checking the ingredient and going for the lower price and same ingredient product will drastically bring down your total grocery expense.
8. Use the coupon wisely
So you collected coupons after shopping from the same store, but it is also important to use the coupons wisely. When we have coupons, often we do the mistake of using it to buy things that are not even on our grocery list.
Our needs go a little flexible when there is an option to buy goods for free or at a huge discount. A lot of discipline is needed to be in charge of expenses, and use a coupon to buy the groceries that are on the list.
Usually, it is observed that discounts and coupons are wasted on buying junk or processed food. This not only doubles the expense instead of reducing it, but also weighs heavily on our pocket. Therefore, if for some reason you cannot let go the temptation of buying junk food, then it is better to buy with cash. This way you will limit the purchase, and also use the coupon to buy necessary items.
9. Keep an eye on the billing screen
Often while buying the items, we do not check the prices and just dump it in the trolley.
However, when the cashier starts ringing up the purchases, it might exceed the budget. In such a case, make sure that you pick out the goods that are not as necessary as others. Try to differentiate between the important and not so important items.
Items that you have just dropped in your trolley without giving a second thought should be taken out first. This will reduce the cost of total purchase significantly and will not burn a hole in your pocket.
10. Right time for Bonsai
One of the best ways to cut on the grocery expense every month is going Bonsai way.
For those who are still not aware of this spectacular idea through which you can ensure healthy food as well as save cost should gain knowledge about this and plan to get some Bonsai today itself. More than saving the cost, Bonsai gives you the contentment that you have gone for the healthy food rather than paying a high cost for the adulterated and lower quality goods. Having basic vegetables and fruits grown at home also helps you save the cost of going up to the store and burning fuel.
11. Do not be obsessed with eating out
Often we see youngsters arguing that they don’t have energy left to cook after doing 9 to 5 jobs.
This is true to some extent, and there is no denying that human body has a certain capacity beyond which it cannot be dragged to work. However, the tendency of going out and eating on the weekends has increased enormously.
This is strange, taking the fact into consideration that multinationals usually keep two days off for the employees.
The thought process should actually be other way round where you should try to cook food at home on the weekend since we all somehow eat unhealthy food on the weekday in office, school and colleges. This will not only keep a check on bad eating habits, but also save big on your pocket.
12. Right time to go dieting
You are looking to trim down grocery bills for quite some time now, but unable to do it. More disappointing is the fact that you are going nowhere even with your weight loss resolution. Well, this could be the best opportunity for you to cut down both, your grocery bill as well as that extra pound that has kept you bothering from quite some time now.
Go for a complete detox diet for a week. This will not only cleanse the body and retain the healthy metabolism, but also drastically bring down the grocery cost as for a week at least major food items will be shunned from your diet.
13. The art of storing
If you have bought the perishable or non perishable item that can be continued beyond one month, then most important aspect is to save that food to use it in the future.
Often, we do not know how to store or preserve a particular item that has been bought in excess. Maybe this is the first time that you bought a particular item in excess, and now you are struggling to decide what should be done with the extra grocery.
Well, it is important to know different items that need to be stored at a different temperature. Make sure that you have stored the extra grocery in an appropriate way that can be used when needed.
14. Make at home
You must be aware of harmful preservatives and colors that are added to juices, jams and various other products of daily use. However, these things form important part of day to day diet either in breakfast or in some other way. Therefore, you cannot afford to avoid such items.
What you can do is, try some recipes of Jam, sauces, peanut butter and so on that will cut the grocery expense, and will also be many times healthier than something bought from the market.
Fruit juice can easily be prepared at home, and therefore, there is no point in having the sugar and preservative loaded juice available in the market.
15. Time to quit wasting food
There are some who like to eat freshly cooked food and cannot stand the leftover from another meal. Well, without you even noticing, this adds substantial cost to monthly grocery expense. Instead of wasting the food, you can check out various creative recipes of making tasty dishes from the leftovers, and utilize the food instead of wasting it.
16. Don’t pile up the canned foods
Make sure that before buying a new can you don’t have any left at home. Often, we bring and pile up the stock and do not care to check how much is left. Therefore, it is important to make certain that the new can is only brought in the house after the one already being used is over or near to that.
17. Utilize membership card points
Some of you might be going to same departmental store for years now, but never cared for getting a membership card thinking that it is just a waste of time.
Well, these departmental stores give a lot of benefit to the loyal customers, offering points with every purchase that is added to the membership card. These points can be redeemed on certain amount of purchase, reducing the total amount considerably. Therefore, do not close your eyes to discounts that these membership cards can give you.
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18. Discover the discount shelf in the store
Often the store operators keep an area or shelf that has items due for clearance. Make sure that you check that area before buying. This clearance sale might be for various reasons such as low popularity for a particular product or brand and so on.
However, you might get something useful from the clearance part at a discount.
19. Opt for online grocery apps
This is a relatively new concept, and some of us may be reluctant to buy groceries and eatables without having a close look at it. Well, while buying vegetables and fruits, we make sure that every unit is fresh, and therefore, shopping online does not seem to be a very good idea with some of us.
However, many reputed online grocery shops offer the best products, fruits, breads, vegetables and other items.
There are various benefits of buying products from online grocery store. First, you save the cost of going up to the departmental store, thus saving big on fuel. Secondly, it has been found that in order to expand sales, online grocery shops offer more frequent discounts compared to the brick and mortar stores. Therefore, you are saving a lot of cost by going online and buying the grocery items.
20. Have you done the ‘Rain’ check?
Do you know what rain checking is?
or those who do not know about it, rain check is usually a slip given to you by the shopkeeper. That can be used by you to buy an item for the same discounted price for which it was available before. There might be some products on discount that got over before you could buy it. You can simply ask the shopkeeper to give you the rain check slip, so that you can buy the product at the discounted price once it is replenished.
21. Directly deal with a local farmer
For some daily use items like dairy and meat, you can search Craigslist for a farmer in your area. You can get the items at a discounted price from them, if you buy them regularly. For those, who can’t find a farmer, can try at the farmer’s market.
22. Do not go with the family
Go anywhere with family on weekends but not for buying groceries, especially if you have kids. You will notice that going with family will surprisingly inflate the budget.
The reason is that you tend to do a lot of unnecessary shopping that is not even on the list of monthly grocery. Your kids will surely demand for unnecessary things such as chocolates, candies, noodles and so on, even when you have already bought these items in limited quantity.
Make sure that while going for buying monthly or weekly groceries, your kids stay at home.
These are some tips that could help you save cost on buying groceries in a way that do not make you compromise on the necessary items, and at the same time weed out items that unnecessarily inflate the total monthly grocery budget. You will be surprised to know that by using some of these tips, you can get your bills down by about 25%.