I try and check Mint regularly, and am constantly surprised but how much we’re spending on groceries. I don’t think we eat such extravagant meals at home, but each month, I’m shocked by our grocery bill. Sure, some of that is a result of not eating out frequently, but we can probably do a better job of controlling our costs.
Most people don’t realize just how much they spend at the grocery store. When their shelves are bare, they simply drive to the nearest grocery store and stock up on whatever looks appetizing. But as you’ve probably already guessed, this is bad for your wallet. By taking a more methodical approach to the matter, you can save a minimum of $50 per week on groceries. Here are some great tips that will help get you on the savings track:
Create a List
It might not be fun, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re the “spontaneous spending” type. Basically, just plan out your meals from Sunday to Saturday. Create daily meals plans that are healthy and that won’t break the bank. Next time you’re feeling hungry, you’ll cook what’s on your list rather than order a pizza. Plus, you won’t need to waste time or money going back to the grocery store since you would have already purchased everything you needed on one trip.
Do You Like Fruits and Vegetables? Try Purchasing Them In-Season
Most of us want to eat healthy, but fresh produce can be expensive, which discourages us from ever trying. Fortunately, there’s a solution: try purchasing fruits and vegetables that are in-season. For example, during the months of November and December, pears will be much less expensive (since they’re in-season) compared to other produce. Take advantage of what’s cheapest year-round!
Shop at Budget-Friendly Stores
Places like The Fresh Market or Whole Foods can easily consume an entire week’s paycheck in one shopping session. To avoid this, try shopping at stores that are more budget-friendly. Places like Trader Joe’s and tradition supermarkets are well known for their everyday low prices.
You can even find attractive prices on certain food items at your local dollar store (spices in particular can be found quite cheaply at dollar stores). At most supermarkets, spices can easily cost several dollars each. At a dollar store, well, you know the drill. Take a trip to the dollar store one day. You’ll be amazed at how much stuff they sell for just a buck.
Avoid Pre-Cut or Prepared Items
Foods that already come prepared or prepackaged can be major time savers, but they also tend to be quite expensive. For example, you can purchase the ingredients for a pizza individually for less than the cost of buying a pre-made pizza. And you will probably have enough to cook multiple pizzas! Whenever possible, purchase basic ingredients for the meals of your choice rather than purchasing the frozen or prepackaged alternative. Your food will be healthier, and those ingredients will come in handy later, too.
Final Piece of Advice
Always watch your items as they’re getting scanned. Sometimes products get rung up more than once accidentally, and sometimes they don’t ring up properly. By watching everything as it gets scanned, you’ll be able to immediately notify the cashier if you get charged too much for an item. Arriving home only to make this realization means that you’ll need to get back in your car and correct the mistake (which requires gas and time), and sometimes may not even be worth it. It’s just one more tool in your belt to help you save $50+ per week on your grocery bill.