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Groceries are one of the most essential types of shopping. Though most people treat them like any other chore during the day, your grocery bill can be one of the biggest monthly expenses. But if you pay more attention and spend time planning it, you can save considerable money each month.
Let’s look at how to save money on the grocery bill with intelligent strategies.
Start with a Budget
15 Desperate Measures to Drastically Reduce Grocery Expenses and Tighten Your Budget
- Start with a Budget
- Meal Planning Helps
- You Need a Grocery List
- Look Out for Sales
- Be Sure to Have a Full Belly When Shopping
- Bulk Buy Can Help
- A Farmer’s Market Visit is Useful
- Online Shopping Can Help Save Money
- Say No to Boxed Dinner
- Big Brands Don’t Taste Better Than Store Ones (Usually)
- Check if Your Store Has a Loyalty Plan
- Look Beyond the Eye Level for Shopping
- Your Freezer Can Be Your Best Friend
- Avoid Unnecessary Items on Sale
- Never Forget Coupons
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When making a monthly budget, set aside a predetermined percentage for groceries. Based on your income level and inflation, it could be anywhere between 15% and 60%, but the lower, the better. Excellent, you know the budget; you will minimize the risk of overspending.
Meal Planning Helps
Your grocery depends on the amount of food you need during the month. If you prepare your meals, you probably need more groceries and spend less on dining out.
Ideally, it would help if you get meal planning done every week. You can do it monthly, but that requires too much discipline. Essentially, mix different types of meals to avoid the feeling of getting bored. An occasional meal from fast food is also a good idea to stay on track in the long run.
You Need a Grocery List
Make your grocery list beforehand, and do not buy items on hunches. If you’re yet to make a complete list, expect to overspend significantly more than the budget. Unless there is something on too good an offer or rare to find, and you’re getting a great deal, do not deviate from the list.
Look Out for Sales
Looking out for sales is an important step you need to take before grocery shopping. You should buy groceries in one place, but there can be exceptions to this. Look for deals at stores near your house so that you don’t have to spend extra time and gas.
I used to buy groceries from a local retail giant. However, I bought milk from a much smaller store next door on Tuesdays as they sold it a dollar less per gallon.
Be Sure to Have a Full Belly When Shopping
Grocery stores are full of very tempting foods. Shopping on an empty stomach will most certainly lead to extra expenses, as you are more likely to stop at their deli to catch a burger and spend more on comfort foods you do not need.
Before you leave for grocery shopping, ensure you’re well hydrated and fill your stomach. Make a chicken and cheese sandwich or anything that will lower your appetite.
Bulk Buy Can Help
There are plenty of bulk buying offers around which you can benefit from time to time. Just be sure that the product you’re buying is used enough. It makes sense if you get four boxes of detergent for clothing instead of two. However, you probably want to avoid a few cartons of carbohydrate-filled snacks just because they were on sale.
A Farmer’s Market Visit is Useful
A farmer’s market may be a good idea if you like getting lots of veggies and fruits. You can get plenty of variety on both items and also save some money in the process. Organic product prices are typically much lower than the supermarket.
Another significant benefit is the produce is local and fresh. It is also usually free from unwanted pesticides and preservatives.
Online Shopping Can Help Save Money
If you can find good deals online for some or all of the grocery products, ordering online is a great idea. Just ensure the service is reliable and their delivery charges do not exceed the savings on the price and the gasoline.
You may want to order during the day for same-day deliveries since some companies will offer rush deliveries. The later in the day it is, the more they charge for their service and eat into your savings.
Say No to Boxed Dinner
Sometimes buying a boxed dinner is a quick fix, especially if your work schedule is burdensome. However, these dinner boxes have some of the least tasty food, often filled with preservatives that are bad for your health.
You can make three such meals at home for the price of one. Besides, you will also be satisfied knowing your food is without preservatives and cooked in a hygienic family environment.
Big Brands Don’t Taste Better Than Store Ones (Usually)
Many brands offer the same or similar products inside a grocery store. A big cereal brand may not necessarily be better; they may have more money to advertise on TV. Try out the taste individually and pick the foods you enjoy more.
Some of these will come from the better-known brands, but you may also be surprised by lesser-known brands. Besides, they can help you save a noticeable amount on your grocery bill.
Check if Your Store Has a Loyalty Plan
If your store has a loyalty plan and it is beneficial, do not waste time filling out the form. You can save several hundred dollars a year simply with access to the lowest prices and in-store coupons.
Several stores have made a killing by offering such a program. They’re known only because of their specials through these programs.
Look Beyond the Eye Level for Shopping
Most grocery stores place their favorite items to sell on the eye-line level. These are generally well-known brands with the highest prices. The cheaper ones are either above or below this shelf.
Just be sure to examine the entire shelves and find the best products. A store-made brand will usually be as good as the well-known retail one in taste but usually has a much lower price.
Your Freezer Can Be Your Best Friend
If you get a decent deal on meats and other perishable goods, you can buy them in bulk and store them in a freezer. However, if you do not have one, you should invest in at least a medium sizes one.
A freezer can help save you a considerable amount of money every month when you shop for groceries. You can also opt for a used freezer if you want to save money.
Avoid Unnecessary Items on Sale
There are lots of products on sale when you go for groceries. Just be sure to avoid the on-sale items you do not need. Often, stores are trying to get rid of things that will otherwise not sell or are close to their expiry dates. If you need something being sold on a super sale, be sure that there is nothing wrong with it before buying.
Never Forget Coupons
Coupons can be a significant source of savings. Over the years, they have taken different shapes, and you do not necessarily have to present a printed coupon. You can have them in a digital format. You can also get special discounts from third-party partner websites besides stores and manufacturers. A few dollars of savings every time can add up to valuable savings over a year.
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