Grocery bills can be pretty shocking. When you get your total at the register, it's easy to wonder how you managed to spend that much. Grocery stores are designed to get you to shell out as much money as they can, so don't feel too bad. Here are some tips on how you can win at the supermarket.
1. Plan Your Trips
It helps if you don't go to the grocery store very often. Instead of running in and out every few days, plan for only a few large trips per month. To do this, it helps to plan out your menu in advance and shop accordingly.
2. Skimp on breakfast and lunch.
Breakfasts don't have to be fancy. You can buy bulk cereal and instant oatmeal and have a satisfying morning meal without adding much to your grocery tab. For lunch, do simple soups or sandwiches and save most of the budget for dinner items.
3. Don't waste food.
Leftovers are your friend and make perfect lunches to bring to work or eat at home. Make a true effort to use all the food you buy, both by using it before it goes bad, and eating up anything that is left over.
4. Toss it in a salad.
A great way to use up small amounts of food is by throwing it in a salad. You can use up leftover chopped vegetables from the week like onions, or throw in diced up leftover chicken. Making salads are a healthy way to save on groceries.
5. Keep meals simple.
It's fine to splurge once and awhile, but in order to save at the grocery store it's important to keep it simple. Plan your meals with fewer ingredients which make them less expensive.
6. Don't be tempted by sales.
It's easy to scoop up things you see on sale and think you're saving money. However, if you're spending on items that you don't normally buy or aren't on your list, you're actually adding to your bill. Don't be tempted by sales and add items that you don't really need.
7. Look up and down.
There is a grocery store marketing strategy that puts the most expensive items at eye level to make you more likely to buy. Make a habit of looking up at the top shelves and down at the lowest shelves to find the best deals.
8. Consider alternatives.
One way to save money at the grocery store is by never entering it at all. This can be accomplished through online grocery services like Peapod, or through pick up at your local store. Delivery or pick up completely eliminate impulse buys, and can make it much easier to shop on a budget. You will always be able to see your total, and you can shop from specials and plan meals accordingly.
9. Eat less meat.
Meat is usually the most expensive item in your cart. If you can plan meals with less meat, or go vegetarian several times a week, you will see your grocery bill go down significantly. Check online for delicious meatless recipes that save you money.
10. Make a list.
The last, golden rule of saving money at the grocery store is to come with a list. Nothing will make your bill add up faster than a bunch of impulse purchases or unplanned items in your cart. Make a detailed list and stick to it every time you enter the store.
These are just a few of the ways you can save money on your next shopping trip. Keep up these habits and soon you'll find it much easier to stick to you your food budget.