Whether you’re cooking for one or feeding a family of five, groceries are most likely one of your biggest regular costs. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that food is the third-largest household expense. However, by employing a few cost-saving tricks, you can dramatically reduce your expenditures on food. Read on to learn some of the easiest ways to save money on groceries.
Sign up for a loyalty program. Most major grocery stories have loyalty programs that offer great promotions to members. Join the loyalty program of an affordable local grocery store and stick with it; If you stick with one store, you’ll get familiar with their regular promotions and make a habit of shopping when you can save.
Avoid shopping with friends. A study by the Marketing Science Institute showed that when consumers shopped in groups, 65% of the items in their shopping carts were unplanned. Since you’re more likely to impulse by when you shop with friends, go it alone.
Use the self-checkout line. Checkout aisles are strategically merchandised with hard-to-resist (and unhealthy) last-minute buys like candy, sugary sodas, and tabloids that you most certainly don’t need. For this reason, use the self-checkout aisle, where impulse buys are less likely and wait times are typically shorter.
Chop it yourself. Single-serving food, prepacked, and pre-sliced food sees some of the highest markups in the grocery store. Save yourself a pretty penny by slicing that apple yourself. Avoid bags of mini carrots for your kids; Instead, buy whole carrots and chop them into smaller bite sizes. It may be more time-consuming, but it’s an easy way to save if time is not a priority.
Use a shopping list. Following a shopping list is one of the most effective ways to shop on groceries. If you come in with a plan and buy only what you need, you’re guaranteed to save more than if you leave yourself susceptible to impulse buys.
Get acquainted with the store. If you know the layout of your local store, you can run in and out, going only to the aisles where the items on your shopping list are located. On the contrary, if you wander aisles unsure of where you need to go to pick up what you need, you’re more likely to add unnecessary items to your cart.
Subscribe and save. Most of us can name a few products that we go through at a regular frequency, whether that’s toothpaste or dog food. Take an inventory of your go-to everyday products, and see what you use regularly. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program offers your family extra savings on those products you consume regularly, and you can save up to 28% on each delivery of hint water if you subscribe.
Get into meal planning. You’re not alone if you find yourself throwing out leftovers often; Food waste is a major problem in America. Planning your meals is one of the smartest ways to combat this guilt-inducing habit and save money while you’re at it. Stretch your dollar by looking at the week ahead each Sunday night and figuring out how you can make the most of every ingredient you buy.
Buy in-season produce. Fruits and vegetables that are in-season are generally more affordable. Plan your meals around produce that’s at its peak, and your meals will not only be cheaper, but they’ll taste better, too.
Any other cost-saving tips to share for grocery shopping? Tell us in the comments.