If the pandemic has led you to cook more at home more than ever before, you may be wondering how to save money on groceries. Frequent cooking paired with higher prices on some food items can really take a toll on your budget.
With a bit of planning and creativity, you can slash your grocery bill and reduce your overall expenses. Here are eight ways to save money on groceries.
1. Have a plan
When you plan your meals for the week, you’re more likely to only buy the items that you’re going to eat. Go to the grocery store with a list of what you intend to cook for the week to avoid overspending.
“Even better is to meal plan around your grocery store’s weekly deals,” says Betty Wang, CFP, founder and president at BW Financial Planning.
2. Always shop alone
Impulse buying can be one of the most costly habits at the grocery store. If you’re shopping with a partner or children, the temptation to buy something on a whim is likely to escalate very quickly.
“Shop alone whenever possible so that others don’t convince you to throw extra, unnecessary items in your cart,” says Jeff Rose, founder of Good Financial Cents.
3. Shop the quietest days of the week
Crowds can have a negative impact on your grocery budget. Here’s why: When you’re in a crowded store, it’ll naturally take longer for you to complete your shopping trip. The longer you’re in the store, the greater the chance that you’ll purchase an item that wasn’t part of the plan.
“When in a quiet store, it’s much easier to navigate the aisles, pick up the items on your list, and leave with your budget still intact,” Rose says.
4. Swap ground beef for ground turkey
Since ground beef is pricey these days, consider substituting ground turkey for any recipe that calls for ground beef.
“Ground turkey is far more affordable and there is little difference in taste,” says Cyrus Vanover, founder of Frugal Budgeter. “Many people wouldn’t even notice you’re using ground turkey unless you tell them.”
5. Be open to generic products
There’s no denying that brand-name products are more expensive than their generic counterparts. While saving an extra two or three dollars may not seem like much, saving a few extra bucks on 20 items can really add up.
“You’ll find that generic or store brand products are available at all grocery stores for a fraction of the price and taste just as good if not better,” says Karen Ford, a Master Financial Coach at KBF Money Managing.
6. Avoid buying hygiene products at the grocery store
Many people buy household products at the grocery store without realizing how much they’re overpaying for those items.
“You can buy toiletries and hygiene products at dollar stores or discount stores and save big,” Ford says.
7. Drive to a smaller town
If you live in a large city or suburb, go to a smaller town to do your grocery shopping. While groceries tend to be more accessible in large cities, small towns often offer items for less.
“Since small towns tend to have lower real estate prices, lower salaries and lower taxes, groceries almost always have more appealing prices,” says Baruch Silverman, founder of The Smart Investor.
8. Allow the more frugal partner to do the shopping
In most households, there is one partner who is more frugal than the other. When it comes to grocery shopping, this can be a huge perk.
“Task the most frugal spouse with grocery shopping as [he or she] will be less likely to make impulse purchases and have an easier time bypassing the fancy labels to find the best bargains,” Rose says.
No matter how big or small your household is, these tips will help you save money on groceries. With a lower grocery bill, you’ll have more cash to put toward your emergency fund, retirement fund, college and other financial goals.
Featured image by Rrrainbow of Shutterstock.