5 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill
No matter how much you trim the extras out of your budget, there’s one category you can never cut out altogether: food. We all need to eat, but it is possible to stretch your grocery budget and do more with less when it comes to shopping for food. Of course, we all know not to go shopping when hungry and to make a shopping list and stick to it. But there’s so much more you can do to cut your grocery bill. See how many of these ideas you’ll want to try:
Be Flexible — Making a shopping list is a tried-and-true trick to saving money on groceries. But within that list, you’ll want to build in some flexibility to find the most savings. For example, if milk is on your list, but not on sale, check out the non-dairy alternatives that might be, such as soy, almond or coconut beverages. Or if you need cereal, but your preferred brand is at full price, look to generic versions or stock up on the varieties that are on sale. Your favorite will come up in the sale rotation before you know it and in the meantime, you might find something you like even better.
Take Care with Coupons — There’s no doubt using coupons can help you save on groceries, but you must use them wisely. Buying something you weren’t planning on buying just because you have a coupon doesn’t really save you anything. Also be careful about using coupons to over-buy. Stockpiling items purchased on sale with coupons might seem like a money-saving move, but unless you know without a doubt you’ll use it all before it goes bad, you could end up throwing food away and wasting money in the process. Also, be aware of coupon fraud and how to avoid it.
Buy In-Season Produce — Thanks to the miracles of modern transportation, you can get just about every type of fruit or vegetable year ‘round. But, you’ll save the most—and enjoy the best flavor—when you buy what’s currently in season. This time of year, you’ll want to load your cart with melons, berries, soft fruits like peaches and plums, plus tomatoes, corn and cucumbers. Check out this handy guide for which fruits and vegetables to focus on each season.
Consider Grocery Delivery or Pick-Up — Surprisingly, it’s possible to save money on groceries when you have someone else shop for you and deliver it to your door. At first blush, it seems like an indulgence, but services like Amazon Prime Now (delivery) or WalMart Grocery (with curbside pick-up) can help you save in a few ways. In addition to offering competitively priced groceries and weekly sales, you’ll also save time (and time is money, after all), and perhaps most importantly, you will avoid all temptation to make unplanned impulse purchases. Plus, you can take your time browsing and filling your cart online to be sure you’ll have everything you need, which will eliminate those additional last-minute shopping trips during the week.
Buy in Bulk (Sometimes) — Bulk buying is a tricky proposition. On the one hand, you almost always save money on the unit prices of items. But, if you don’t end up using up what you buy, you’re wasting food and money. A few tricks to help you save with bulk buying include: only buying what you know you and your family already use and like, knowing how to properly store food for the longest shelf life, and splitting what you buy with a friend or family member.