Budgeting can be tough, and it is sometimes hard to decide what items you need to cut back on.
With some careful planning you can find easy ways to save money, without having to deprive yourself of the things you enjoy.
According to a 2017 expense report from the Bureau of Labor, the third highest expense for households after housing and transportation is food. When looking for ways to save, a good place to start is to examine your grocery shopping habits. By taking a smarter approach you can stretch your dollar, get the food items you want, and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Here are 7 good ways to save money on your groceries:
1Create a Weekly Meal Plan
In most matters, having a plan saves time and makes the most of every situation. This also applies to meals and saving on groceries. A good way to start is to begin with a weekly meal plan. With a meal plan, you have a clear picture of what every grocery visit should achieve. You will have all the details you need to create your weekly shopping list.
Having a shopping list will reduce the number of visits you make to the grocery store. To make things easy, you can use a mobile app or produce a preprinted list of the things you buy.
2Stock Up and Buy in Bulk
For non-perishable items especially, it is usually better to buy larger sizes when available. Be sure to check the unit prices to make sure the bulk items are the better deal. This saves money and frees up your grocery budget on your next trip. Just make sure you limit bulk purchases to pantry items that have extended expiration dates.
3Take advantage of Sale Items and Deals
Another way to save is to check out weekly specials in your grocery flyer or app. These discount specials can help you stock up and save. You can find deals on canned, bagged goods and even meat products. It is important however that you check expiry dates and mark the items to be eaten first.
4Use Coupon and Cash Back Apps
Cutting coupons from the Sunday paper can be a bit tiresome, but thanks to the smartphone you do not have to do that anymore. Most grocery stores have their own apps that allow to clip digital coupons that automatically get applied to your store card.
In addition to digital coupons, there are a several good cash back apps like Checkout 51 that allow you to scan your receipts after shopping, and earn money back on select items. Compounding the digital coupons with cash back apps can add up to some real savings. So it’s worthwhile to learn more about cashback apps.
5Don’t Shy Away from ‘Best before Date’ Items
Planning a meal for the evening or next day? If so, you should take advantage of items you see in the meat department marked down for quick sale. If the sell by date is within your time frame, these items are perfectly safe and a great way to eat well on a budget.
6Do seasonal foods
Depending on where you live, there are always a vegetable or fruit for every season. During the seasons, local fruits and vegetables are plentiful and cheap, just what you need to save cost. Plan your meals around in-season foods; it is way cheaper than buying produce shipped from across the country.
7By online when it makes sense
You can also take advantage of online sources like Amazon, Sam’s Club, and Costco for non-perishable items you can buy in bulk. Sometimes you can find better deals, get more selection, and take advantage of free shipping. You can also buy your household goods like napkins, paper products, etc online and save, versus buying in smaller quantities in the supermarket. In addition, think about all the time you will save.
By having a grocery strategy, you will find that it will be easier to keep to a weekly budget. Spending a little time to plan your shopping can reap the benefits of having extra money at your disposal each week. Having that extra money each week to save can add up, and maybe help offset other expenses or put into savings.