It is easy to overspend when grocery shopping. It's probably the place where we do the most impulse shopping. So we tend to buy things we don't really need and there goes the budget. Here are some things that will help guide you when buying groceries.
Make A List
Most People have certain things they eat regularly. So making a basic menu plan should be fairly simple. You know you have to eat dinner 7 times this week. So write down 7 dinners. Think about what you need to make those things. Make a list. Look in your pantry and fridge to see what basics you are out of. It helps to keep an ongoing list inside your cupboard of things as you run out of them. Making a list will help make sure that you get everything in one trip. Statistics show that you spend more the more trips you make to the store. When you go in for one item that you are out of, and you come out with a whole lot of other things. Plan to go grocery shopping two to three times a month. Sometimes it will be necessary to shop in between trips to the grocery store. If you have a problem with impulse buying, then maybe try getting your milk and bread at a convenience store where there is less to tempt you.
Should You Buy Already Prepared Food
It is usually better to cook from scratch when you have a large family. When I cook for my family it is generally cheaper to not use prepared foods. A big pot of stew is very inexpensive to make, but to buy cans of stew can run into money. However, if the choice is between going out to eat or prepared foods, then definitely prepared is better.
When it was just me and my husband, it was probably cheaper to buy prepared foods rather than buy all the different ingredients that we would need for a smaller batch. The food almost always went bad before we could use it, because there just wasn't enough people to eat it. You can only have spaghetti for so many nights in a row.
Buy Basic Food Products
It is healthier and more cost effective to buy more basic things when shopping for groceries. Buying a bag of rice will save you money compared to a box of flavored rice. The prepared foods usually contain preservatives that are not good for your body. If you prepare the food yourself, then you can control exactly what is in it. Oatmeal is allot less expensive than instant oatmeal and it is better for you. Processing takes allot of nutrients out of food and it is quite a bit more expensive. Although, if you are not willing to take the extra time it takes to cook these foods, then this tip will not be helpful for you.
Check Adds Before You Go
Check your adds regularly. This will help you to know what is a good deal and what is not. Some stores are better to buy certain items at than others. I have a particular store that always has eggs on sale for a good price. That's the only place I will buy eggs. Grocery stores adds start on the same day every week for the most part. Planning your menus around these specials can help you save as you shop. Generally the front page of the ad has the best deals. They’re designed to get your attention and make you want to come to that store. Just because an item is in the add does not mean it's a good deal, that is why you need to check them regularly. Buying produce in season will also help you save money. If it is something you can freeze, then do so. Out of season fruits and vegetables are expensive and not good quality.
Store Discount Cards and Coupons
Many grocery stores have cards that give you a discount on certain items, especially items that are advertised in their ads at a sale price. If you don’t have a card, you’ll be charged a higher price, which is listed in the ad in tiny print beside the item’s picture. The cards are useful to shoppers. Many stores have registers that print out coupons for future purchases of items that you have bought that day if you are using the store card. The cards are easy to get; you have to fill out a sheet with some basic information at the register or customer service desk, and then just remember to use the card when you check out.
If you get the Sunday newspapers, it often includes coupons for dollars off on groceries. Most coupons are for processed foods and new products, but you can find them for many different items. You can use a coupon while an item is on sale, so you can double your savings. It does take a little organization though. If you’re on a budget, however, you could save quite a lot of money if you buy several items on sale with coupons.
Take A Calculator
How many times have you been shocked by the price at the register and wondered what did I buy? Well taking a calculator with you to shop could help you if you’re on a budget, especially if you’re an impulse buyer or have small children who distract you while you shop. If you’re good at math, you can try to keep a running total. But if your like me, a calculator would be great. As you add an item to your basket, punch the price in the calculator. Using a calculator will help you to make wiser choices; if you see that your total is rising rapidly, you can put something back and choose a lower priced item. Using the calculator will prevent any shock at the register.
Many grocery stores have their own brand name products, and these products are usually made by well-known manufacturers. Store brand products are almost always less expensive than name brand products, and if you look at the ingredients, they are probably identical. Buy one of the store brand products, taste it, and if you like it you can save money next time you need that item. You can save by buying store brands on food, over-the-counter medicines, cleaners, and other household products. It is common for stores to put all of their store brand products on sale at one time.
If a grocery store puts a nonperishable item on sale at a very low price, buy extras. Basic foods like flour, sugar, beans, rice, canned and frozen goods will last quite a while if you use them regularly. If you buy enough, then you won't have to buy it when it's not on sale.
Buy your snack items in bulk instead of putting money in a vending machine regularly. Joining a wholesale club means you must purchase a member’s card, but a few trips to the club can save you lots of money if you buy items you use frequently in quantity. The clubs offer samples of certain items frequently, so you are able to try something before you buy it. This is great, because you don't want to buy a ton of something you might not like.
Just because it is on sale, doesn't mean it's a good deal. If it is not something you usually eat, then it may not be a great sale for you. When Kellogg's goes on sale, it still may not be as cheap as the private label brand that you usually buy. You can save by buying items on sale, but it won’t be a savings if you don’t like the product. Only buy food that you know you or your family will eat or you will have wasted your money. Be careful that you don't buy large quantities of perishable items. If half of it gets waisted before you eat it, you won't have saved any money. Always check the date on sale items. It is very common for stores to put product on sale when they are close to going out of date.
Don't Go To The Store Hungry
Make sure you have already eaten when you go to the store. Everything looks good when your hungry and your grocery bill will show it. It's easier to resist junk food when your tummy is full.
When you have a plan, you are one step closer to sticking to your budget. These are just a few tips. There are many more ways to save money on groceries.