Grocery shopping is one of those necessary expenses that can eat (pun intended) away at your monthly budget. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to save money at the grocery store. With a little research and planning, you can learn where to shop and what to shop for to master your grocery list. To help you get started, here are 5 easy ways to save money when grocery shopping.
1. Be smart about where you shop.
While the totally organic and locally sourced grocery store may be closest to your house, you might be amazed to see how much money you can potentially save by driving a few miles farther down the road. For grocery staples you buy every week, be sure to visit discount stores. Stock up and save on bulk items that won't spoil by heading to a warehouse club. You can maybe even buy organic and save by shopping at cheaper stores or supporting your local farmer's market.
2. Pay attention to unit prices.
Stores will prominently display sale items and you might be automatically drawn to the bright signs and promise of savings. However, just because an item is on sale doesn't meant it provides the best value. Instead of looking at the overall price, be sure to compare unit prices as you are grocery shopping. You may find that packages that appear more expensive actually come with a lower unit price that will allow you to potentially purchase more product for less money.
3. Avoid buying prepared foods.
Yes, meal preparation takes a little longer than it does to open a box and throw it in the microwave, but keep in mind that you could be paying as much as 40% more for the convenience of prepared foods. When you buy ingredients, you can potentially save money and enjoy nutrition-rich food that isn't full of salt, sugar, and other additives.
4. Shop elsewhere for non-grocery items.
Grocery stores bank on the fact that you will visit to pick up some meat and vegetables and end up also throwing light bulbs, face lotion, and office supplies into the cart. They know that most people would rather get all their shopping done in one place than take an extra trip, which is exactly why they are able to potentially charge significantly more for non-grocery items. Don't fall into this trap. Keep a list of non-grocery items that you need on a regular basis and make a monthly trip to a warehouse store to stock up.
5. Use apps to find sales and discounts.
You can still save money by clipping coupons and comparison shopping weekly ads, but there are also new smartphone apps that provide an even easier way to get organized and track down the best deals. There are apps that will send coupons directly to your grocery store loyalty cards and help you compare prices at different stores in your area. With a little research, you can find apps that may result in significant savings.
There is a good chance that you have heard these tips before—it is just a matter of putting them to work. Even small steps toward saving can make a big difference. Start with these 5 easy ways to potentially save money grocery shopping, and you will be amazed to see the difference they can make.