7 Money Saving Tips When You Are At The Grocery Store!
We all know, or at least we should know, cooking at home is healthier than eating out. Portion control is easier, fats are better controlled along with sodium levels. You can save money on groceries without becoming a couponing clipping fiend!
I’m going to skip by the obvious ways to cut costs liking signing up for coupons from your favorite brands, waiting for sales, and making a list. Instead, I’ll share seven real-life tips and tricks to keep your budget in check while still filling your cart with fresh, nutritious food!
1. Be Flexible
With recipe[s] in hand along with your meal plan, you head to the market to stock up. But, you find that there’s no asparagus, and the strawberries are priced higher than your last car! Instead of scrapping your entire plan, bring on those ninja recipe skills.
If you need spinach, but the kale is on sale, make the swap. There’s a sale on chicken breasts so they are cheaper than the turkey cutlets, revise the menu a little. To change up ingredients without affecting the overall integrity of a recipe, try to keep items as similar as possible: No nectarines? Choose peaches. Is the arugula overpriced? Find a different bitter green. Is the fresh basil too expensive? Use parsley, or go with dried.
2. Join The Club
Buying in bulk can be a real money saver! You’ll find kitchen staples in the “club” stores. You have to use some caution when buying items in bulk at these stores. First, not everything is cheaper, most items are sold at the normal price, others can be below cost. Second, food can go bad! Do you really want the ten pounds of grapes?
BJ’s is the club I shop at the most. They mail me coupons. I can search for coupons online, and they have a rack of coupons at the entrance to the store. I don’t buy things that will spoil unless I know I’ll be using it within the next few days. The same is true for meats unless I’m planning on freezing them. But, frozen shrimp and chicken stock are on my “must get” list.
3. Go Price Shopping
Clubs aren’t always convenient, the nearest one could be 50 miles away! No problem. Check out Amazon Prime, Thrive Market, and Vitacost. These are some of the sites offering good deals on groceries. Thrive and Amazon also have apps, so you can compare prices while at the grocery store.
4. Ignore The Labels
Don’t overlook the nutrition facts. Instead, ignore the front of the label, says Kristen Arnold, R.D.N., L.D., M.S. “The only difference is the taste, and a lot of times the store brands taste better than the name brands,” says Arnold, who’s also a professional cyclist. You’ll save an average of 25 percent and store brands were deemed as delicious as the name brands more than half the time.
Be extravagant on any product where the specific seasonings and ingredients matter like salsa or premium ice cream. But, save on staples like diced tomatoes and low-sodium broth.
5. Do The Math
Normally, the larger container is the best deal, but not always. Read the shelf tags to see which option has the lowest per unit cost (ounce, pound, gallon…). It could be the smaller item, on sale, is cheaper than the larger package that isn’t on sale. And those “10 for 10” sales; peek at the other items in that category to see if you’re really saving.
6. Shop The Bulk Aisle
Mainstream supermarkets now offer a bulk food section that has everything from flour and sugar to roasted almonds, candied ginger and trail mix. You don’t have to pay for fancy packaging or expensive marketing, so the prices are lower—and you take only what you need! Arnold relies on bulk items to help keep her food bills low. She also loads up on bags of sweet potatoes and apples, it’s cheaper than buying them loose. But, remember, buy only as much as you’ll use before the food spoils!
7. Carry A Basket
If you’re shopping for just a few things, don’t tempt yourself with the extra space in a cart, use a basket instead. As you fill your basket up, you’ll feel the weight of each item as you add it, which might make you think twice about picking up that half-gallon of ice cream or anything else not on your list.