You know the drill. You walk into the store needing three things and walk out with $200 worth of groceries. Then you find out that most of the items you bought can’t be transformed into a proper meal (unless you consider 3 varieties of cereal and a 6-pack, a meal).
Grocery stores have an average of 38,900 items in their store according to the Food Marketing Institute. Vast options make it impossible to avoid aisle hopping until your cart is full. These facts beg the question: how do you actually stop overspending at the grocery store?
#1 Budget Ahead of Time (the no-brainer that no one is doing)
This step is a given, but many people don’t ever establish a grocery budget. Before you step foot into the store, have a clear price in mind. Keep this number in mind and a calculator in hand as you walk up and down the aisles. If you need a starting point for dividing up your paycheck to fit your grocery needs, try out the 60-20-20 budget method.
OR use this grocery budget guide from Growing Slower to help find a price that works for you!
#2 Use a Basket
Using a basket will help you save more than you think while shopping for groceries. While a cart may be convenient, it also gives you more space to place unnecessary items causing you to overspend at the grocery store. When you use a basket, you fill up the space faster which tricks your mind into think that you are buying more.
It also gets harder to carry as you fill it. And who wants to lug around 4 jugs of chocolate milk that you “needed” because they were on sale.
#3 Buy In-Season Produce
This grocery hack is a no-brainer that everyone should be doing. Produce prices drop when an abundance of the crop is being harvested. For example, apple prices are marked down during autumn due to the high influx of fruit. Not only are you buying apples at their lowest price, but also at their peak flavor.
It is a win-win situation that is a no-brainer for frugal shoppers. Keep a produce guide (like this one) with you as you shop to check what fruits and vegetables are likely to be budget friendly.
#4 Be Vegetarian 4 Times a Week
You’re almost done scanning your groceries and patting yourself on the back for staying on budget. And then you scan the meats. All of the sudden your bill went from $40 to $80 in a matter of seconds. According to an article by 20 Something Finance, making the switch away from meat for four meals a week can save people roughly $600-$800 per year.
By eating vegetarian meals 4 times a week, you can save major cash and cut down your grocery bill.
Here are 60 vegetarian recipes you will love!
#5 Don’t Pay For Convenience
While it may seem more convenient to purchase food that has already been prepped, you are only going to be racking up your grocery bill where you could easily save, Buying pre-diced onions is much easier than enduring a crying fiasco. However, you pay double the cost if you buy produce that is pre-washed and chopped.
An article by CBS News calculated that a pound of kale costs $2.80 and rises to $11.67 when bought pre-washed, chopped, and stemmed. That’s 317 percent more expensive! A few bucks here and there may not seem like a big deal, but it adds up quickly.
To save yourself hundreds on groceries you need to have a game plan, buy thoughtfully, and be willing to chop your own fruit. These are easy ways to save BIG on your next grocery bill. How do you save money on groceries? Tell us on social media!