Posted: 7 September 2018
Have you ever stared at your receipt in complete and utter disbelief, wondering how you managed to spend so much during one shopping trip?
The average US household, with two and a half members, shells out roughly $7k on food every year, or $135 a week. Add to that another $600 a year on cleaning supplies alone.
Thankfully, there are several ways to cut down on how much money you spend on the items you need the most.
Read on for four can’t-miss budget grocery shopping tips that nobody bothered to clue you in on before!
1. Opt for Frozen Fruits and Veggies
Many frozen fruits and vegetables are less expensive than their fresh counterparts. That must mean they’re not as good for you, right?
Actually, it turns out that there’s not much of a difference between them when it comes to nutritional content. Some frozen fruits and veggies actually have higher levels of certain vitamins and minerals.
What’s even better is the fact that it’s not hard to find printable discounts for frozen items. This gives you the perfect opportunity to take advantage of some of our smart couponing tips too!
2. Crunch the Numbers as You Go
Your smartphone has a built-in calculator app for a reason. While you may rarely get to use it in everyday life, the grocery store is the ideal place to whip it out.
Set a target before you go to the store and don’t allow yourself to exceed it.
You should also be paying attention to the cost per ounce of an item, as it shows how much it really costs. Some grocery stores provide you with this info, but if they don’t, use your calculator app to see what brand is the cheapest per ounce.
3. Get What You Can Online
Of course, you’ll need to drive to the grocery store to get the best deal on fresh produce, but what about snacks?
If you spend some perusing the internet, it won’t take you long to realize how much cheaper it is to buy your favorite snack foods in bulk online. Divine Bovine, for example, is one of the best places to shop now for gourmet beef jerky.
Is Google Chrome your go-to web browser? You can use a free extension like Honey to find discount codes for online stores.
4. Shop Smart to Minimize Food Waste
Believe it or not, you toss out around 250 lbs of food each year, much of it due to spoiling. Here are a few strategies you can employ to avoid letting your money go to waste.
Reach for the Fruits and Veggies in the Back
Stores want to get rid of their older products, so they place them ahead of the newer inventory.
When it comes to veggies, fruits, dairy, products, and eggs, you can get fresher items if you take the ones hidden behind the rest.
Be Strategic with Your Checkout Conveyor Placement
As you’re checking out, put the bulkier items at the front of the conveyor belt and fresh foods near the back. This way, delicate foods will be less likely to get damaged when store employees bag them.
Save Dairy and Meat Products for Last
If you know you’ll be in the store for a while, don’t take any refrigerated items off the shelf until you’re ready to leave. The last thing you want is something to go bad before you even reach home.
Final Thoughts on Budget Grocery Shopping
You might be asking yourself, “With all the work it takes to buy groceries on a budget, why not just eat out more often?”
On average, preparing your own meal from scratch costs you about half as much as buying it from a restaurant. So while grocery shopping is more time-consuming, it pays off in the end.
To shorten your trip, arrange your shopping list by food type. Try sticking to one store so you learn the layout of the aisles.
Also, avoid going in the middle of a Sunday, as this is when stores are at their busiest. Early weekday mornings are your best bet to steer clear of the long lines.
Ready to learn how to save money outside of these budget grocery shopping hacks? If so, be sure to visit the cash & gift cards section of our blog regularly for giveaways!