The Quickest Ways To Save Money at the Grocery Store
Implementing smart shopping tips can save you a lot more money than you probably think. Many U.S. families of four spend $850-$1,000 a month on groceries (more if you have teens). Cutting that bill by just 10-15% is $100-$150 a month! If you really get into stacking coupons, store deals and price comparison apps, that number can jump to $300-$350 easily.
Fast Ways To Save Money on Groceries
These shopping tips can save you a lot of money in minutes. The key is what you buy, when you buy and how you buy.
Pick the Smaller Shopping Cart
Stores have researched this psychological effect. People don’t like pushing around an empty shopping cart, so they usually buy things to fill it up, even if the items aren’t necessary. Choosing a smaller cart can help you control how much you spend, especially when you’re just popping in to pick up a few items.
Prioritize Seasonal Produce
Many fruit and vegetable prices vary depending on the season. Instead of paying through the nose for those blueberries in February, know when your favorites are in season (read: cheaper) and go to town!
- Winter: Avocadoes, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples
- Spring: Apples, apricots, rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus
- Summer: Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, mangos, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, green beans
- Fall: Pineapple, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, fresh herbs, peas
Believe it or not, frozen veggies are usually every bit as healthy as fresh. You can save money by picking up frozen peas, corn, carrots and other veggies this way. You’re still giving your kids lots of nutrients.
Choose Basic Food Items and Add Your Own Ingredients
Many manufacturers charge a premium for every extra ingredient they put in prepared foods such as soups and sauces. Instead of buying the expensive spaghetti sauce with shallots, carrots, mushrooms, basil, meat and tons of other ingredients, get the basic tomato version instead.
At home, chop up an onion, crush some garlic, add oregano and toss in some frozen veggies to add lots of flavor and more nutrients while saving money. The same trick works wonders for soups, expensive taco “kits” and other family favorites.
Try Generic or Store Brands
Store labels often provide the same quality and flavor as more expensive and well-known brands for half the price. It’s worth trying generic at least once for every item on your shopping list.
Sometimes, it makes sense to spend more on better brands, such as pasta that doesn’t stick or dish soap that doesn’t irritate your skin. If you can’t notice the difference between store brands and mainstream brands, then keep buying the generic! It’s easy to save money on milk, eggs, cheese, canned goods and many essential items this way.
Time Versus Money
One important factor to keep in mind when choosing ways to save money at the grocery store is that time equals money. As long as you have a job that lets you earn extra money from overtime, going out of your way to save a few bucks isn’t worth it if you lose too much time.
To know how much time to spend on coupons and other strategies, assign a dollar value to your time. If you make $12 an hour at work, that’s a good figure for your at-home time, too. Setting aside an hour to plan grocery savings would be a smart investment if it saves you more than $12 on your total bill.