It is an experience most of us have had; we walk into the grocery store feeling good about the money we have for the week, then walk out feeling broke. But it doesn’t need to be this way. With our 5 simple tips for saving money at the grocery store, you can walk out with food for the week and your budget intact.
Meal planning is a way to be healthier physically and financially. As you are planning, try to overlap ingredients between recipes, that way you are buying less overall. Then, once you go in, you stick to the list—which is the hardest part—to ensure you do not end up overspending. Want to spend even less? Before you plan your meals, check the coupons and sales then tailor your recipes to them.
Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, eating vegetarian a few nights a week is a great way to save money. If you are someone who doesn’t feel like a meal is a meal without meat, look for ways you can reduce the amount of meat in a dish and supplement with other protein sources, such as beans. However, there are plenty of dishes that are meatless that you likely already love, such as pasta with tomato sauce, that you can rely on for a cheap meal.
We all have those items where only the brand-name version will do, and if you need to stick with those, do it. But for the items where the generic is just as good or even better, purchase the cheaper version. Keep in mind that many generic versions of name-brand products are the name-brand product in different packaging. The more you do this, the more you save.
If you are loyal to a single grocery store, take the time to browse and price compare at others in your area. You might discover that a store you have never considered offers amazing deals that yours does not. Don’t be afraid to go to true budget stores for staple items, either, where you can stock up on them once a month and stick with your usual shop during the weeks in-between.
For the most part, the foods you truly need are located along the perimeter of the store. Grocery stores are designed this way because it forces you to travel the entire store and makes it easy for the treats on the inside aisles to catch your eye and entice you to drop a few extra dollars—or more. But the foods on the inside aisles are mostly unneeded and also tend to be unhealthier. Venture into these aisles strategically based on your meal plan.