7 Easy Tips to Save on Groceries

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By guest writer Anum Yoon

Ah, grocery shopping. It’s either a good way to get out of the house and pick out a few things for yourself, or it’s a hellish burden of potential debt. Really, food isn’t cheap. Neither is laundry detergent or the myriad of cleaners we apparently need nowadays. However, there are ways to knock that grocery bill down a few pegs. These tips will surely help you save on Groceries.

1. Make a List

It is so easy to go to the store for three things and leave with 30. We’ve all done it, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. However, it can do a number on your wallet. The average weekly grocery bill for a family of four is $152, but it’s so easy to go over this number even when you’re only shopping for 2. As much as we might like collecting those things to put in our basket, there’s always that twinge of regret when we see the total. It sucks.

Instead, make a list each and every time you go. You can add one surprise or treat item to your list. That way, you can get something for yourself, but you still manage to keep a lid on the budget. As an added bonus, a list can help you know in advance about how much you’re going to spend. That way it’s not such a shock.

2. Coupons for Everyone

OK, we’ve all seen or heard of an extreme couponer. That is not what I’m suggesting – most of those people spend hours a day prepping for their shopping trips. However, they do demonstrate the power of coupons. Coupons can cut the price of items you always use, like toilet paper or paper towels, pretty significantly.

Couponing can be easy and reasonable. Just buy a newspaper and keep an eye out for items you use. Snip the coupons, pop them in an envelope and take them to the store with you. That’s it, easy as pie. Unless, of course, you forget about them in your purse. I’ve done it. Some stores will let you ring them up at customer service, some won’t. Either way, you can always use them next time.

3. Discount Stores

Discount grocery stores sometimes carry a bit of a stigma, but they don’t have to. There are some downsides, in that much of the time you can’t be sure of what will be available for purchase. This can be fun, though. Many of the products were sent away from the original store because of slight imperfections that don’t have any effect on the quality.

After all, these are still businesses. They aren’t going to sell you things that aren’t safe; they just aren’t as pretty as in a regular grocery store. If you aren’t stuck on name brands, then you can find some really amazing bargains on staple items. If you are stuck on name brands, you may occasionally be able to find them for half-off or more.

4. Stay With the Seasons

We’re living in a world where you can literally buy anything, from any season, from anywhere in the world, at any time. That is pretty amazing. However, it’s also pretty expensive. After all, if you’re buying coconuts that have to be shipped up to New England from Indonesia, somebody is going to want to get reimbursed for all that gas.

Buying what’s in season can save a pretty ridiculous amount of money. Just a few weeks ago, strawberries were selling for practically double what they are now. They aren’t even technically in season yet, but since we’re getting close, their price is dropping. It’s a great way to cut costs, and maybe try some new items as well.

5. Try the Deli

Most people will get their sandwich meat and cheese in the same section as the milk – don’t do this! It’s pretty common for the prices at the deli to be cheaper on a per-pound basis, and you’ll probably get a slightly different selection.

As an added bonus, if something is getting close to its sell-by date, most stores can be convinced to give you a discount. If you can stand the line, the deli is where you should be shopping for cold cuts.

6. Buy in Bulk

The majority of the time, it’s going to be cheaper to buy in bulk. Part of the reason is that there’s less packaging per product, which cuts down on the manufacturing price. This also explains why makeup is so expensive – that’s a lot of packaging.

If you have items you know you’ll go through quickly like canned goods, toilet paper or even flour, you should try to buy the largest size you can.

7. Apps for Cash Back

There are lots of ways to save, but the newest one is to use apps. No joke; this can save you money. It won’t be a massive savings, but it’s basically extra coupons you can have on your phone. Apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Snap all offer cash back for groceries. Plus, the apps are free, and they update regularly.

Now cash in and enjoy those savings.

About the author: Anum Yoon is a personal finance blogger who talks about all things money related on CurrentonCurrency.com.

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