Are you grocery shopping on a budget and looking for the best ways to save? Look no further, because you’ve come to the right place.
As someone who hates spending money (a.k.a new college graduate still trying to understand 401k), there are some tricks I have picked up along the way that have honestly saved me a ton of money. And I decided to share it with you today.
But before I do. Let me first of all address the baby elephant in the room; that is, the things you SHOULDN’T do while grocery shopping on a budget.
Because let’s be honest, little mistakes lead to bigger mistakes. Thus, it’s best we touch on this before diving into the main topic of this post.
Things to avoid while grocery shopping on a budget
Shopping on an empty stomach
You’re probably thinking to yourself; If I’m hungry and need food, then I should go to the grocery store and buy some food.
It sounds like a wise thing to do, but the reality is, you will end up spending a lot more when you do decide to go shopping.
Our brain controls the rest of our bodies. Therefore, if your mind is screaming “HUGRY” and you go to a place serving all kinds of food, you most likely will overeat. Not because you want to, but because your mind is telling the rest of your body to.
Thus, I always recommend eating before going to the grocery store. Even if its a sneaker bar or a bowl of cereal.
Basically, anything that can give your brain a sense of being full will help you address any temptations you encounter at the grocery store.
Shopping at the checkout isle
Have you noticed that the soda at the checkout isle often costs more than the soda at the drink isle for the same quantity? Shocking right?
And that’s because many stores have noticed that people are more likely to buy items from the checkout isle when in a hurry than the regular isle. Hence why the hiked up prices.
But you are not going to be a part of the statistic of people who make that mistake. Therefore, stay away from the checkout isle.
Not doing your research
Ever gone to the grocery store and bought a huge bag of rice, only to come home and realize you have 5 bags sitting in your pantry? Well.. we all have.
Maybe not a bag of rice, but you’ve surely done something similar.
Before you leave for the grocery store, make sure you have a list of the items you intend to purchase. That means, looking around your pantry to see what you already have and what you don’t have.
That way, when you get to the store, you won’t have to worry about what’s not in your pantry.
Picking the wrong grocery store
I know Whole Foods is 2 blocks away. But if you’re grocery shopping on a budget, do yourself a favor and take the 10 mins drive to Walmart. I promise, there’s literally no difference between what you get at either one. Plus, you will save a lot more money if you sacrifice one for the other.
Ways To Save
Now that I’ve addressed the things you shouldn’t be doing if you’re grocery shopping on a budget, let’s now address what you should be doing to save money.
1. Name Brand vs Generic
I know you love yoplait and Nilla vanilla wafers. But if you really want to save money while grocery shopping, you need to purchase generic.
Honestly, I can’t really tell the difference.
Some perfectionists might disagree and conclude that the extra microgram of sugar makes a difference. But, if you are like me and can’t be bothered, you won’t even notice a thing.
Look at the difference between a generic version of Nilla and the original. There’s honestly no difference besides the “Great Value” label that was slapped on it. It tastes just like the name brand and has the same texture when used in cheesecakes.
2. Use the Ibotta App and Coupons
You might be wondering, what is the Ibotta App? Basically, it’s an app that gives you cash back while you shop at your favorite grocery store. You simply scan your grocery receipt and start earning $$$.
I would suggest planning out your grocery list with the App before you go shopping, that way, you don’t end up purchasing a similar product that isn’t available for cash back on the App. You can download the app and sign up HERE to start earning.
Conversely, though the Ibotta App is a great place to start, another alternative would be checking your mailbox for coupons.
The coupons we often throw away from our mailboxes are actually helpful when grocery shopping on a budget. It might seem like a hassle cutting up each coupon with a scissors. But if you really intend to save money, I suggest making the sacrifice.
3. Plan Ahead of Time
I do not recommend grocery shopping for an entire month.
It may seem like a great idea at first to buy everything and forget about it. But in all honesty, it will cost you more money in the long run.
Plus, some of the food items you buy might not end up getting used. Therefore, I suggest shopping weekly for your groceries.
That way, you are able to purchase what’s really necessary for that specific week, which helps you minimize your spending.
I also recommend keeping a grocery shopping list. That way, you can easily organize your grocery shopping.
4. Avoid Ready Meals
Why buy instant meals when you can cook your own food over the stove or crock pot?
Instant meals may seem quick and tempting, but they will cost you in the long run.
Plus, instant ready meals are not good for your health as many of these items contain preservatives and large quantities of salt.
Therefore, I suggest looking up recipes online to help you with cooking.
5. Ditch the Farmers Market
Farmers market produce are a lot fresher than store bought produce. But when it comes to saving money, they are more expensive. And you rarely get the opportunity to save with coupons. Therefore, if you’re grocery shopping on a budget, I would recommend ditching the farmers market overall.
If you do however prefer fresh produce, then I would suggest negotiating prices while at the farmers market. That way, you get a better deal without coupons.
What are some tips you recommend to save money on groceries? I’d love to know, so leave them in the comments below.