How to Save Money on Groceries

tips for saving money on grocery shoppingThese days, it seems the cost of food has truly skyrocketed. The sad fact is, many people have to choose between buying enough food and paying essential expenses like rent and utilities.

While there are government programs that may help with food costs, many do not qualify if they are employed. Which leaves those “stuck in the middle” of the income range struggling to make ends meet and feed their families.

Become a Coupon Clipper

Sure, coupons can seem like a bit of a pain at first, but they can also help save you plenty of money on your groceries. Weekly sales papers have coupons you can clip, but there are also plenty of sites online where you can print coupons as well. A Google search for “free grocery coupons” will return pages of results for you to peruse. Many stores offer double-coupon deals for shoppers to take advantage of.

Sign up for Supermarket Savings Cards

Most supermarkets have cards for their customers that allow them to get a reduced price on qualifying items. These cards are free, and sometimes even accumulate points that reward you with dollars off your next purchase when you reach a certain points level.

  • Signing up for a supermarket discount card is easy. Simply fill out a short form at the store and you’ll get your card right away. Some stores – like ALDI (which is also highly popular in Europe and Australia) – don’t offer loyalty cards, but still offer good discounts by selling mainly generic brands.

Buy in Bulk

Warehouse stores (like Costco, for example) sell food items in bulk quantities. When you buy in bulk, you will end up saving more money than if you purchased smaller quantities. Note that Costco does charge a “membership” fee, but it also offers a full refund on it at any time if you don’t feel like it is worth it.

  • If you know you won’t be using that much food at once, freeze serving-size portions to use when you’re ready. Some items like condiments and canned goods have expiration dates that extend for years, so freezing these items is not necessary.
  • Non-perishable goods like toilet paper are usually a much better deal in bulk too.

Having said that, if you are severely in debt and on an extremely tight budget, don’t tie up too much of your money in bulk groceries. A slightly larger package will usually offer decent savings over the smallest, but you don’t want to be buying enough peanut butter to last you two years when money is very tight.

Shop at Discount Stores

Check out some of the discount supermarkets out there. Sometimes, the items are close to expiration, so freeze or use those items right away. Discount supermarkets are great places to buy canned goods. As mentioned before, canned items last for years.

  • You may not find the brands you usually buy, but sometimes generic can be just as good or even on occasion better than name-brand. Realistically, if times are tight, switching to generic brands is one of the easiest ways to reduce your grocery bill.
  • Items like shampoo, vitamins and beauty products are usually a better deal at drugstores – where they are more heavily discounted – than at most grocery stores.

Make a List – and Stick to It

Shopping without a list can be dangerous to your wallet. Before you go to the grocery store, take inventory of your refrigerator and cabinets. Write down the items you need, along with those you want. When you shop without a grocery list, you’re more likely to buy things you don’t need on impulse. And don’t ever shop hungry – you’ll end up filling your cart with more than you planned.