Tips for lowering your grocery bill

Tips for lowering your grocery bill

Lower your grocery bill the easy way. Incorporate these simple steps into your shopping routine and smile all the way to the bank.

Photo Credit: Tom Mc Nemar
By Sherry Holetzky

Groceries can easily become a large part of your budget, or they can even break your budget. You have to eat and feed your family, but buying groceries does not have to hamper your lifestyle due to the expense. It is possible to eat well and save money at the same time. Learn to shop smart by making a few simple changes.

Do not shop when you are hungry

Scheduling a shopping trip at a time when you have already had a meal will help you avoid the urge to buy more than you need, and to avoid purchasing things that look yummy but are not on your list. It is far too easy to be tempted by snacks, desserts, and quick fix items when you shop while you are hungry. If you go home with bags full of junk and end up with nothing from which to make a meal, try eating before going shopping. It is also a good idea to make a list and stick to it.

Save the snack food aisle for last

While purchasing a few snack items is not a problem, you should try not to overdo it. Snack foods are often the most expensive items. Wait until you have purchased everything you need for the week’s meals, and then choose a few snack items to supplement your choices. In addition, if you purchase large packages of snack foods and then break them up into smaller containers or put them in baggies for lunches, you will save money. Individually packaged snacks are far more pricey.

Avoid convenience foods

Like individually packaged snacks, individually packaged meals and other convenience foods are also more expensive than other items. Ready to eat foods, heat and serve meals like TV dinners, and most frozen food items add up quickly. Instead of buying these items, cook extra at mealtimes and freeze your own individual servings for later use.

Buy in bulk sparingly

Purchasing in bulk, or buying “economy size” or “family size” packages, may well be a good deal in some instances. However, even if you purchase something for several cents less per ounce, it is not actually a good value, if your family does not use the entire package. Buying too much leads to waste, which in the long terms means you end up spending more money instead of actually saving.

Check for sales and comps

Checking sale ads for local stores and using coupons are standard ways to save money on groceries. However, there is another way to take advantage of these options. Some stores, especially super centers, offer what is known as “comps.” To comp an item, all you have to do is show the cashier the sale ad from a competing store and you will be allowed to purchase the same item at that store, paying the competitor’s price. The item does have to be an exact match, but this option saves time and gas money, since you don’t have to drive from store to store to get the best prices.

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