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Financial Tips

Six Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Mother and daughter shopping for groceries and looking at list

Food is a necessity in life, so spending money on groceries is inevitable. If you’re trying to save up money, though–perhaps for a vacation, a house, or a retirement fund–then cutting your grocery bill is one of the easiest places to start.

The best part is, you can reduce your food expenses without sacrificing taste, nutrition, or variety. All you need is a bit of skill in the kitchen and some planning.  Read on to discover six tips for saving money on groceries, and start watching your bank account grow.

  1. Shop for groceries online

In this day and age, you can shop for almost anything online–and groceries are no exception. While most online grocery stores do charge a small delivery fee, you’ll save so much on food that it’s worth the extra cost.

Think about it: when you shop in-store, it’s easy to be tempted by all of the treats on offer. How many times do you go into the store with a succinct shopping list, and emerge with five extra things added to your cart?

It’s also harder to compare prices when you’re in the moment and just want to get in and out of the supermarket, fast.

With online grocery shopping, you can see exactly how much your “shopping cart” will cost you, and it’s simple to compare the prices of different items and brands. For example, you might discover that a certain brand of canned tomatoes is 50 cents cheaper than the one you were planning to buy. Over time, those small savings will add up to big amounts.

So give online grocery shopping a try; it will save you money, and a whole lot of time, too.

  1. Do your grocery shopping just once per week

In addition to purchasing your food online, you can save lots of money on groceries by shopping just once per week. Yes, you’ll need to do some menu planning–but it’s worth the hassle.

When you decide last minute to just “pop into the store” for something, you’re bound to end up buying things you don’t need. With a once-per-week shop, you’ll learn how to plan ahead, and make do with what you have. Last-minute trips to the supermarket spell disaster for your wallet.

What if you forgot to buy something in your weekly shop? Chances are, you have an alternative that will work just fine, or you can simply do without the ingredient. Get creative if you have to!

  1. Stop buying premade foods, and cook from scratch

There are so many premade options in the supermarket, from frozen pizzas to bagged salad kits to every snack item under the sun. While these convenience foods may tempt you, they’re unfortunately not good for a tight budget–or for your health.

Pre-packaged foods often contain tons of sodium and preservatives, and they are not cheap. Case in point: a $2.00 bag of potato chips may seem inexpensive at first, but think about the nutrition it provides you with–none!

Compare that with a whole bag of fresh potatoes: the bag may cost a little bit more than $2.00, but you can make so many things from it: mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, potato salad… and a single potato is packed with vitamins and nutrients that you simply can’t get from a bag of chips.

So make a smart move, and change to fresh, whole foods instead of packaged items. Spend a bit of time cooking with those whole foods instead of heating up another frozen pizza for dinner. Your bank account, and your health, will thank you.

  1. Make meat the supporting cast, not the star of the show

Meat is one of the more expensive items at the grocery store. Luckily, if you’re a carnivore, you don’t have to cut all meat from your diet just because you’re on a budget.

To eat meat and still save on your grocery bill, try making meat part of a meal… but not the main event.

For example, instead of having a steak for dinner, try making a steak-and-broccoli stir fry, and serve it over rice. If you were planning to have a grilled chicken breast for dinner, cook and shred the chicken and add it to quesadillas instead.

By “stretching” meat to make it go farther, you can create multiple servings instead of just one. A bonus is that you’ll probably add more vegetables to your meal–a win-win!

  1. Buy in-season produce

A lot of people complain about how expensive fruits and vegetables are, but this is just not true. The trick is to buy produce that’s in-season–not only will it taste better, but it will be cheaper, too!

For example, if you’re trying to buy blueberries in the dead of winter, they likely traveled a long way to make it to your local store, and they’ll probably be expensive. Instead, opt for in-season oranges. They’ll be cheaper and way more delicious.

When food has to come from afar, it loses a lot of its freshness and taste, and it also becomes much pricier. Do a bit of research and discover what produce is in-season before you shop–it’ll make a world of difference to your budget, and your cooking.

  1. Shop in bulk for staples

If you find yourself using certain ingredients often, try buying them in bulk. It might seem more expensive at first since you’re buying a large amount of that item, but you’ll get better value for your dollar over time.

Good things to buy in bulk include oats, flour, rice, potatoes, and onions. You can easily buy 5-pound bags of these items. Keep them in your pantry to rely on for all sorts of meals.

So there you have it – six handy tips to help you save money on groceries. Now get to cooking, and watch the savings roll in.