Doing your grocery shopping on a budget is simply one of the best ways to save major cash.
We’re always looking for easy ways to reduce our everyday bills and grocery shopping is a brilliant place to start.
Saving on purchases you make all the time, like food and drink, is a good way to trim down your spending without feeling like you’re missing out.
By doing a little bit of advanced prep, you can save a lot of cash without really trying.
Plus, once you get the bug for doing your grocery shopping on a budget, and see those dollar bills stacking up every week, who knows where it might lead?
Having said that, the hardest part of any economy drive is getting yourself started in the first place.
So without further ado, here are 26 tips for painlessly saving on your groceries every week – no extreme couponing required!
- Put your cellphone away whilst grocery shopping
A U.K.-based study on the effects of mobile devices found that shoppers spend longer at the grocery store, spend more money than they mean to, and make more unplanned impulse purchases if they’re browsing the internet or messaging on smartphones at the same time.
As much as we’re used to mindlessly scrolling at every opportunity, do yourself a favor and make your grocery shopping screen-free – your wallet will thank you.
- Make a meal plan before you leave the house
Probably because I’m suddenly confronted with what seems like ALL THE FOOD IN THE WORLD, but for some reason, I can never remember what I actually like to eat when I walk in the store.
Oftentimes I just pile random things into the cart, hoping I can make some kind of meal out of it all when I get home.
Stores rely on this type of confusion to make you buy more than you need.
It’s like filling up your plate at a buffet – and not only is it a disaster for grocery shopping on a budget, but it wastes food too.
Making a meal plan and sticking to takes time and discipline when you’re grocery shopping on a budget, but it will pay off when you’re saving cash and helping the planet by cutting down on food waste in the process.
If this is something you struggle with, I can relate. Start by planning just a few meals and build from there.
If you struggle with what to cook, remember Pinterest is always there to help with ideas and inspiration.
So, decide what you need before you leave the house, write the ingredients down, and pledge not to pick up anything else.
- Do a check at the end of each aisle
It’s all too easy to put things in your cart without thinking.
- Buy on-offer and in bulk
It’s not just for preppers; bulk-buying can definitely save big money when it comes to grocery shopping.Make-ahead meals are a great way to take advantage of offers and get a quick weeknight heat’n’eat dinner.
If you need some inspiration, check out this list of enough make-ahead meals to last an entire month.
If you’re a big morning person, there’s also a list of make ahead breakfasts, full of recipes you’ll love.
- Think beyond the shelf life
The section of the store where they keep the reduced items is about to become your new best friend. Don’t worry if an item is nearly at the end of its shelf life, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it.
Check first if the item can be frozen: lots of meat products are easy to freeze and can be defrosted when you want to use them.
Here are a few more ideas:Bread: bread will keep longer if you store it in the freezer, so buy in bulk if there’s a discount.
Grab a couple of slices out the night before for tomorrow’s sandwich or just grab it straight from the freezer if you’re going to toast it.
Milk: Save milk by freezing it. It might go slightly yellow but will revert to normal when thawed and mixed. Separate it into smaller portions before storing and you can use just the right amount each time with no waste.
Fresh seasonings: You can freeze so many fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, dill, and oregano. You’ll have super-fresh flavors whenever you need them.
- Make more space in your freezer
To organize your freezer and make way for your reduced goodies, take items out of their packaging and just wrap them in plastic wrap – just be sure to take a photo on your phone of the cooking instructions first.
To stop items sticking together, freeze them on a tray first, then transfer them to a bag or some plastic wrap.
Freeze alike items, like bread, milk and meat, together with each other so you can stay organized and easily see what you have for better meal planning.
- Shop around for groceries and look up online offers
Never feel tied to shopping at the same place unless you really need to. Instead, look up sales and discounts on the internet and see where it makes sense to go next time.
While you’re online, think about getting a bulk delivery, and then pick up a few fresh items from a discounter like Aldi during the week – it will save you time and money.
- Never shop for groceries when you’re super hungry
Who hasn’t loaded up on unnecessary junk food and snacks when they’re starving?As well as lacking nutrients, processed food and treats can also be surprisingly expensive.
For the same reason, avoid grocery shopping at times when you’re likely to feel too stressed or tired to think about cooking.
- Make it yourself instead of buying pre-prepared groceries
Shredded cheese and pre-chopped vegetables can cost a lot more for saving minimal time and effort.DIY-ing them in the kitchen at home is a good way to save on otherwise identical food.
- Don’t forget to use up everything!
Get creative and make sure you get the most value from the food you buy.
For instance, a lot of long-life canned foods are stored in brine. You can use the leftover brine to salt your dishes and even tenderize meat.
Plus, use the oil that comes in your jar of sundried tomatoes to cook your onion and garlic in on pasta nights.
If you’re grocery shopping on a budget, at the end of each aisle, check your trolley and ask yourself if you really need everything in there, take out anything you don’t.
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