Making grocery store runs is an activity that is a key part of adulting we all have to make. If you're not careful, you can wind up spending more money at the store than necessary, money that could have gone to paying down debt or a nice night out. Before and after your trip to the store, here are a few things you can do to save money.
Before leaving home
Don't hop in the car just yet! Before you even step out of the door, there are a few things you can do to cut costs at the grocery as well as reduce your need to even buy anything.
- Shop on a full stomach: The Penny Hoarder calls this the "golden rule of shopping." Make sure you eat first before doing any grocery shopping whatsoever. If you go to the store hungry, you're more likely to do a lot of impulse shopping for ready-to-eat foods that will cost you more money. Keep your head clear and your stomach full.
- Plan out your meals and your shopping: According to MyMoneyCoach.ca, planning your meals for at least a few days is a great way to figure out what you need to buy. When you create your list, do not deviate from it (no matter what the kids say).
- Look for any coupons and apps that can help you save money. Even junk mail can help you keep a few dollars.
- Store your food properly: Taking steps to ensure your food lasts as long as possible will reduce the amount of food you need to buy.
- Shop solo: Making the grocery store trip a family outing increases the number of people who may want something unnecessary. Shop solo and stay focused.
At the Store
Once you get to the store armed with your list, there are a few things you will need to keep your eyes open to keep prices down.
- Know what needs to be bought at the store: It's always cheapest to get your food from a grocery store, but for items like garbage bags, toiletries, and dishwashing liquid; you're better off going to the dollar store.
- Keep an eye for hidden savings: Most items located at the eye-level shelves may not be the cheapest. Look up or down to see if you can find a better deal. You will also need to know where the clearance aisle is located, which is often towards the back of the store and out of site.
- Buy generic brands: Per CashCowCouple.com, most generic brands are often made by the brand name companies, just with a different label. With that in mind, don't waste money on just paying for a name; consider a generic version of your favorite brand.
- Stay away from ready-made foods: It's always cheaper to pay for the ingredients of the meals you want to eat, as opposed to buying the meal itself.
- Keep a calculator handy to help calculate prices. Rounding up is also a good way to save on money too!
After the Store
When you get home, it's never too late to start forming ways to save money in the future. Consider these practices to free up some spending money:
- Get a membership to a wholesaler like Sam's Club or Costco.
- Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Meat's usually the most expensive food you'll buy.
- Consider buying produce from farmer's markets.
- Grow a garden in your backyard.