If there’s one thing you can’t cut from your budget completely, it’s food expenses. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save money on the foods you love.
Here are some money saving grocery shopping tips for the budget-conscious consumer:
1. Take couponing to the next level.
Cutting coupons from your weekly newspaper is a great idea when you want to save money on groceries. But you can do so much more. For example, if you sign up for a bonus card with your favorite grocery store they might mail you store-specific coupons. Some communities also send out their own coupon mailers on a weekly or monthly basis (often supporting local businesses). And you can find additional coupons online from coupon sites, manufacturers’ websites, and through social media like daily deals websites.
2. Don’t commit to a single store.
Another way you can save a good bit of money on groceries is to shop around. Don’t stick to a favorite store. Instead compare circulars from all of the stores in your outlet. And either hit multiple stores for the things you want or plan your weekly meals around whichever store has the best deals that week.
3. Stick to seasonal meal choices.
Buying fresh food in season can save you a lot of money. So try to plan your side dishes around whatever’s in season. Better yet, look for locally-grown options. Not only can you save because prices are lower when supplies are up, but you might be able to save even more by shopping your area farmer’s markets.
4. Consider discount stores and food outlets.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional groceries stores if you want to maximize savings. These days some discount stores (like Walmart) have full grocery stores inside. You might also be able to find grocery-specific discount stores (like ALDI) near you. And depending on where you live, you might be able to find food outlets too — especially if you live near a food company’s manufacturing plants.
5. Shop the perimeter.
Even if you do opt to stick to a single traditional supermarket, there’s a simple tip that can save you money. Spend most of your time shopping the perimeter of the store.
Grocery stores are designed in a way that makes you walk through aisles of processed foods (with higher profit margins for the store) to get to all of your basics like milk, bread, meat, and vegetables. That’s why those items tend to span the perimeter of the entire store — making you cover more of it in each trip.
Stick to the perimeter to avoid impulse buys and higher priced items and stick to the basics. Not only is it often cheaper, but it can also be healthier.
Do you have any other tips that could help readers save money on grocery purchases? If so, feel free to share them in the comments below.