Groceries, and food in general, are by far my biggest expenses each month. These tips are some of the ways I have managed to cut my grocery bill back.
1) Buy in bulk
How to: When possible, buy larger quantities of items that either won’t expire, or will freeze well, such as meat products. Many grocers offer better pricing on “value packs”.
2) Look for cheap cuts of meat
How to: Compare the price of a good steak vs. the price for stew meat. Not only is stew meat a “cheaper” cut, but you can likely get more than one meal out of the deal. Looking for recipes that use less expensive meat and provide more than one meal are great alternatives to having a slab of meat every night.
3) Shop the bottom shelf
How to: Grocery stores put the products they want you to buy at eye level. Take a step back, and search the top and bottom shelves. Often, you will find the same product, but a different, less expensive brand.
4) Be picky about expiration dates
How to: When shopping for items that expire, such as milk, eggs, cheese, and produce—grab from the back. Stores rotate stock so that the stuff that’s about to expire is in the front. By grabbing from the back, you will have more time to use an item before it goes bad.
5) Make fewer shopping trips
How to: Don’t hit the grocery store several times a week- or you will always find “extra” things to buy. Plan to shop every week or every two weeks, to avoid temptation. This will also force you to…
6) Meal plan
How to: Plan your meals a week (or more) in advance. This will allow you to make fewer trips, and only buy what you need (instead of stocking up on what-if items).
7) Never shop hungry
How to: Grab a snack before you shop, or you will likely spend more on the trip and be more likely to purchase less-healthy food. Like cookies. (mmm, cookies…)
8) Stock up on sale items
How to: If you know there are items you use a lot, that don’t expire quickly, stock up on five or so when they are on sale. This will save you money down the road. Just make sure you always ask yourself if it’s actually a good deal (a big percentage off) or if it's so minor it's not worth it ($1 off an item that costs $16).
9) Don’t be lured by sales prices
How to: To continue tip #8, always ask yourself if a sales price actually represents a good savings. Also, make sure you aren’t buying items that weren’t on your list, just because they were on sale, unless it’s a good price on something you actually use. Remember—sales are a way for stores to make more money, not save you money (okay, not just save you money).
10) Shop sale times
How to: Know which days of the month your store offers more deals—which probably won’t be on Fridays, Saturdays, or other peak shopping days. Also, going in the evening can save you big on deli items, such as roasted chickens, which you can either eat right away, or freeze or save for future meals.
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