Have you been to the grocery store lately? Or any store for that matter? Prices have gone up dramatically since the pandemic began and the cost of food continues to rise. It’s frustrating and depressing and no fun at all to grocery shop anymore. So, I thought it was time to share some of my ideas about ways to save on groceries.
It’s no longer optional, unless you are independently wealthy you have to find ways to save on groceries this year.
Of course, we all love to save money at the grocery store in general, but these days that’s harder than it ever was in recent memory.
In a recession, it’s more important than ever to trim costs where possible. So shop smarter and make food go farther.
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How to Save on Groceries
First, let’s talk about how to save on groceries while we’re at the store. This is where it all begins. Before we can make our food go farther, we have to actually buy it. These tips will help you get more for your money every time you hit the aisles.
Check Sale Flyers
Anyone who’s been grocery shopping for any appreciable amount of time knows this one, but it is worth repeating. Always check your local sale papers for what’s on sale. That’s the first and easiest step to save on groceries.
Don’t Commit to One Store
Many people shop exclusively at one store just because they always have. If you live in a metropolitan or suburban area, there’s no reason to stick to one store. Remember those sales I just mentioned? Look at all of them for all stores in your area.
Often times, you can find different items for better prices at different stores. If you live in a populated area, it might only take you a couple of extra minutes to drive to another store to stock up on items you need that are cheaper there.
Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs
Some grocery stores offer loyalty programs that allow you to get discounts on items, special coupons available only to members of the program, or points that build up as you shop.
Always take advantage of these programs, even if you only buy a few items at a particular store. Over time, the points can add up. I have redeemed Optimum Points many times over to purchase gifts for the kids. Some Christmases when they were younger, redeeming these points for gifts meant the difference between having a magical Christmas morning and missing out on gifts under the tree.
Use Apps to Your Advantage
Technology is your friend if you want to save on groceries. There are tons of apps out there that can help you save money on your groceries. These days I use Flipp app a lot and a new friend got me into Flash Food. From apps that scour every circular for you to apps like Ibotta that let you get cashback on your receipts and apps for those loyalty programs I mentioned earlier, technology can help you save a lot of money!
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is a great way to save on groceries. Try planning your meals around what you find on sale and those special deals you can get with loyalty programs.
When you plan your meals, it makes it easier to shop and stick to your budget, especially if you can find the things you need at a discounted price.
Buy in Bulk
When you find great deals on items that can be stored for long periods of time, stock up. Buying in bulk can help you get the most bang for your buck. Canned goods and other non-perishables along with frozen foods and meats are all excellent choices when on sale.
Stock your pantry with the canned goods, rice, beans, and pasta that you buy in bulk on sale. If you have the room and the money, invest in a deep freezer, so you can buy meats and other frozen items in bulk that are on sale.
This is a pretty well known one I think now. At the end of the night after 7:30 or 8 p.m., if you have to go get food either check a Flash Food app, or visit a nearby store and check the racks near the bakery and in the produce section. Produce and baked goods are discounted at the end of the night especially if they are approaching the end of their shelf life.
How to Stretch Your Groceries
Now that we know how to get the most out of our money while we’re at the store, let’s talk about how to get the most from our food after we’ve purchased it. This is the other key player in making sure you make those food dollars go farther.
Freeze Your Meals
This goes hand in hand with meal planning. If you buy in bulk, cook in bulk, and then freeze your meals. This allows you to make meals faster during the week and ensures that you don’t waste any food due to spoilage.
Don’t Throw Out Blemished Food
If you see food beginning to go bad in a certain spot, don’t throw the whole thing out. Rather, cut around it, and eat the good part. For example, an apple with a big brown spot is still good everywhere else. Likewise, a banana that has gone soft and brown in certain spots can still be eaten if you cut those spots away. Or, you can use them in another recipe
Use Your Pantry to Your Advantage
Before shopping, always look in your pantry to see what you can make with what you have. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there are more meals in the pantry than you might think. I’ve already organized the pantry this year as decluttering is one of my goals here.
Check out your pantry for things like canned vegetables, creamed soups, beans, rice, and other staples that have gotten pushed to the back or that you simply haven’t gotten around to using. Remember, the less you buy, the more you save.
It’s Easier Than You Think to Save on Groceries
It’s a lot easier than you think to save on groceries. Simple things like meal planning, using apps, and being careful not to waste food can really add up to savings over time.
Try these tips on how to save on groceries, and I’m certain you’ll see a decrease in the amount of money you spend. Right now, every penny counts.