You probably already know groceries account for a huge portion of your total budget.
It’s also one of the most variable budget items — you might feed your family on $64 a week, or spend $1,000 a month at high-end stores like Whole
So, cutting back at the supermarket can lead to big savings. But how do you do it?
Find Easy Ways to Save
You don’t have to be a coupon-clipper to save lots on groceries!
No-brainer ways to save are the best — you can make them habitual and let the money practically save itself.
Trent over at The Simple Dollar has a bunch of great grocery hacks, but one of them is so easy I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of it myself:
Use a basket instead of a cart.
Unless you know you’re on a grocery mission for items that take up lots of space, like toilet paper or paper towels (which, ideally, you’re buying in bulk anyway), you can probably fit most of what you need in a shopping basket.
Trent says this strategy has saved him loads of cash on impulse buys that are easy to make when you’re wheeling a cart through every aisle. If you use a basket and just shop the perimeter for fresh, perishable goods like eggs and produce, you’ll save cash and eat healthier foods.
But what about your breakfast cereal and other boxed or canned goodies?
Divide and Conquer: Why Separate Trips Can Be More Efficient
Trent and his family have organized different kinds of grocery trips: A big one every few weeks for non-perishables and bulk items, and smaller weekly trips for fresh items that don’t last, like milk or bread.
If you’re willing to put in a little effort up front, you can save a lot of money by figuring out which stores sell your key products the cheapest. Trent says:
“Basically, we made a long list of the staples we buy most frequently — eggs, spinach, tortillas and so on — and got the prices for those items from several different groceries in the area, then added them up. The store with the lowest prices overall became our go-to grocery store.”
You can also strategize by figuring out which days are the best to shop at specific stores in your area.
Minimize Waste through Organization
Finally, an important part of saving money on groceries is actually using what you buy. Anyone who’s ever found a three-years-outdated can of soup at the back of the pantry knows how easy it is to break that rule!
Trent recommends pulling everything out of your pantry or freezer and stationing easily forgotten items toward the front, where they’ll be conspicuous. You can also plan meals revolving around those items for the next few days.
Using what you have means you’ll have less need when you walk into the store, and your savings will rack up automatically! That’s what we call a win.
Your Turn: What no-brainer strategies do you use to save money on groceries?
Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible.