The cost of food is affected by so many factors, such as the economy or the weather, that the price could go up without a moment’s notice. Learning how to save money on food at the grocery store and while eating out can have a huge impact on your savings.
Shopping at Discount Stores or Buying in Bulk
Bulk stores like Sam’s Club and Costco allow you to get bulk items of name brand products at a discount. Often times the final cost is less than the store brand or sale price at a regular grocery store. Just make sure you really are getting a deal. You probably won’t buy everything at one of these stores. If you’re shopping at a supermarket too, it pays to know prices so you can compare.
Discount stores like ALDI can offer low prices because they don’t give shopping bags, they charge a quarter for shopping carts to make sure you return them so that they don’t have to hire someone to clean them up, and they pile products up in boxes instead of displaying them on shelves. All of these little things add up to steep discounts.
You are probably aware of the ‘extreme couponers’ out there that get lots of stuff for next to nothing. You don’t have to be extreme to take advantage of the saving power of coupons. Look through your Sunday paper for coupons you know you will use, and check out websites like coupons.com or redplum.com for printable coupons. Pair coupons with store deals to get the lowest price.
Most items go on sale every 3 to 5 weeks. Some are more or less frequent, but if you can keep track of when most items go on sale, you can stock up and use coupons at the best possible time. This is a good tactic to save, however, if you’re spending more than an hour on coupons each week, you are probably going too far. Make sure the savings are still worth the time you spend.
Make a List
Never go to the grocery store without bringing a list. Plan your meals for the week so you know what to buy. If you go in without a list, not only will you forget things, you will also buy more of what you don’t need. Plan your trip to avoid making extra trips and to keep from getting tempted to buy junk food or other things you don’t need.
Cut Out Fast Food
Fast food restaurants are not only terrible for your health, they cost a lot, too. If you were to make most of the meals at home that you buy from fast food, it would cost a fraction of the amount. Plus, you can actually make real food that isn’t full of preservatives and depleted of nutrients. Making your own lunch or dinner doesn’t take long. When did taking the time to make a meal become such a problem?
Shopping locally is good for your community and local economy. Local food at markets is also better for you and often lower priced. Even at the same price, you’re getting a bargain because of the superior quality. Take an hour or 2 out of each week to check out your local farmer’s market.
Sam Asher writes at Best Investments for Beginners about how to invest and how to manage your money. You can also find more tips to help you save money when grocery shopping.