10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
If you’re like me, you think that you spend too much money on groceries. Most of the time when I buy groceries, I find I’m the worst offender at over-buying which causes me to throw out a lot of food a week later. Over the years I’ve worked very hard at cutting my bad habits of over-buying and wasting food. Here’s a list that’s worked for me to cut my grocery bill by 20%.
- Eat before you shop. You don’t have to eat before you shop but I find it very helpful not to shop on an empty stomach. I find myself needed to ask the question “Do I really need this?” a lot less.
- Join couponing sites. There are a lot of couponing and deal sites that can help you score a good deal (and sometimes free stuff!). A lot of grocery stores have a coupon board right when you walk in the store. I like to check there to see if anything I’ll be buying is listed. For Canadians, here are a few of my favourite websites that are worth a browse:
- Stick to your list. I’m guilty for deviating 9 times out of 10 from my list. If you manage to stick to your list, you can save a lot of money. Try using apps like Out of Milk (android link) to help build your list (and so you don’t have to bring a pen!)
- Shop around the outside of the store. Everything you need (most of the time) can be found on the outside of the store. A lot of the stuff in the aisles are junk or dry goods that you’ll only really need to pick up once a month.
- Meal plan. I’ve found it to help immensely to plan your meals throughout the week. It’s hard to stick to it sometimes since plans change on the fly (e.g. significant other working late). But I’ve noticed that it helps keep me focused on what I really need.
- Only buy what you can fit in your basket. I’ve found this strategy to be effective. I realize that it’s difficult to do when you have to shop for a family of 4+ but if you like your food fresh and are a frequent shopping like me (2-3 times a week) then I would recommend this. As soon as you can’t carry anymore, you’ll have to checkout or put something back.
- Watch the register. Keep an eye on the register when you’re ringing in your purchases. I’ve gotten some free (or cheaper) things before because some items were mis-priced. E.g. a carton of milk was priced at $2.49 but rang up at $4.49. SCOP (Scanning Code Of Practice) [Canada Only] states that if an item rings up for more, you are entitled to get it for free (up to a maximum of $10.00). It’s also a good idea in case you read the price tag wrong (don’t you hate it when people move an item to the wrong shelf?)
- Join the store’s points program. Fortinos, NoFrills, ShoppersDrugMart, and many others offer a store points program. These points add up very quickly. If you sign up for the mailing lists they also mail you coupons and bonus points on particular products. I’ve gotten hundreds of dollars in free groceries using these programs.
- Look at flyers for trends. I always buy my eggs and milk at Shoppers Drug Mart. I’ve noticed that it’s always much cheaper to buy there than at any of the grocery stores. So I like to make a stop and pick up these essentials while I buy my produce at designated grocery stores.
- Don’t always buy the bigger product. I had my mind set on “I get more value if I buy the bigger one” for years. But the problem with this thought process is that if you only need 250 ml ($2) and you end up buying 500ml ($3 – “I save $1!”), you end up throwing out the remainder out – which means you spent $1 more than you should have.
#6 is enlightening!