Authorbio: Dominique Brown of YourFinancesSimplified.com wrote this article. You should subscribe to his blog and his video blog! He gives great financial tips for saving money.
Grocery shopping is a necessary evil for some and an enjoyable errand for others. Either way, it is something that we all have to do. Whether you are single or married, regular trips to the grocery are necessary to supply for the needs of each member of the household. The money we have to spend on groceries varies depending on the size and needs of your family.
For sure, bigger families require more supplies than smaller families, but even if you are single or have a small family, budgeting and proper allotment of cash is vital so that the grocery expenses will not be too high.
Here are some tips to minimize your grocery shopping expenses.
(Related Article – 5 Easy Steps to Budget Your Grocery Bill without Extreme Couponing)
- Always Make a List – Always make a list of what you need and if possible, prioritize it by starting your list with what you need the most and ending with what you need the least. With this, you can budget the amount of money you will bring. If you are working on a tight budget, eliminate the things on your list that you do not really need. If you do this, you will have more flexibility when it comes to buying what you and your family actually need.
- Create a budget – Keep track of a few shopping trips, where you only buy what you need, so that you can get an idea of how much you spend on average. If the numbers are acceptable, try to stay within that budget when you shop. If you think that the numbers are too high, look for ways (see the following tips) to trim your budget. One tip is to create a small budget for your “wants.” For example, you can give yourself $20 a shopping trip to buy things like junk food or other fun items. When you shop, you should try to shop within your estimated budget.
- Buy in Bulk – If you have a big family or if you buy something often, you might want to start buying in bulk. Still, before you buy something in bulk, you want to double check that it is in fact cheaper, which it most often is because many things are cheaper by volume. You can compute the bulk items’ cost per item by dividing the price by the number of items included in the set then comparing it to the price for a single item. Many stores will do this for you (by giving you the cost per ounce or the cost per item), you simply have to look closely at the price on the rack.
- Don’t Overbuy – Do not buy too much of anything especially if it is extremely perishable (like fruits and vegetables). Many families grocery shop for perishables, such as fruits, vegetables, bread, etc., on a weekly basis, and they shop for dry goods, such as canned goods, paper products, cleaning supplies, etc., on a monthly basis. This format might work for your family.
- Don’t Shop Hungry – Do not go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Studies show that people who go to the grocery store when they are hungry tend to buy more.
- Keep Track of Your Spending – You can do mental computations or bring a calculator, and this will help you keep track of how much you are going to spend when you are in the store. For example, if you have bought your needed items, but you still have some room in the budget, you might want to buy some chips and salsa or some cookies, or you might just want to save the extra money.
- Check Different Stores – Take the time to look at different grocery stores for the prices of the items you need. You have to shop, but you can choose to only shop in stores that sell most of your necessities at a low price.
- Take Advantage of Bargains – Watch out for offers and bargains. Take advantage of freebies, buy one get one free offers and the like. Not all stores offer the same bargains or freebies at the same time.
- Clip Coupons – Check your local newspaper and check online for coupons and remember to bring them along when you shop. Many people find that keeping the coupons in their car is a good idea.
- Buy Store Brands – Look for store brand items because they tend to be cheaper than the other brands, and they are often just as good as the more expensive brands. Try to resist the allure of colorful and creative packaging. Remember, you are buying the product and not the advertisement. Most often, the brands that advertise more and have extravagant packaging are more expensive.
- Balance Quality vs. Price – You do not want to be fooled by overly cheap items, and you always want to balance quality and price. Sometimes buying cheap items with poor quality will actually cost you more.
- Make a Shopping Schedule – Either weekly or monthly trips to the grocery may be convenient for you, but do limit your trips as much as you can. You should plan ahead by keeping track of your supplies at home and adding items to your list when you run out of something. If you add what you need and how much you need as you go along, you will be less likely to forget something when you go shopping. When you do not forget items, you make fewer trips to the store, which saves you time and money. .
Grocery shopping is a necessity, and it is important to allot part of your income and of your time for this. The only thing you can do to make buying food and sundries more affordable is to save as much as you can by following these tips and others.
What preparations do you make before going to the grocery store? Do you have any tips or tricks that weren’t included in this list?