15 tips to save money on groceries!
Don’t let your hard-earned money slip away! Learn how to save money on groceries at the supermarket.
This is, along with water, electricity, gas and telecommunications, one of the biggest monthly expenses of the home budget.
1. Set a monthly budget and divide it by the week
At the beginning of the year define how much you are willing to spend per month on groceries at the supermarket. Here I include every household item I need like detergents, personal hygiene, among others.
The amount you choose is not written in stone, you can change it anytime. However, try to stick with it, you may reach the conclusion that amount is enough.
Imagine you assign 200€ for spending that month, so you have 50€ to spend each week. If you think that you will exceed that amount, look at your list and think about the products that you could do without one more week or buy a cheaper brand.
2. Use what you have at home
Usually we have in the pantry and in the fridge or freezer products we rarely use. Organize your pantry and see what is there that you never use and think of recipes you could do that week.
Please take notice of the due date because it may have expired.
3. Plan your weekly meals and save money on groceries
Planning your weekly meals helps you buy only what you will consume that week, avoiding sending to the garbage fruits and vegetables that have gone bad.
It also allows you to spend money only on products that you do not have at home, taking advantage of what’s in the pantry.
4. Make a shopping list
If you did the weekly meals planning you can easily make a shopping list. this is another way to help you save money on groceries.
Stick to what is on the list, don’t buy anything else.
5. Use promotions safely
Look for the promotions only when you are planning your weekly meals or making your list. Otherwise, you will feel tempted to buy everything.
Almost all supermarkets have their promotions online or have a newsletter.
Take advantage of this opportunity to see what you want to buy and include it in your weekly meal planning.
You may even be able to do a rather expensive meal at low-cost because the products are on sale and within your budget.
Again, try not to exceed the budget previously set and be wary of the promotions because there are some shady practices out there. Some stores raise their prices a few days before the promotion and when they lower them you could be buying the item more expensive than it was in the first place.
6. Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach
Did you know that when we go to the supermarket on an empty stomach we buy more stuff?
Our stomach sends signals to the brain to say you’re hungry and so we have more difficulty in resisting temptations.
So, eat before you go shopping and you will save money on groceries.
7. Compare the price/l, the price/kg or price/un
Sometimes a product can seem cheaper than others but if we compare the price/l, the price/kg or the price/unit, it’s the other way around. This rule is specially important in the detergents and beauty products areas.
Imagine the following:
Product 1 has 200 grams and costs 3€
product 2 has 400 grams and costs 4€
Which one of the products is cheaper in price/kg?
To find out we need to calculate the price/kg of each product. Sometimes the price label already tells you that but if it doesn’t use the calculator in your phone and use the following rule:
For product 1 we have:
200 gr – 3€
1000 gr – X
where X = 3 x 1000/200 = 15€/kg
For product 2 we have:
400 gr – 4€
1000 gr – X
where X = 4 x 1000/400 = 10 €/kg
As you can see product 2 is the cheapest, even though you have to spend more money to buy it.
However, in the long run we can save money on groceries this way, being smart about it.
8. Do not buy directly in the promotions area
When there are promotions areas, the stores put there only what they want to sell immediately.
You should look for the corresponding corridor where there might be better prices for similar products, not on sale and/or cheaper.
9. Look at the top and bottom shelves
The products they put on the medium shelves are there to attract our attention because they are at our eye level.
So, look up and down and you will probably find similar products at better prices.
10. Buy the store brand when possible
Supermarket brand products are usually of lower quality than the originals but the difference is usually small, and the price difference is usually great.
So, try to see if you like the product, if it is worth the different price/quality, or if you prefer, buy the original product.
11. Buy food in bulk
Some supermarkets already have bulk isles, from teas to legumes and even treats, organic or not.
Usually, the products sold in bulk are cheaper and allow you to buy only the amount that you need.
Buying in bulk also allows you to help the environment by reducing the use of plastic because you can usually use paper bags. If the bags are plastic you can always reuse them.
12. Minimize your buying of processed food
I know it’s difficult, because these products simplify our lives.
However, they are less healthy, contain more sugars, fats, preservatives, flavorings, and are more expensive than doing them ourselves.
13. Don’t look at the shelves near the cash registers
They capture your attention and you end up buying expensive stuff you do not need.
14. Go by yourself to the store if you want to save money on groceries
In my experience every time I go with my daughter to the store I come out with things I wouldn’t normally buy.
A water bottle, a chocolate, a toy or a book. You name it.
Some of the products are cheap, others not so much, but all products bought beyond our previously well-defined budget make a hole in it. If your husband comes with you and he didn’t take part in building your list you will probably get out a bill larger than expected as well.
15. Don’t waste your groceries
Fruits and vegetables spoil very easily, so you should buy only what you need and knowing when you will use it is crucial.
Otherwise, you will throw some products away and that is money wasted, right?
What other methods do you use to save money on groceries?
Please comment below …