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When you’re trying to save money, you need to evaluate every part of your budget. Your grocery budget is a goldmine for savings as long as you avoid these mistakes!
Save on groceries by avoiding these common mistakes. You can save money, and have a huge impact on your monthly spending, all without starting a side hustle.
Most households spend upwards of $200 a week on groceries, even people who are only buying for one or two people can easily drop $100 every few days between groceries and fast food.
Many people have their go-to shopping list that is a mix of comfort food and pantry staples. But this buying habit can wreak havoc on your grocery bill.
To save on groceries, buy the fresh food that is in season. Buying vegetables and fruits over pantry snacks can almost immediately have a huge impact on your grocery bill.
But when you put your focus into buying what’s in season, not only will you save money but the produce will likely last longer in your fridge too.
Vary up your shopping list and mix up what you cook at home. In January buy cabbage and potatoes. But in April choose cauliflower, and avocado.
Summer is easy to identify what’s in season as these fruits are hard to find any other time of year! When December comes around stock up on squash, broccoli, and figs.
2. Buying Packaged Meat
Packaged meat isn’t a sin, but you could unknowingly be paying a much higher price because of fat, gristle, and bone. Instead, head on over to the butcher’s counter.
The butcher can give you a much higher quality cut of meat, and you won’t get stuck paying for the weight of the bone either!
You can get everything from ground chicken to roast from your butcher’s counter. The only difference for some people is that it might mean they need to change where they shop.
If your current grocery store doesn’t have a butcher on staff, then hunt one down! Sometimes the best prices are from an exclusive butcher’s shop.
Always price out the competition when it comes to a high priced item like meat. Buying from a butcher can also open the door to purchasing meat in bulk.
3. Falling Prey to “Fresh is Best”
Okay, buying what’s in season is best, but buying fresh produce for the sake of “fresh is best” is a waste of cash.
Save on groceries buy heading over to the freezer aisle.
4. Shopping at Eye Level
Get used to standing on your tippy toes and kneeling down because that’s where all the good prices are hiding. Anytime you shop at eye level you’re playing in to superstore marketing 101.
Grocery stores and every other retail store for that matter, place the worst priced items right between shoulder and eye level. That makes these items easy to grab and easy to see.
But when you break this habit and start looking around for the best price, you’ll do some major slashing to your grocery bill.
The only way to get away from shopping at eye level is to keep reminding yourself to stop. There’s no trick or tip to make this transition easy.
Grocery stores will put the faux sale items right at this range with bright colored tags to grab your attention and distract you from the nearby prices.
Many people have turned to ordering their groceries through delivery services or even online. For people in certain areas, you can grocery shop and have it delivered to your door in just a few hours.
Shopping for groceries online has a few forums including Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh.
These options have people in urban areas saving an unbelievable amount on groceries because they can shop for the lowest per unit cost instead of falling into classic grocery store marketing traps.
5. Brand Loyalty
Everyone has that one thing that they refuse to get a different version of, and if it’s anything in your grocery cart then you’re missing out some huge savings.
The mistake of brand loyalty is something we’re probably all guilty of, even you. The resolution doesn’t mean only buying terrible off brands either.
Buying store brand can be very different from purchasing third party brands. Stores will often buy product from reputable companies such as Stouffers or Lays and repackage them in the store brand packaging.
Avoid third party brands such as Mother Goose, an alternative for a wide variety of chips.
The one time that brand loyalty can pay off is when you’re using coupons. Big brands will occasionally issue worthwhile coupons.
Brand Loyalty Is Excusable When Involving A Good Coupon
For the good coupons keep an eye out in your Sunday paper or try to find manufacturer’s coupons online.
Go to Coupons.com for a massive number of coupons that you can use at almost any store!
But, between coupon opportunities avoid most major brands if at all possible. It may take a while to find alternative brands that you prefer.
When looking for new brands, buy in smaller batches. Buying in bulk is almost always the best way to save on groceries.
But there isn’t any sense in buying in bulk if you’re taking a chance on a brand, you’re unfamiliar with, especially if you’re shopping at places such as Aldi.
If you feel unable to stray from the brands you know and love, then consider purchasing the recurring items in bulk when they are on sale.
6. Flying by The Seat of Your Stomach and Making Impulse Purchases
It’s the first lesson many people learn when they start grocery shopping for themselves. Then people continue to learn this lesson again and again… don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
Stopping at a fast food place or local snack shop for a small meal can end up saving you money at the grocery store.
Impulse buying is the worst way to ruin your grocery budget. Save on groceries by going in to the store with a plan and a full stomach.
Avoid Impulse Purchases
To avoid impulse buying you can try these tips on top of eating a little snack before going to the store:
- Make a list
- Allow for a treat item
- Plan out a menu for the week ahead of you
- Only go shopping once a week
Starting a shopping trip with a list can be a huge gamechanger if you’re not already in the habit. Separate your list into categories that will help you navigate the store and stay focused.
A shopping list can help you eliminate unnecessary items, or items that you know regularly go to waste.
The trick of giving yourself a treat item can help you avoid the many other temptations in the store. If you know you’re already getting a candy bar, soda, or box of frozen waffles it can be easy to put down the pizza or impulse bagel and cream cheese purchase.
Impulse purchases are often the items that are going to offer you an unhealthy option throughout the week, or they will sit in fridge untouched. A treat is something that you plan on consuming once and right away.
Planning a menu is another great way to keep yourself away from making impulse decisions. If you know what you’re going to cook you can be sure to get everything you need in one trip.
When planning out your weekly menu and writing your shopping list you can think of all the small things you might need and check your pantry before you go shopping.
Finally, only go shopping once a week. Building the good habit of only going shopping once can keep you from running to the store for things you don’t really need.
Working with a list and a menu can help reduce your shopping trips. Every time you enter the store it’s a minefield of impulse possibilities.
7. Not Using Cashback Apps
Cashback apps are quickly replacing loyalty cards, but the great thing is that you can combine them together. Shop your favorite store, use your loyalty card there in addition to any coupons you have and still get cashback!
If you are trying to figure out couponing and can’t seem to get that extra boost, then you need a cashback app.
Ibotta is easy to use and can even help you get into the habit of building a list before you go to the store.
To use Ibotta or similar cashback apps you select your favorite store and then go through their offerings. Usually you can find popular name brands, selections on fresh produce and frozen foods too.
After you make your selections, you scan the barcode when you get home and take a picture of the receipt as a proof of purchase.
The apps can take a day or two to process the request for cashback, but you’ll see that these little purchases add up quickly.
A great way to make money while you’re pacing through the aisles of any grocery store is with Sweatcoin. With Sweatcoin, you earn double rewards – for walking around a grocery store and getting more fit by walking!
8. Choosing the “Cheap” Stores
A grocery outlet or Aldi can save you a ton of money on your grocery budget, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always the cheapest place to shop.
Watch out for coupons and discounts as they roll out to be sure that you’re getting the most out of your grocery budget.
The cheap stores also tend to make impulse purchases even more enticing. Ever notice that people walk out of the dollar store with ten dollars worth of candy and not a single thing they needed?
Before deciding which stores to shop at consider:
- What items you need
- Whether you’re purchasing meat or not
- Available coupons
While you are already considering making a list, planning a menu and heading over to the butcher’s counter instead of buying packaged meat, you might not have thought about convenience.
If you’re driving out of your way to get to your favorite grocery store considering limiting the trips to as few a month as possible. Inconvenient trips to the grocery store can have you wandering the aisles aimlessly not wanting to drive back home.
Choose the cheap stores that deliver value, but whenever possible, chose the stores that are convenient, carry quality produce, and have great coupons or sales.
Wondering how to save on groceries at Walmart or Target? Coupons are the only way to make it work.
9. Starting in the Center
This mistake is another grocery store marketing tactic. Have you noticed that it’s easiest to start shopping in the center of the store where they hold all the sugary and packaged foods?
They do this to keep you away from the edges where you will surely need things such as fresh produce, dairy and meat.
By drawing you into the center of the store you’ll give in to the many impulse options and even tire yourself out shopping, so you grab more items from shoulder height.
Start on the edges of the store and shop inward grabbing the things you need from the center aisles as you go down the edges. This tactic will cut time off your shopping trips and help you stick to your list.
Staying at the edges will also help you stay away from over processed foods and build better eating habits.
10. Rushing for The Sale Items
Surprise, surprise, grocery stores have another trick up their sleeves and it’s the almighty sale. Keep an eye on things you regularly purchase to realize which sale is worthwhile and which ones to avoid.
Sales are the double-edged sword because the weekly ads do have some really good deals. Create a list of go-to items that always end up on your shopping list and keep tabs on what you typically pay for them.
When you know what you pay for these items you can quickly and easily decide if your weekly ad flyer has any good deals.
So, break the habit and don’t drop everything you’re doing to rush out for a grocery store sale just because the flyer says it’s a good price!
With coupons and cashback apps you might be able to get better prices on preferred items.
11. Shopping on The Weekend
This mistake is not something that most people have caught onto yet, but it can have a drastic impact on your bill at the register.
It shouldn’t surprise you that people spend more the longer they’re in the stores and weekends are the busiest time for grocery stores.
So, you’re in the grocery store with a ton of other people and you’re going through aisles trying to wait for the lines to go down all while adding to your cart.
Instead, shop during the weekdays or very early on the weekend mornings. Unlike gas stations, the prices don’t really vary day by day.
But, hitting these low points for the grocery store can get you in and out quickly with minimal impulse purchases.
There is another major section of the week to avoid and it’s all day on Thursday. Nearly every grocery store lets out their weekly ad on Wednesday with their deals starting on Thursday morning.
Every Thursday, grocery stores fill up with stay-at-home parents. Avoid this time at all costs.
If you’re looking to avoid actually going in to a grocery store at all, then consider using Instacart.
Sign up for Instacart for easy grocery delivery any day of the week. You can find your favorite stores, and everything you need from your grocery list.
Save on Groceries and More
You can save money, make money on the side and even hone your skills on creating a passive income which is one of the best ways to build wealth.
There are valuable resources available and you can make significant changes in your daily activities.
Saving money on groceries is a positive step in the right direction for anyone looking to change how they view and manage their finances. Do you have any tips or tricks that helped you save on groceries?
Comment below to share how you took control of your finances or how you made major changes to your grocery budget.
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