It’s so easy to overspend on groceries that there are plenty of ways to cut back. However, you’ll want to pace yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed — try one of the following savings tips at a time.
One of the hardest parts of shopping is realizing which products you want and which ones your body actually needs. Keep yourself from buying anything you don’t need.
Forget Frozen Food
We all have these days when it seems easier to buy a frozen pizza or lasagna rather than prepare a delicious homemade soup from scratch. But replacing frozen products with homemade cuisine is a big money saver.
Don’t Shop Hungry
Many people know this rule in the abstract but manage to forget it in practice. Try to have at least a snack right before going to the supermarket. And if you’re feeling emotional, save the shopping for another time so you don’t overbuy in order to swallow your feelings.
When you put products in a shopping basket you don’t have the grand total of all everything just a mouse click away. Yes, you can calculate the approximate cost in your head, but it’s not the same thing. Shopping online gives you much more granular detail about prices — plus you might find it easier to put things back if you don’t have to face a human cashier.
Buy Fresh, Not Packaged Foods
Cheese, meat and vegetables that are prepackaged are much more expensive than exactly the same products without a package, yet there’s little qualitative difference between the two.
Pay by Cash Instead of Credit Card
Whenever you use a credit card at any store, it’s much easier to overspend. When using a credit card, you lose the feeling that the budget is limited. A debit card is a nice compromise because it limits you to spending only what you have.
Use Grocery Coupon Apps
There are a lot of grocery coupon apps for mobile devices available, including Ibotta, Snap, Key Ring, and Shopmium. Choose one and save money.
Readers, what tricks do you use to try to cut back on grocery spending?
Jackie Cohen is an award winning financial journalist turned turned financial advisor obsessed with climate change risk, data and business. Jackie holds a B.A. Degree from Macalester College and an M.A. in English from Claremont Graduate University.