Everyone is looking for ways to cut down their food spending, so here are six quick tips to help you cut down your grocery bill.
1. Make a Budget, and Stick With It
We hear this all the time from financial advisors. But planning is key to saving, especially when it comes to inconsistent parts of your budget, like groceries.
Setting this number is easy. If you follow the 50-30-20 budget, for example, 50% of your budget will go to your essential expenses, like housing and food. Look at what you typically spend on food in a month. Then calculate what 50% of your income is, subtract your housing expenses and other basic needs, and carve out a number in that 50% for your grocery budget.
2. Plan Your Meals Every Week
Ultimately, wasted food is wasted money. Planning is essential to saving.
Think ahead about what each week has in store for you: Do you have meals you need to make for other people? Are you going out to dinner one night? What meals can you make that can be leftovers?
Use this to make a meal plan for yourself and build your grocery list.
3. Shop In-Season
When you’re at the supermarket, be mindful of what foods are in-season. When produce is out-of-season, they cost more because there aren’t as many of that product. But produce is abundant when it’s in season, which drives down the price.
Many guides online tell you the best produce to buy for the time of year. The Seasonal Growers Guide, for example, lets you look up the best produce in your state for every time of year. You can also use this guide to plan your meals.
4. Quick Aisle Math
Calculating the unit price of an item can help you figure out what products you can get more of for less. It’s usually listed on the shelves of the grocery store. But if it’s not, the math is simple.
Divide the product’s price by the quantity you receive on the package. For example, if a bottle of ketchup costs $3.17 and is 38 ounces, it costs about 0.08 cents per ounce. Then you can compare that to other products on the shelf.
5. Shop Store Brands
According to The Penny Hoarder, swapping name brands for store labels can cut your grocery bill by up to 45%. Generic products are cheaper because you’re not paying for name-brand product marketing. But products from paper towels to Oreo dupes are created to be almost the same.
Consider which products on your list you could swap for store-brand items.
6. Buy Frozen
Buying frozen food can help your food last longer, eliminate waste, and save money. Buying berries, bread, and meat can go a long way if you buy them frozen.
Buying fresh products may be essential for some recipes. But consider which items on your shopping list you can buy frozen.
We’ve got plenty more tips for shopping smarter at the grocery store. Listen to our Dream, Plan, Live episode to learn how to be a savvy shopper.