Groceries are a regular expense that most families encounter every week. Being able to find some tips to save money on groceries sometimes means you can afford that extra item that your family will love.
Meanwhile learning about the available coupons for grocery shopping means you can often find larger size items and stock up in advance.
In this article, we’ll go over the smart tips to save coupons and get the best value for your money on groceries.
Real Cost of Groceries
Going shopping for groceries is one of the standard activities occurring weekly for most families. Sometimes it can be enjoyable to browse the shelves and grab items that catch our eye as we walk down the shopping isles until our shopping carts are satisfyingly full.
But then the experience changes when you are standing in front of the cashier, checking out all the things you got from the grocery store. The magical shopping experience fades away, and you end up scolding yourself for buying items that were unnecessary in the first place.
To get yourself out of this cycle, here are simple tips on how to save money on groceries and household items.
16 Tips to Save Money on Groceries
1. Create a weekly menu plan
Creating a weekly plan of food for your family’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner can enable you to save money. But more importantly, you can also ask your family members what they would like and take that into consideration during your weekly menu planning.
Having a weekly menu plan means that you can ensure some variety in the meals over the course of the week.
Your menu plan can serve as your basis for the weekly grocery shopping list.
With the menu plan in place, and a grocery shopping list you can now identify the coupons you need to get the best value on ingredients.
2. Take inventory of your fridge and pantry
Consider scheduling time each month to take inventory of your fridge and food pantry.
Aside from the obvious reason that you can dispose of the items that have already expired, you might be surprised in the middle of your inventory to discover that there are long-forgotten items in your fridge that are still useful.
Plus, this will also help you know what you have and do not have, and you will have an idea of what ingredients you need to exclude buying on your next trip to the grocery store.
Possibly there are items that will expire soon that you need to use before buying more.
You will be better prepared to make your shopping list knowing that you have done an inventory on a regular basis.
3. Consider cooking and freezing
There’s a big trend in cooking at home and then setting up smaller portions that can be frozen. Anyone in the family who needs to grab lunch or dinner can pull a small packet from the freezer, quickly heat it, and enjoy a home-cooked meal.
This approach is called preparing home-cooked “freezer meals.”
Since you are learning about smart couponing, you might be able to buy a larger size or bulk ingredients.
Combining the savings from couponing and bulk buys with preparing freezer meals means your family will be saving even more money while having delicious home-cooked meals available on demand.
4. Monitor food expiration dates
It’s often helpful to organize any items that will be expiring soon into their own section of the pantry or fridge. Put them up-front so you know that these items should be used before the ones in the back.
As you see items that are going to expire and you want to replace, add them to your list of possible coupons to search for.
5. Make coupon hunting fun
Being a smart shopper and using coupons means you are paying less than other customers for the same product.
Other shoppers might not realize how much you are saving over time, but you know that every cent counts. You may only get a small discount per purchase, but you have to do the math in a wider sense.
Coupons can actually help save you hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.
6. Use a shopping calculator app
There are many shopping calculator applications that can help you control your expenses. All you have to do with it is to sum up all the goods you got in your shopping cart, and that will give you the total cost of the items you have before you check out.
If you can't install the app, you can carry a little calculator with you. There's nothing to be ashamed of with using a calculator while doing your grocery shopping.
Your goal is to be more responsible with your spending, stick to a target budget, and hold yourself accountable for whatever expense you make.
7. Purchase non-food items at discount stores
Items like laundry detergent, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, and other non-food items are actually cheaper if you buy them at a discount store compared to buying them at the grocery store.
Often coupons will indicate the best place to buy specific items, based on where they will be accepted.
8. Keep an eye open for price differences
You will often notice that some locations consistently offer lower prices on fresh goods, while others have better prices on storable items.
Coupons are helpful here because you can also know that some shops are accepting coupons and that might make the price lower than the “regular price” which is more than other locations.
With the coupon in hand, you are saving money even when shopping where the item would normally be a higher price. It’s one of the best tips to save money on groceries.
9. Don't shop when you're hungry
It is believed that you are more likely to buy more foods when you are hungry.
So leave your home with a full stomach before going to grocery stores to avoid making poor shopping decisions.
This way, you can resist the temptation of grabbing unnecessary items that you didn't need or never planned to purchase initially.
10. Shop with a smaller cart or basket
This tip should be applied when you are doing unplanned shopping.
Using a small cart or a basket can also help resist the temptation of buying more than you should.
Be aware of planned versus unplanned shopping trips. Planned shopping usually means you have created a specific list of what you want in advance, whereas unplanned is often based on someone’s last-minute request or unexpected guests coming over that evening.
When you are doing unplanned shopping, having a smaller shopping cart will focus your buying and reduce the chance of buying more than you should.
11. Don't shop if you’re tired
Shopping while you feel tired and preoccupied from a busy day may not do well for you as this may affect your focus on making wise buying decisions.
A smart shopping approach is to plan your shopping for a specific time each week (for example Saturday morning). Try to get to the shop a bit early when the product is still fresh and you have the widest range of choices.
You will also have more energy and make better shopping choices.
Having coupons in hand will make the experience even more fun - because you know you are getting better deals than other less careful shoppers.
12. Pick up items from bottom shelves and outer aisles
Did you know that grocery stores intentionally put their expensive products at eye level, as this is more likely for most shoppers to pick up? Try to confirm that next time when you go grocery shopping.
That's why the cheaper products are placed in the bottom shelves and outer aisles.
Coupons also help you in this area, because you know in advance what specific brands and sizes you are looking for. You will be able to locate the items you need instead even if they are a bit further down because you have a specific coupon in hand.
13. Purchase generic brands
If you are not particular about a product's brand, you can go for the generic ones that are less costly than the branded ones while serving the same purpose.
Alternatively, a coupon can actually make a branded product less expensive than a generic one!
Having good coupons in your hand can sometimes feel like you have magical powers.
14. Buy produce in-season
Take advantage of seasonal produce from time to time, especially for fruits and vegetables.
Produce that is in its peak season is commonly cheaper, especially in the farmer's market.
For instance, it is common to find watermelons, tomatoes, or peaches on sale during the summer season compared to during winter when their prices go up.
Besides that they are cheaper during its peak season, they are fresher and even more nutritious!
15. Buy food in bulk
Buying food in bulk is beneficial as this will reduce both your food waste and packaging waste and eliminate the need to use single-use plastic.
This applies to fast-moving items in your kitchen because you know your family will use them rapidly. It also applies to items that have a long shelf life.
Some items to consider buying in bulk include: whole grains, pasta, oats, honey, canned fish, butter, condiments, sugar, salt, and more.
When buying in bulk, coupons can dramatically increase your savings because larger size items often have the best coupon discounts available.
16. Compare prices by weight
Instead of looking at the price of a grocery item, you should also focus on their weight.
Do this by comparing the cost of similar items per 100g.
For instance, if you want to purchase a pack of powdered milk, and you found two different types priced at $5 and $7. You might just instinctively choose the less expensive one.
However, looking at the price by weight, you discover that while the $7 powdered milk costs $1 per 100g, while the $5 pack costs $2 per 100g.
You are actually getting a better deal on the $7 item when you compare the price by weight.
A coupon could increase the difference even more dramatically. The price per weight could be even lower after you apply the coupon.
Why Sunday Coupon Inserts?
Groceries are a basic necessity. But it is best that we need to know how to spend our money wisely on these things.
If you want to save money and stick to your target budget, following these tips combined with coupons will lower your expenses on groceries.