8 Tried-And-True Tricks To Saving Money At Your Grocery Store
Grocery shopping is always a budget vacuum. All of your self-control can go out the window when you see a jar of your favorite cashew butter or an expensive smoked gouda. If you’re one of the brave souls who still grocery shops instead of ordering through meal delivery subscriptions, here are some easy tricks you should keep in mind when you want to save a little cash.
1. Buy in bulk.
A car definitely comes in handy when you’re grocery shopping in bulk, but you can still shop for two or three weeks at a time without a car. You’re also more likely to find sales when you buy in bulk. This doesn’t mean you have to buy an entire cart’s worth of groceries at a time, you can pick and choose your buying battles.
2. Memorize the sale section.
Every grocery store has that sweet spot where all of the sale items hang out. It might be towards the registers, by the deli counter or smack in the middle of the produce aisle. Check out the sale section before anything else so you don’t end up buying the more expensive brands. Know where you’ll find the best deals in the store and see if there’s anything you can check off of your list for some extra savings.
3. Weigh your groceries.
Avoid a mini heart attack at the register and weigh your fruits and vegetables ahead of time. You might forget that scales actually exist in the grocery store, but fruits and vegetables priced by the pound can add up before you know it. Whether it’s fruit that’s out of season, produce that’s organic or some sort of exotic ingredient — you’ll end up paying a pretty penny if you’re not careful. Find that scale and make sure you haven’t gone completely overboard before you end up spending $12 on a few heirloom tomatoes.
4. Stay away from the toiletries.
Unless you’re shopping at Costo or a large-scale retail store, chances are toiletries are going to be on the pricey side. The smaller the grocery store, the more expensive the household items. Save your personal care shopping for the big stores like Target or WalMart.
5. Don’t overlook no-name brands.
Brand loyalists might have a hard time straying from their usual, but it’ll end up paying off in the end. A lot of the time, no-name brands are close to identical to your favorite branded products. We’re not talking about huge day-to-day savings here, but over a longer period of time, the dollars will add up. Here’s how to know when you should stick with the brand name or go generic.
6. Check out your pantry beforehand.
Before you run out to the store, be sure to check what you have in your pantry and your fridge. Don’t miss those spices buried deep in the back or that can of coconut oil hidden in the fridge. If you notice you have a package of rice noodles hidden in your pantry, you can build a meal around them, instead of completely reinventing the wheel with a whole new menu. Save yourself that walk of grocery store shame when you have to return an extra jar of oregano you just bought the week before.
7. Buy certain veggies frozen.
Fresh veggies aren’t always better. Despite what you may have been told, some frozen vegetables have about the same nutritional value as fresh produce. In some cases, frozen vegetables might have more nutrients and they’re cheaper. Frozen produce is picked at peak ripeness and frozen immediately, where fresh produce sits on the shelves until you buy it and the nutrient value decreases the longer it sits there.
8. Return items to the store if you’re unsatisfied.
Don’t let your day and budget be ruined by a grocery item that didn’t meet your standards. Check your grocery store’s return policy and get your money back. Stores like Kroger and Whole Foods have return policies that even take some already opened items back. And if you bought more than you needed, don’t let it go to waste. Return the unused items instead of potentially throwing them away once they expire.