6 Easy Ways To Cut Down Your Grocery Bill
You might aim to go to the grocery store and only buy what you need, but that never seems to work out as planned. You’re either rushed or inconveniently hungry and all common cents goes out the window. Obviously, we can’t all be on the Extreme Couponing level, but there are simple ways to cut down your grocery bill, even if you’re a Whole Foods addict. Here’s your game plan.
1. Don’t Be A Brand Loyalist
Brand names are tempting. We’re constantly bombarded with ads that tell us brand names are simply better. This might be the case with certain products, but it’s not always the reality. Know when it’s ok to go generic and when you should stick with the brand name. Even chefs buy generic when it comes to things like essential baking goods. Bottom line, have an open mind and break out of your comfort zone if you want to save a little money. Most likely your pasta will taste the same.
2. Try Different Grocery Stores
You might be loyal to your corner market, but you could save yourself money by checking out other grocery stores in the area. There may be cheaper versions of your favorite items that other stores carry that you never knew. See which stores your friends go to. Add 5 or ten minutes to your trip and check out a store in another neighborhood. Being a creature of habit could be the reason your grocery bill is so steep.
3. Make A Game Plan
This step could be a little more time consuming than you’d like, but it’s worth it if you’re looking to cut back. Take ten minutes and make a plan of attack for the store. Take a quick look in your fridge and cabinets to see what you already have. Jot down a list of what you’re going to be cooking for the week — and note the products you actually need. Make sure you have enough time to prepare and eat what plan to buy. The last thing you want to do is stock up your fridge when you’re too busy to make dinner. The produce will go bad and there goes your hard-earned cash down the drain.
4. Pay With Cash
Paying with cash is a foolproof way for staying within your budget. These days everyone seems to stick with plastic, but that makes it really easy to give into impulsive spending. Chances are if you rely on your credit card, you’re going for that $9 jar of organic almond butter. Bring $40 in cash and only get what you need. Keep that credit card tucked in your wallet.
5. Download Coupon Apps
Thanks to smartphones, the days of coupon clipping are behind us. With all of the coupon apps out there, there’s really no excuse. Some of the most popular apps are Coupon Sherpa, Ibotta, Grocery IQ, Checkout 51 and SnipSnap. Smartphones also give you access to store-brand apps for major stores and retailers, where you can browse coupons and digitally load them at the register.
6. Buy Less Meat
Meat is expensive. If you want to cut down your grocery bill, splurge for the salmon, steak or chicken every couple of weeks. There are plenty of other ways to get your protein. You can make dishes with grains like quinoa, buckwheat, barley or farro. Eggs and dairy are solid protein sources. Have yogurt or a scrambled egg sandwich for lunch instead. Garbanzo beans, lentils, nuts and seeds are all alternative sources of protein, plus they’re healthier and relatively cheap. It’s also a good idea to shop along the perimeters of the store. A lot of grocery stores keep the fresh food on the outskirts and the brand names and more expensive products in the center.