One of the best ways to ensure you have money left over for fun activities is to stick to a grocery shopping budget. But when you’re wandering the aisles, it’s easy to get to the checkout with boxes of cookies, exotic fruits, and bags of chips you had no intention of buying. Instead, follow these tips to save money on your grocery shopping.
- Use Reusable Bags
While of course, this is good practice for the planet, it also keeps you from buying too much. If you only have two bags, you can only buy the number of items that will fit in those bags, Of course, you can always get an extra bag if there’s an emergency. But as you toss things in the basket, keep tabs on whether it will all fit on the way home.
2. Make a List and Stick With It
Meal planning isn’t for everyone. But if you want in the store without a plan, you’re much more likely to end up with things you don’t need. Check your cupboards before you go and take inventory on what you need. And note what you don’t! If you have 3 bags of pasta, make a note not to grab anymore.
Try not to deviate the list as much as possible. This will also cut down on food waste, especially if you’re prone to picking up random produce that you never get a chance to actually cook.
3. Give Yourself a Routine Splurge
Of course, you’ll be tempted by something at the grocery store. And if you only let yourself buy beans, rice, and vegetables, you might be even more tempted to splurge on too many cookies.
Instead, establish a low-spend splurge that you allow yourself every time you shop. Maybe it’s a favorite bottled drink, inexpensive flowers, or even a piece of cake. Give yourself the freedom to “treat yourself,” without going overboard.
4. Track Toiletries Separately
If you’re struggling to stay on budget at the store, make sure you aren’t accidentally counting the cost of your shampoo and soap with your actual food items. If necessary, ask the cashier to do two different transactions, one with food and one with toiletries. That way it’s easy to check your spending against your actual grocery budget.
5. Go to the Store Once a Week
A once a week shopping trip is enough of a difference to ensure you have fresh food that won’t go bad by your next trip. It helps you to wait one more week for non-essentials you may be tempted to toss in your cart when you pass by them. Adopt the mindset of, “I can get this next week if I find I need it then.” You will be less likely to needlessly purchase and restock items, reducing this food waste. Your next grocery trip is never so far off that you can’t wait for certain items.
If you have a lot of trouble being distracted by all the tasty options, going once a week will cut down on your opportunities to splurge.
6. Don’t Shop Around
Yes, it can be tempting to follow the sales from store to store to get the best price on something. But generally, the time and transportation costs of this do not greatly outweigh the savings when you are shopping on a weekly/regular basis. If there is a store having an amazing deal on something special, by all means, make the trip. Your best move is to select a regular grocery store that consistently offers the best prices on the things you buy the most.