If you are someone that goes grocery shopping, which is most of us, then you are probably concerned about the rising price of food. Food is one of the things we spend most of our money on each month. Even though both of these things are true, there are several ways you can start saving money on groceries. Use these tips to fill your cart with budget-friendly, yet healthy food options.
- Plan ahead. Before going to the store, plan what meals you are going to prepare that week. Try including meals like soup, casseroles, and stir fries that can stretch into more portions. Also, check for what you already have and try to use those things first, before buying new stuff. Don’t forget your shopping list!
- Cut coupons. Check online, in the local paper, and at the store for sales and coupons. Also, many stores have loyalty cards for extra savings where you shop. There are also several smartphone apps that can get you more coupons and rebates for your shopping.
- Compare prices. Find the unit price on the shelf directly below the product and use it to compare different brands and sizes to find the most affordable option. You want to make sure you are paying the least amount of money for the most amount of food.
- Buy in bulk. It is often cheaper to buy foods like meat, bags of vegetables, and large packages of dry goods like rice, pasta, and beans in bulk.
- Buy in season. Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season can lower grocery costs significantly. Buying out of season foods will cost more because there is less of them and they are likely shipped there from far off.
- Go back to basics. Convenience foods such as frozen meals, precut fruits and vegetables, and instant potatoes, rice, and oatmeal cost more than if you made the items from scratch.
- Visit the freezer and canned good aisles. Frozen and canned produce are just as nutritious as fresh and they are usually cheaper for a larger quantity. Make sure to pick fruit without added sugar and syrup and low-sodium vegetables if possible.
- Find year-round favorites. Some foods are always available and are usually inexpensive year-round such as carrots, greens, potatoes, apples and bananas.
- Go lean with protein. Try eating beans instead of meat as a protein source to save money. Eggs are also a low-cost protein. Buy the large tubs of yogurt and mix in your own flavors. Make sure to buy meat and poultry when your store is have a big sale.
- Cook once and eat all week. Also known as meal-prepping, cooking a large batch of food and then reheating it and eating on it all week can save you money when you don’t have time to cook and would normally get takeout.
- Be creative. Spice up leftovers or mix up something new with what you already have.
- Drink water. You can save a lot of money by not buying so many juices, sodas, and other sugary and unhealthy beverages and just opting for water.
- Skip the junk. Save time money and calories by skipping the candy, chip, and cookie aisles.
- Stick to the list. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry to avoid buying extra foods you don’t need.
- Check the brand. Many times, store brands are cheaper than name brands. However, certain coupons can make the name brand even cheaper than the store brand. Just make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck.
It is no secret that grocery shopping can be expensive, but there are a ton of ways we can save money on food. By following some or all of these tips, you should start to see a difference in your grocery bill.
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Source: University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, 2019.
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