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The best way to save money on meals is to cook them at home, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of groceries rose by almost 12 percent by the end of 2022.
Even though the price of eggs and meat has gone up a lot, making food at home more expensive, you’re probably still better off buying groceries than getting takeout.
The right way to shop at the grocery store can help you save money.
Here’s how to save money on groceries if you’re shocked by the prices at the store.
1. Make a list of what you already have and what you need. Some people go to the store before taking stock of what they already have at home.
Check your fridge and pantry before you buy too many loaves of bread or gallons of milk.
Take a picture of what you already have or write down what you’ll need.
2. Don’t go shopping as often,Steve and Annette Economides of MoneySmartFamily.com say that it also helps to cut down on the number of times you go to the store.
The couple says that the less you go to the store, the less likely you are to buy something on the spot.
3. Don’t change your list. About those quick purchases:
Keeping to your grocery list can help you resist the urge to spend more than you had planned.
Think about going shopping by yourself so you can get in and out quickly and don’t have to deal with kids who want things that aren’t on the list or in your budget.How to Save Money on Groceries: 13 Tips to Try
Keep track of how you spend your money.
Find out how much you’ve spent across all your accounts, what bills are coming up, and how much you’re on track to save.
4. Buy the paper on Sunday (for coupons) Kurt Jetta, who started the retail and consumer analytics firm TABS Analytics, says that it is worth your money to subscribe to the Sunday paper.
He says that there are lots of buy-one-get-one-free grocery deals in the paper ads.
Look for coupons in the paper.
that work for the things you know you’re going to buy.
But stay away from promotions that have too many rules or are hard to use, says Jetta.
When you see deals like “buy one, get one half off,” you might be tempted to spend more money and buy more than you need or can use.
Don’t want to pay for the Post or Times on Sunday?
Check your mail for coupons for grocery stores.
5. Don’t buy groceries online. Subscriptions and online grocery services are convenient, but they can also be expensive.
Jetta warns that you might not always be able to find the size you want online and might have to pay more for a bigger size.
Some Amazon grocery orders are also filled by sellers who are not affiliated with Amazon.
There could be shipping costs for these, which would add to your bill.
6. Figure out your burn rate,Steve and Annette Economides say that your “burn rate” is how often you use up items.
They say to find out how long different products last and then stock up on deals based on that.
If you have room in your freezer, go ahead and buy a few extra chickens that are on sale.
But if your favorite bagged chopped salad is on sale and you buy more than you can eat before the expiration date, you’ll spend too much. How to Save Money on Groceries: 13 Tips to Try
7. Stick with the brands you like,Use the fact that you already have a favorite brand of potato chips or laundry detergent to your advantage. You can sign up for your favorite brands’ mailing lists or follow them on social media.
Deals and offers for Tide laundry detergent are sent straight to the inboxes of people who sign up for emails.
If you sign up for Spindrift’s mailing list, you can get 10% off your first order.
8. Give generic brands a try,But if you like Tide or Spindrift, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try other things.
For some things, you don’t even need to know the brand name.
Jetta says that “value” brands are less expensive than “premium” brands.
For example, if you don’t care about the hair product you use
9. Make smart use of credit cards,Check your credit cards to see if grocery shopping can earn you cash back or other rewards.
You’ll have to keep track of things like spending limits, possible annual fees, and categories that change.
But rewards credit cards can give you anywhere from 1% to 6% back, which could cut your food costs by hundreds of dollars a year.
To get the most out of your credit card, pay it off in full every month instead of carrying a balance.
If you don’t, interest costs could eat up your savings.
10. Get to know the stores in your area,Split your shopping between different stores to find the best deals at each one and to improve your system.
One week, you might go to Trader Joe’s to find good deals on things like ground coffee and frozen meals that are already made.
The following week, you’ll go to your local Aldi to get deals on center-store items like cereals and snacks that come in boxes.
Find the freshest meat and produce at the best price, and go to the wholesale club once a month for things you can stock up on, save, and use over time.
11. Think about joining a wholesale club, When we talk about wholesale clubs, they sell lots of food at low prices per unit, which is great for big families.
If you have room to store a lot of food or want to stock up on things like paper towels and toilet paper, you might want to join a store like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s Wholesale Club.
If you buy a lot at once, you should expect to spend more at first.
And don’t forget that you’ll have to pay a fee every year to be a member of the warehouse.
Before you join, make sure you’ll shop there enough to save more on groceries than the membership costs.
If you do, check out how much cheaper their gas is as well.
12. Pay attention to price per unit Think about what you’re getting for your money.
Near the product, the price per unit (ounce, pound, gram, etc.) is often written on a pricing display.
You also can use a unit price calculator to determine the cost per unit.
The information is helpful because some stores sell the same products in different sizes.
Be aware of “shrinkflation,” which is when the size of a jar of peanut butter changes but the price stays the same.
If you see it, you should switch to a brand that hasn’t shrunk.
Even in the same store, prices can change.
Jetta says that produce that is in season is cheaper because fruits and vegetables that aren’t in season might have extra costs added on.
13. Know how sales work Candy sales are big around holidays like Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween.
Shop the clearance section after the holidays are over if you want to get a good deal.
Seasonal items will be marked down a lot in stores, so you can stock up for cheap.
“The first week of the month is often the best time to shop at many stores,” he says.
Jetta attributes this to the salary cycle, as stores are more likely to try to attract customers after they get paid.. How to Save Money on Groceries: 13 Tips to Try