Looking for ways to cut what you spend on groceries? Here’s how you can stretch your budget even further.
When the budget gets tight, people immediately look for ways to cut what they spend on groceries. Eating is a fact of life. You need to consume healthy foods to function at your peak. But are you spending too much money buying groceries each week?
So how much should you spend each week? Your personal budget will determine how much cash you can spare. That magic number may fluctuate depending on your disposable income and dietary preferences. If you find that buying groceries puts your finances in the red, it may be time to try these tricks to help lower your total food costs.
Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
Processed foods cost more. While that frozen dinner may seem like a great way to save time in the kitchen, it’s not the best way to save money. If you want to cut back on your food costs, you need to learn how to shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
The next time you head out to the store, take a good look at the layout. The majority of grocery stores feature fresh foods around the perimeter and convenience foods in the aisles. Make it a point to avoid the aisles as much as possible. You should find everything you need to make healthy, nutritious meals located around the perimeter.
Start by filling your cart with fresh fruits and vegetables. Many grocery stores place the produce section at the front of the store. If you need to pick up bread, you should find the bakery section here as well. Fresh meat from the butcher’s counter can also save you a small fortune. Once a company packages a product and slaps their name on the label, the price goes up astronomically. That’s why perimeter shopping is best for those on a tight budget.
Nothing Wrong with Clipping Coupons
Coupons are everywhere. Not only do most Sunday newspapers contain coupon inserts, but you can also find these money-saving offers online. Food manufacturers want to entice shoppers to purchase their newest products. Offering a few cents off your purchase is one of the most effective ways to influence your shopping habits.
However, just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you should use it. Avoid clipping coupons for products you normally don’t buy. For example, if granola bars aren’t your thing, buying them because you can save a dollar won’t change your mind.
Instead, you should only clip coupons for products you want or need. To get even more bang for your buck, pair your coupons with in-store sales. Grocery stores run stores on a rotating basis. Make sure you check out the current promotions before you head to the store. If something you need is on sale and you also have a coupon, it’s time to stock up!
Never Shop on an Empty Stomach
Have you ever visited a restaurant when your stomach was growling? You probably wanted to eat everything on the menu. The same theory holds true when you go grocery shopping. When you’re hungry, your eyes become bigger than your stomach. As a result, you may end up spending more money on food that you don’t need.
Even if you don’t want to save money, you may end up making poor food choices if you go shopping hungry. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, consumers are more likely to purchase high-calorie products when they shop on an empty stomach. And, as previously stated, these convenience foods also cost more at the register.
Avoid browsing the aisles of your favorite grocery store on an empty stomach. If you do, you’ll find yourself tempted by everything you see. That new, mouth-watering treat in the frozen food section may even end up in your cart. It’s tough to stick to a budget if you want to eat everything in sight. Instead, schedule your next shopping trip after lunch or dinner. Not only will you be less likely to pick up unneeded items, but you can also burn off those calories you just consumed.
Always Make a List and Check It Twice
Why do you need to go to the grocery store? If you only need to pick up a gallon of milk and a few tomatoes, make sure you only leave with those items. Consumers often spend more than intended at the grocery store because they don’t adhere to a strict list. Before you leave the house, make sure you jot down the essentials you need to buy.
No, you don’t need a pencil and pad of paper to keep a list. Most smartphones have a note app where you can add items to an electronic shopping list. Cross off each item as you place it in your cart, and avoid picking up anything you didn’t come to buy.
Strive to go grocery shopping as infrequently as possible. If you discover you need to make several trips each week to pick up filler items, make sure you add them to your stock-up list. Each time you enter the grocery store, you’re more likely to spend money outside your budget. Keeping a list of the things you really need is the best way to avoid overspending.
Make a Weekly Grocery Budget
You need to know how much money you can spend each week on groceries. It’s easy to blow your budget at the grocery store, so you need to know how much cash you actually have available. Never spend more than what you can afford.
The average consumer spends 6% of their income on groceries. If you bring home $4,000 each month, for instance, you should set aside only $60 per week for food. That isn’t a huge number. And, if you make less, that amount will decrease. It’s important to track how much money you spend each time you go grocery shopping to ensure you don’t break the bank. Using a debit card or cash is another way to stay honest with yourself about how much money you spend.
Even if you’re working to cut what you spend on groceries, you may need a title pawn to help you in the meantime. Come into Title Tree, and we can help you get the cash you need.