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How to Save Money on Groceries

women grocery shopping.

The average monthly grocery bill can be up to $411 per household which can come close to $5,000 for the year. That can be upwards to a $1,000 month even if you do operate off a moderate to liberal budget. Next to basics like housing and utilities, grocery expenses can take a sizable chunk out of your monthly spend. To help cut those costs down, here are some quick tips to consider when planning that next grocery trip.

1. Meal plan based on weekly specials. One easy way to blow your grocery budget is to shop hungry. When you’re on your way home after a long day, it can be tempting to splurge on ready-made dinners and other prepackaged food items. Weekend meal planning and prepping can make it easier for you to cook healthy meals at home each night, rather than grabbing a more expensive ready-made item. When doing your meal planning, check weekly specials. Depending on the week, grocery stores may have different fish, chicken or meat deals. When you know in advance what’s on sale, you can plan your main meals around these specials.

2. Price compare. While some grocery stores may have a reputation for costing more than others, it can still be helpful to price compare between your local stores. You may be surprised to discover basic items are less expensive at certain stores thanks to weekly deals or coupon specials. One option for price comparing is to use a small price-book. Each week during your grocery shopping, record the cost of your items including the size or quantity. Note when certain items are on sale. When you go to a different grocery store, you can pull out the price-book to do a quick cost check to see if you should make a purchase or wait.

3. Pay attention to weekly sales cycles. As you start tracking prices, you may also notice how certain stores offer cyclical weekly deals. For example, you might notice that tuna fish cans seem to go on sale every five to six weeks or that bulk goods are often on sale at the end of the month. If you’re low on these items, you can use this information to determine whether it’s worth waiting for a potential sale or if you should go ahead and purchase the item now.

4. Be strategic about coupon use. Coupons can be a helpful way to save money on grocery purchases. Even if you just saved $5 off groceries every week, you’d end up saving $260 per year. However, some coupons require a multi-item purchase in order to get the deal. If you don’t need the item right away and the coupon won’t expire for several months, consider waiting on the purchase until a grocery store offers the same items on sale. You’ll maximize your savings by using your coupons at the same time as the store’s weekly special.

5. Check online stores, drugstores, and cash-back apps. Depending on your family’s needs, you may find better deals online than in your local grocery store. If you’re able to buy in bulk, you may find that online grocery vendors, like Amazon Pantry or Thrive Market, offer specialty goods at competitive prices. Drugstores may also offer weekly specials on pantry staples, like cereal and soup, which are less expensive than the grocery store. Finally, some grocery stores may also participate in cash-back apps or store loyalty programs that offer additional savings when you submit your shopping receipt.

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