Going to the grocery store can sometimes burn a hole in your wallet. Although it's certainly cheaper than constantly eating out and necessary to get the food and other supplies that you need, that doesn't mean that it's cheap. However, there are some tips and tricks to help make sure that you don't break the bank the next time you find yourself at the market. Try these hacks yourself to see the difference on your grocery store receipt.
Put An Item Back Before You Check Out
Before you head to the checkout line, it's never a bad idea to take on last glance in your cart and see if there's something that you don't necessarily need.
Whether it was going to be an impulse buy or you truly didn't need it, taking a step back can help you eliminate excessive purchases. It can also help you realize if something that you have in your cart may not be the healthiest for you, so it's best to just put it back on the shelf.
Always Freeze Your Meat
Unless you're buying meat for a certain meal that you intend on cooking that night, when you buy any, it's always a good idea to freeze it. This will increase its shelf life ten-fold, and considering that meat is usually the most expensive thing you buy at the store, you might as well make it count.
As long as you freeze it properly, your poultry, beef, and pork will last for a long time and all you have to do is defrost it and it's ready to go for your next meal.
Take Advantage Of Electric Coupons
Even though the days of clipping coupons are essentially in the past, that doesn't mean that they still don't exist. Check your local grocery store's website to see what kind of deals they have to offer, and all you have to do is show them to the clerk when you're checking out.
Stores still make coupons to help drive in customers, so you might as well take advantage of them if you're there. It's incredible how much money you can save if you do.
Take Stock Of What You Have Before Going
One of the best things that you can do before heading out to buy groceries is to see what you have already. Usually, this is more towards non-perishables because they're easy to forget about when they're tucked in the back of the pantry.
However, there's also nothing worse than buying foods like fruit, vegetables, bread, and eggs, when you already have enough. The moral of the story is that it only takes a few minutes to look around and see what you don't need.
Invest In Glass Storage Containers
It's rare that nobody has leftovers at least some meals of the day, and a nice set of glass storage containers can ensure that your leftover food is fresh and ready to eat, even days after the food has been stored away.
Although they may be more expensive than plastic Tupperware, they don't hold odors nearly as much and are far more durable and will last you a long time. Never let your hard-earned food go to waste.
Prep Your Vegetables As Soon As Possible
When you return home from the grocery store and you're already in the mindset, something smart to do is to prep your vegetables immediately. It can be a little too easy to let that full bell pepper sit in the fridge and go to waste.
However, if you have everything cut and ready to go, you may feel more accountable to use them and not let them rot. Plus, it also makes it ten times easier if you want a quick and healthy snack.
Loyalty Programs Can Never Hurt
Most major grocery store chains have opportunities to sign up for loyalty programs. With the exception of select stores, these programs are free to sign up for as long as you're willing to make an effort to do so.
Card-holding members are offered member-only prices that usually offer significant savings, compared to their regular pricing. So, the next time you're at the store, ask about their loyalty programs and the benefits that they offer!
Meal Planning Can Ensure You Get The Most Bang For Your Buck
When you arrive at the grocery store with no real plan and aimlessly wander around picking up food that you think you'll want or need, chances are, you won't end up using a lot of it.
While perishable food will literally go to waste, even if you're buying non-perishables without a plan, you may forget you have it and end up buying it again the next time you go to the store. So, having a set meal plan for what you're going to eat each day will help decrease the chances of this.
Check Your Receipts
Even though this may seem like a chore, it's not unusual for a store clerk to accidentally bill you for the wrong item, or maybe the system hasn't been updated, and something that was on sale wasn't charged correctly.
If you're really in a pinch, this isn't a bad way to possibly save a few dollars, and it only takes a few minutes. If something is wrong, the store will happily reimburse you and maybe even give you a better deal than before!
Think About Your Credit Card Provider
If you're someone that visits the grocery store frequently or buys in bulk for a lot of people, it wouldn't hurt to look into your credit card options that give you cashback on what you buy.
Some providers offer a certain percentage of cashback from when you buy at a grocery store, so it's something that's not a bad idea to look into. Additionally, you can work on your credit as well. It's a win-win.
Make A List And Check It Twice
One of the worst things you can do when going into a grocery store is to be completely unprepared. You may have your staple products memorized like rice, milk, eggs, etc., but if you're going to get a lot of different things, just make a list.
It takes almost no time at all and will help ensure that you get everything you need without overbuying or needing to make a separate trip. On the plus side, it can also help you get in and out as quickly as possible.
Beware Of The Checkout Line
Something that suckers a lot of customers into buying things is the items in the checkout line. When you're waiting to check out, it's natural for people to take a gander at all the products right in front of them, which are usually things that nobody ever needs unless it's an impulse buy.
These are usually snacks, drinks, gum, and other things that most likely aren't on anybody's shopping list. Out of boredom, people might buy some of these, which is money out of your wallet.
Don't Buy Bottled Water
If you really want to save some cash, one of the biggest things that you can avoid buying is bottled water. Not only is it expensive, but it's also terrible for the environment.
If you're really concerned about the purity of your water, buy something such as a Brita filter, which is a small investment that will essentially last you forever. Plus, this move helps decrease trash and takes up far less room in the refrigerator.
Do Your Research
Considering that so many of us spend countless time surfing the Internet, it wouldn't hurt to look up some cheap and easy meals to make to add to your repertoire.
There are countless food blogs and video channels that you can tune into to get some ideas for what to make. Get started with a video when you're trying to save money or don't have the time to make a huge gourmet meal. It's like having an extra hand in the kitchen.
Eat Before Going To The Store
Unfortunately, one of the reasons people go grocery shopping is that they're hungry and don't have any food in the house. This is one of the worst times to go shopping because when you're hungry, you end up buying things that you don't need because they look appealing at the time.
To prevent this, try and at least satiate your hunger in some way before going to the store, or else you might get home and regret half of your purchases, whether they were unnecessary or unhealthy.
Try To Avoid Paper Products
Although paper products such as toilet paper are necessary, others such as paper towels-- not so much. If you need to buy a few, that's understandable, but there's no need to buy massive amounts of them.
Not only are they expensive, but they also have a negative impact on the environment, and aren't all that necessary. A great alternative is to try and use fabric towels that can be machine-washed as often as possible to avoid making this unnecessary and costly purchase.
Check Expiration Dates
Even though it's the store's job to make sure that they aren't selling anything rancid or past its expiration date, it's also your responsibility to make sure you plan on consuming the food before it expires.
Although this mostly has to do with meat, it's important to check the expiration date on everything, especially if you're buying in bulk. You don't want to finally get to something you need, only to realize that it's gone bad by that point.
Skip The Alcohol Aisle
Unless you're going to the grocery store to specifically buy alcohol for a party or another kind of occasion, avoid it entirely. Alcohol is easily one of the most expensive items in a grocery store, and even buying a few bottles of wine or a case of beer can almost double your bill.
So, if you're trying to save money while shopping, your best bet is to steer clear of the alcohol aisle. Save your money for items that you might actually need.
Budgeting Is Key
Just like any other aspect of life, if you're trying to save money, it's crucial to budget. This means that it's up to you to already have an idea of how much items cost, what you truly need, and what you can go without.
It's not always as easy as it sounds, but if you stick to a budget, you'll come to realize that looking at your grocery bill won't always cause you to cringe.
Eat Less Meat
Even though meat is a staple in many individuals' diets, you don't necessarily have to have it for every meal. There are plenty of other, and cheaper, forms of proteins that will do the job just as well.
Meat is one of the most expensive things you can buy at the grocery store, so if you can limit the amount that you buy, that's more money in your pocket. If anything, make it a treat for you and your family!