More than half of all grocery purchases are unplanned!
No wonder creating and sticking to a pre-made list can bring grocery costs down.
But that’s not the only way to save money at the supermarket. Below you will find several tips for saving money on your next grocery bill. Some of these may be obvious ….. others not as much. All of them can help you save at the supermarket. See how many of these you can benefit from:
#1 – Make a list — and stick to it -
This is the cardinal rule of shopping. The list represents your grocery needs: the staples you’re out of, and the food you need for upcoming meals. When you stray from the list, you’re buying on impulse, and that’s how shopping trips get out of control. Sure, a magazine only costs $5, but if you spend an extra $5 every time you make a trip to the supermarket, you waste a lot of money.
#2 – Compare unit pricing -
The biggest package isn’t always the most cost-effective. Stores know that consumers want to buy in bulk, and so they mix it up. Sometimes the bulk item is cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive. The only way you can be sure is to take a calculator. Almost all larger grocery stores and supermarkets post unit prices on the shelf tag for most items, which makes comparisons easy when you know what to look for.
#3 – Think twice before getting a basket or cart -
Carts slow you down and make you buy more. Studies have shown the longer you stay in a store, the more you buy. If you’re dashing into the supermarket to pick up milk and bread, don’t impulsively pick up a basket. Baskets induce people to buy more. If you’re limited to what you can carry, you’re more likely to avoid impulse purchases. Only use a basket (or shopping cart) if it’s absolutely necessary.
#4 – Don’t examine things you don’t need -
The more you interact with something, the more likely you are to buy it. Virtually all unplanned purchase come as a result of the shopper seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that promises pleasure or fulfillment. Do you know why grocery stores place those displays in the aisles? To intentionally block traffic. They want to force you to stop, if only for a moment. It only takes a few seconds of idly staring at the Chips Ahoy! to convince you to buy them. Stay focused.
#5 – Live on the edge -
Health-conscious shoppers know that the perimeter of the store is where the good stuff is. Stores typically place the healthier, less-processed items on their perimeters, such as baked goods, dairy products, fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. All of these are generally placed along the outside edge of the supermarket, while the processed stuff can be found up and down the aisles. Shopping the edges isn’t just healthier — it’s cheaper too!
#6 – Discard brand loyalties -Be willing to experiment. You may have a favorite brand of diced tomatoes, for example, but does it really matter? Go with what’s on sale for the lowest unit price. You may find you like the less expensive product just as well. If you try a cheaper brand and are disappointed, it’s okay to return to your regular brand.
#7 – Choose generic -
Better yet, try the store brand. Generic and “house-brand” products are generally cheaper than their name-brand equivalents (unless on sale) and are usually of similar quality. The only difference is marketing and fancy packaging. So, if it costs less and tastes the same… should it really matter?… I mean, after all, you’re not eating the packaging. ?
#8 – Use coupons wisely -
Coupons really CAN save you money. But you need to use them wisely. Clip coupons for ONLY the things you need — staple foods and ingredients — not for processed junk food. Learn to use special coupons. Occasionally, local stores will mail out savings coupons like “$10 off a $50 purchase coupon” or “Spend $20 on any grocery items and get ‘x’ items at no or minimum cost”. If you know it’s coming on a regular basis, you can plan your major shopping trips around it.
#9 – Make one big trip instead of several smaller ones -
Each visit to the grocery store is another potential opportunity to spend needlessly or excessively. By reducing the frequency of your trips, you’re not only avoiding temptation, but you’re also saving money all the way around (meaning your time and fuel costs).
#10 – Buy from the bulk bins -
Some stores offer bulk bins filled with baking ingredients, cereal, spices, nuts, seeds, etc. When you buy in bulk, you get just the amount you want or need, AND you pay less… Muchless.
#11 – Always check your receipt! -
Make sure your prices are scanned correctly. Make sure your coupons are scanned correctly. Sale items, especially, have a tendency to be in the computer wrong, and yet few people ever challenge the price at the register. After all… It’s YOUR money. It’s your responsibility as well as your right to have your order rung up WITH sale and coupon items discounted correctly – Ask for it!
#12 – Shop alone! -
Research finds that people tend to buy more when shopping in groups rather than when shopping alone. Men, more so than women, are easily suggestible to the entreaties of children as well as eye-catching displays. Try to shop by yourself if at all possible.
#13 – Shop on a full stomach -
Studies show that folks who shop when they’re hungry tend to buy more food. Thirsty people will stock up on more drinks. This is certainly true for me: If I go to the store for milk on a Sunday morning without eating breakfast, I’m likely to come home with donuts and orange juice and Lucky Charms, too.
Any of these tips can help a savvy shopper save money at the grocery store or supermarket. And a combination of many of the above (if strictly followed without deviation) may actually slash your grocery budget significantly.
Give it a try and see what works for you.