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It’s really easy these days to go over your budget on grocery shopping. And it’s not like you really meant to do it. Right now it’s worse than ever because prices are climbing, inventories are stressed and you still have to get out there and shop! Your money buying power is shrinking because of the inflation factor, package size changes, and even “profiteering” by some companies trying to take advantage of you, the consumer.
You’re fighting it, but you can do better and you know it. You see, the grocery store plans for you to spend more than you intended. That’s their game and they are pros at it. But you can learn how to save money on groceries when you try.
Learn How to Avoid Costly Grocery Shopping Mistakes
The biggest mistakes you can make are well documented, but if you don’t pay attention, it can hurt your wallet. Here are the five biggest errors you can make when grocery shopping each week and if you avoid them, you will save!
1. You don’t make a grocery list, you just grab the store flyer in the grocery store
You will save more money walking into the grocery store with a plan of action. Make your meal plan, your grocery list, and check the store sales flyer before heading to the grocery store.
When you make sure you are planning your meals for the week ahead of time (and writing your grocery list for them on a simple piece of paper or using an list app), you can be sure you are getting the best deals. You can check your grocery store flyer in advance either online or in your local newspaper or mailed flyer at your home. Jointly plan what is on sale with your preferences and you will always be well planned and save too!
2. You fall for the “traps” at the grocery store
The sliced fruit and vegetables look so great. You want to eat healthy and there they are looking so good and all cut and prepared right there for you. The bakery smells so good it makes you crave those expensive artisan rolls for lunch or dinner. You see those great items on the end cap (end of the aisle), but they aren’t on your list. You want them anyway!
The grocery store is full of marketing traps that will send your savings into mayhem. Block out the pretty eye-catching displays, the smells from the floral department, the eye level shelving tactics, and the checkout lane goodies. Shop only for what is on your list and you will save money.
3. You drift away into the “I think it should be on my list” delusion
Do not walk up and down the aisles of the grocery store adding random items to your cart that are not on your list or what you came to the store for. No, you do not need that third jar of tomato sauce or that odd cut of meat. If you did your homework in advance, you already know what you will need. When you set a plan before you head to the grocery store and make a list, you won’t be adding unneeded items to your grocery cart.
4. You pay full price for everything
Shop the sales and stock up. The biggest mistake is paying full price. Almost every item in the grocery store has a sale cycle and you can learn it.
Whenever items goes on sale, that’s when you stock up. If items you use on a regular basis go on sale, buy two and store one. Start a small stockpile (in your pantry) and add to it as the sales line up.
Meat is the most expensive grocery item you most likely buy regularly. It’s imperative to learn the sales cycles for meat at your local grocery store. Even meat can be stored and frozen for longer term meal planning. Learning what you can and can’t freeze will help you cut your grocery costs.
These two methods alone can save dollars every week from your shopping bill.
5. You don’t use coupons, store loyalty cards, or store savings apps
Believe it or not, coupons are as good as money in the grocery store. Spending that few minutes clipping coupons or loading your store savings app with digital coupons will save you money. The best money saving apps I have found are Rakuten and Ibotta, where you earn money back on your purchases.
You don’t have to look in newspapers and magazines anymore either because you can find and print your own manufacturer or store coupons online with a simple search.
More Ways to Save Every Week
Cook more vegetarian meals
Produce is cheaper than meat. So cooking meatless vegetarian meals once or twice a week will help lower your grocery costs.
Buy in season
Strawberries will be cheaper in the summer than in the winter. Shop in season and buy local to save on produce.
Don’t be brand loyal
Skip name brands and buy the one on sale. Varying your brands and going generic will help you save.
Don’t be store loyal
Shop all your grocery options including big box retailers, ethnic retailers, and the dollar store. Your goal is finding the best price for the items you need.
Don’t buy pre-cut anything
Cut it up at home. Create your own fruit salad or mini carrots.
Limit your grocery shopping trips
Create your list and shop once a week or even every two weeks. Fewer trips mean more savings.
The subject of saving on groceries continues to be the big story. With inflation climbing right now, food scarcity hitting record highs, and many people struggling to stay afloat, what you know and can do to improve your grocery shopping challenges is more important than ever.
Don’t be fooled into spending more now just because you are so glad to resume shopping like it was before the pandemic. Grocery shopping is in a spiral now and you don’t want to get washed away down its drain of never-ending price increases. You can avoid it if you know how and what to do.
What are your best money saving tips you can share? Are you beating the grocery inflation of 2021?