The best grocery shopping tips are those that save the most amount of money, right? At least that’s the way I see it. Who wants to spend more on food than they have to?
Here are the best grocery shopping tips I have collected over my 30+ years of grocery shopping and living on one income.
Best Grocery Shopping Tips
1.) Keep your Options Open – Having a good list is helpful but sometimes you see a great sale at the grocery store and you decide to buy that great deal. Then you might need to swap out one of your meal ideas or add a new meal idea to your list.
You will save more money buying sale produce items than regular priced items. Some people get what’s on sale and then plan their meals for the week from there but if that takes too much creativity, just add a meal or two to your list from the choice of sale produce.
Another way to keep your options open is to buy less meat. Eating a vegetarian diet automatically saves money. Meat is very expensive, as are the health problems associated with a high-protein meat-rich diet.
Plan out a few plant-based meals each week and see your grocery bill go down. If you need some help in the area of coming up with plant-based meals, you can read my post about Meatless Meals. I’m really loving the cost savings of eating little or no meat. And it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be.
2.) Buy Frozen – Fruits and vegetables are usually picked and frozen on the spot. So buying frozen produce can be a good fresh option especially during the winter. Frozen produce is often the fresher choice.
Of course, depending on what you’re making, the texture of the produce will be slightly different. So, choose fresh when the texture is important and frozen when it’s not. Plus, you can stock up on frozen when it’s on sale.
3.) Buy in Season and Local – You can save a lot of money when you shop in season and locally. Many areas have great farmers’ markets or local shops that buy from local farmers.
Another good option is to find a pick-it-yourself farm, farm shares, or grow your own garden. These places often can save you money because you are doing some of the labor. The trick is to recognize a good deal when you see it by keeping pricing information handy.
If my children can plant seeds, water them and know how to pull weeds, you certainly can too. If you really want to save money, one of the best grocery shopping tips I have is to shop from your own garden.
4.) Buy on Sale – Obviously, finding things on sale will help you save the most amount of money. If you buy something on sale because they are very ripe, make sure you have time to take care of those items soon after you get home. Otherwise, if the item goes bad before you freeze or eat it, you are wasting your money.
Bananas are an easy thing to buy cheap and freeze. I just throw the whole banana, skin and all into the freezer. Some people take the peel off and store them in a freezer bag. These are great to pop into smoothies, muffins, or banana bread.
As with anything you find on sale, make sure you know what you’re doing with them before you buy them so you don’t waste them.
We can and freeze a ton of items each year, so if you really want to save money, you can figure out how to preserve them. Ask people you know, get some books out of the library or watch some videos on YouTube.
5.) Buy in Bulk – This grocery shopping tip is good for certain items that last a long time like rice, flour, sugar, and things like that. You can also buy canned or frozen items when on sale. The trick to buying in bulk is to only do it when you have a plan for the items you’re buying to use in the time frame they’ll last.
Many bulk items can be stored in the freezer to extend their life even more.
With canned goods, just check the expiration dates and keep the items that expire soon at the front of your cupboard.
6.) Shop the Outside Edge of the Grocery Store – Although prepackaged food is easy, it’s not always the cheapest or the best for your health.
To save money now and medical costs in the future, one of my best grocery shopping tips is to shop the outside edges of the grocery store.
If you think about it, what is in the middle aisles of the grocery stores? – the convenience foods. By buying real food like produce, meat, whole grain bread and frozen items, you will fill your family up faster and be healthier in the long run.
Many times prepackaged food is full of fats, sodium, and overly processed stuff that you don’t need at all. Just skip it.
7.) Use Coupons and Store Savings Apps – More and more stores are getting their own apps and allowing you to check off their “store coupon” selections. This way, when you get to the checkout, the items you buy will automatically show the lower price.
Coupons are great too. Use a website like the Krazy Coupon Lady to help alert you of deals each week and the best grocery shopping tips. If you can get a coupon or savings off anything you normally buy, you’re saving money. But, don’t use coupons just to try prepackaged things or things you don’t normally buy, because that’s just a waste.
So use coupons and savings apps for the items you normally buy. Or stock up on pantry items when there is a good coupon and sale. Coupons are best used if you buy something you would buy anyway. Check out How to Never Pay Full Price for These Items Again.
8.) Buy Organic When You Can – You can check out food lists of items that have thin skins that need to be purchased organic. But sometimes buying everything organic is not possible on a budget.
More and more items are becoming available in organic form so I think prices will come down too.
Buy what you can afford, wash all your produce with Thieves oil and water, and only buy organic when it fits the budget and it’s one of the dirty dozen.
Shopping on a budget and saving money when shopping is something that you have full control over. Once you learn how to do it, you’ll be able to save a lot more money than you think.
If you’re not sure about how much money is normal to spend on groceries, you can get an idea from the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
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