Grocery Shopping Secrets
As food prices continue to rise, you need to find as many ways possible to save money on groceries. By planning out your shopping day and shopping smartly, you will not only save money but open yourself to new meal possibilities you may not have considered. You’ll also find that proper planning will make your grocery shopping less of a chore.
You wouldn’t start any project around your house without careful planning and looking at ways to reduce your budget. Start with planning out your meals, looking at the ingredients you’ll need. Both e-flyers and printable coupons are also a great way to steer your grocery list towards savings. Plan ahead with a well-defined list, and make sure you have eaten before you enter the grocery store. Hunger can take your grocery shopping into undesirable places.
Once inside the grocery store, it is important that you stick to your well-planned grocery list. Resist the temptation to impulse buy. Deviating from your plan can bring you costly results and undermine your grocery budget. Not to say that you can’t supplement your meal plan with some extras, but ensure that what goes in your cart will definitely show up on your plate. Don’t pay for food you won’t eat.
Compare Unit Prices
Once inside the grocery store, you can find further savings by analyzing the items on your food plan. Unit prices are often listed on the display price, but the calculator feature in a smartphone or tablet will also allow you to compare the unit price of different brands and package sizes to find the best value. You can also download shopping-specific applications to these devices to make the task easier. A simple calculator will also do the trick.
Buy in Bulk
If you find yourself buying large quantities of a particular item, such cereal or rice, check if they’re available in bulk for further savings. You can also use bulk bins to purchase less of an item you don’t use regularly. For example, instead of buying a full container of mustard powder, you can portion out only what you need from a bulk bin. This also helps ensure seldom-used items are fresh vs. going stale in a cupboard.
Buy Non-Branded Items
Opt for Meat Alternatives
You can easily find less expensive yet still flavourful protein options that are non-meat based. Using beans and eggs in recipes to replace meat provides a healthy alternative. As well, many proteins such as lentils and tofu easily take on the flavours of your recipes and provide a stronger flavour profile than some meats.
Chicken & Fish
Sure they’re convenient, but seasoned and prepared chicken is typically more expensive than simple fresh chicken. Save instead by purchasing chicken drumsticks, thighs and legs in the fresh meat section of the grocery store. Also, for more nutritional value, remove the skin or purchase skinless legs.
Instead of fresh, try using canned fish such as salmon and tuna for casseroles, fish burgers and salads. Not only does canned fish costs less than steaks and filets, it also contains lots of healthy omega-3s and protein. And the soft bones in canned pink or sockeye salmon is a great source of calcium.
You can find produce priced to sell quickly with savings of 50% or more. Slightly overripe produce still has lots nutritional value and can be used to make purees, sauces and soups. Overripe fruit like bananas, peaches and cantaloupe can be prepared in a juicer to make healthy, great-tasting drinks. You can also freeze smaller portions in ice cube trays for use in other beverages.
Saving at Home
Choosing to do your own in-home food preparation will also save you money. For example, peeled baby carrots can be triple the cost unpeeled loose carrots in the same quantity. Instead of purchasing ready-made sauces, buy individual ingredients and make them yourself. You can also chop your own fruit and vegetables, shred cheese and shell shrimp at home, and prepare your own salads from scratch. Also, focus your produce list on in-season fruits and vegetables: they’ll be fresher, taste better, and cost less than at other times of the year.
12 Quick Grocery Shopping Secrets:
- Keep a Running List on Your Fridge or Smart Phone: When you run out of an item, don’t say to yourself “I’ll remember I’m out of this.” Jot it down immediately on a list on your fridge. Even better, keep a list on your smart phone’s note pad. This way the list is always with you and is easily accessible in the grocery store.
- Arrange Your Grocery List by Aisle: Know your grocery store and build your grocery list by aisle to ensure you get everything on the list and save time shopping.
- Keep Quick Meal Items Always In Stock: Always keep ingredients for quick meal favourites like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese on hand so that you can create something fast instead of ordering in.
- Track Your Grocery Purchases in a Spreadsheet: By keeping track of your grocery purchases, you create a price list that can be used when items go on sale. Use this spreadsheet to track prices between different stores. This will also outline items that you routinely purchase and can look for on sale days.
- Make Your Own Lunch Snacks: You can save big by making baggies of snacks that you bought in bulk, instead of purchasing pre-made snacks.
- Cook Large Amounts for Freezing: Plan to make five-to-six extra servings of spaghetti sauce, chili or soup and freeze them for later use.
- Let Grocery Flyers Plan Your Week’s Menu: Let the flyers from your local grocery store help shape the content of your meal planning. If back ribs go on sale, purchase them for slow-cooked barbecue ribs that week. When seafood or lobster go on sale, take advantage and create tasty and affordable meals.
- Only Use Coupons for Planned Purchases: After planning your grocery list and meals for the week, only use coupons for items on the list. Using coupons for items that aren’t planned is not saving money.
- Stock Up on Sale Items: When an item you regularly use goes on sale (e.g. toilet paper, paper towel, your favourite pasta sauce), purchase these items in large quantities to extend the savings.
- Plan One Big Trip Each Month for Bulk Staples: Produce, meats and other spoilable items can be purchased as needed, but doing one trip a month for big bulk items will cut back on expenses and the amount of items that you need to carry in subsequent weeks.
- Avoid Convenience Stores: Yes, they are convenient, but convenience comes at a cost. Prices for items are sometimes double or even triple the cost of the same items found in larger stores.
- Use In-Store Loyalty Programs: Many retailers now have loyalty programs that store points based on purchases that can be redeemed for future purchases. Other stores’ loyalty programs provide ongoing discounts for buyers. Make sure you take advantage of these programs.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.