Regardless of your family size or marital status, buying groceries is one of the constants for which every person has to budget. Getting a good deal on groceries can make a huge difference in how much flexible income you have each month, and with the cost of living increasing every year, those deals can add up to a lot of savings, leaving extra room in your monthly budget. And if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you can definitely benefit from hunting for the best bargains around.
Many people have their preferred grocery stores, whether it’s because of convenience factors (for example, the store’s location), preferred brands, prices, even customer service. If you’re interested in saving even more money every month at the grocery store, here are a few ideas that can help:
- Find the store where you get the best deals and stick to it. When it comes to getting a good deal on groceries, you should focus on more than just what items cost. You always get what you pay for, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, either. It’s important to find products that are higher quality – if you’re buying cheap produce or meat, you run the risk of it not being fresh or having it go bad quicker than expected. When you’re shopping, focus on both price and quality.
- Look into stores that offer loyalty clubs. Most grocery stores have “clubs” you can join for free that can give you deals on everyday items, send you coupons in the mail or via email, and let you rack up points that can save you money on bigger shopping trips. Some stores, such as Safeway, even offer deals on fuel at select gas stations when you use your club card.
- Make a meal plan ahead of time – and shop for sales based on your plan. If you receive mailers listing the current deals at your local grocery stores, you might find it easy to plan your week’s meals around what’s on sale. One way to start is to check out proteins, as you can base an entire meal around meat, fish, or even vegetarian options like beans or tofu. From there, check out deals on produce and dry goods to round out each day’s meal.
- Use your coupons strategically. If you receive coupons, don’t necessarily use them on items you don’t need, even if it seems like an amazing deal. Save the coupons for items you know you’ll need, or items you shop for on a regular basis; some grocery stores even send you coupons based on your purchase history (especially if you have a free “club” membership). It’s also a good idea to keep a book or mini file folder to save your coupons, so you don’t have to scramble at the checkout register.