Shopping for groceries can be an intimidating process. This is especially true for someone working within a budget. And frankly, all of us should set a food shopping budget. It does take some time and prep work to get out without spending a ton of cash, but it definitely can be done!
Before you even leave the house, you should know what you are getting at the market. Start in your freezer, fridge, and pantry to plan your meals for the week. I HATE spending money on something at the store, not sure if I had it at home already. That $5 could be spent on something else. Like, more coffee. Use what you have on hand as the basis of the meals you will cook that week, that way you stretch the money you spent last week even farther.
Buy in Bulk
I always try to buy produce in bulk. A 3# bag of onions costs way less than 3# of loose onions. The ones in the bag might be smaller, but a small onion is plenty for most recipes. And onions will keep for a while if you keep them in your pantry or somewhere dark. Potatoes also store well, and tend to be cheaper by the bag. I can get a 10# bag of potatoes for just $1.00 more than a 5# bag. So, I stock up and use potatoes throughout the week. When it comes to pantry staples, like rice, it is almost always cheaper to get bigger bags. But remember that you have to somehow manage that big ol’ bag of rice when you get home. So, I tend to cut-it-off at like 5#. Those 20# bags of rice are way cheaper per pound, but what the heck will I do with it when I open it!?
So many people are crazy couponers, and buy whatever it is, as many as they can, no matter the usefulness. Some people donate items, which is great! But, many people do not. I use coupons to my advantage. I will look at the Sale Ad for my local grocery store the day before or the day it comes out. I circle the items I need to get for the week, and also items that have a great price (BOGO deals, for example). Then, I get on Ebay and coupon clipping sites online to search for those specific coupons. But, you buy coupons? Why, yes I do. If I can spend $1.50 on 20 coupons for items I can use, and save $20….doesn’t that make sense? I will never be that person buying 20 bottles of bbq sauce (unless we are hosting a backyard bbq for 50 of our closest friends). But, when I can get free pasta or pay $.50 for olive oil, I do stock up. A little money and time spent now can save lots of money down the road.
With these tips, you can get the most bang for your buck at the grocery store. You can’t go in without a plan. Set your budget, pay in cash so you don’t go over your limit, and stretch your dollars as far as possible!!