Whether you’re looking to pay off credit card debt, save for a down payment on a house, or create a little wiggle room in your budget, it’s time to take a look at your monthly expenses. Weekly food bills are among the largest outgoings for most households, but they don’t have to be.
Many people may spend far more on food than they need to, believing it’s the healthiest way to feed their family. But finding Bargain groceries doesn’t always mean skimping on nutrition.
Here are some simple tips to lower your grocery spending, and find the best bargain groceries without sacrificing your average daily nutrition needs.
1. Eat Seasonally
This may seem like a rich person’s diet but this is actually practical. Foods that are in season are cheaper than any other times of the year. Have you ever noticed a massive drop in the price of strawberries? That will happen just after they come in season.
Veggies that are in season in the summer include avocados, broccoli and kale so you might want to plan your meals and grocery purchases around those. Bonus points if you buy locally because your food will be cheaper and fresher.
2. Look for the Discount Aisle
Every supermarket has a discount aisle. Discounted items can be bundled products, newly released items, or products nearing expiry. If you haven’t found the discount isle in your favorite supermarket yet, it’s time to look for it.
3. Buy in Bulk
Many grocery items become substantially cheaper when you buy them in bulk. These include meat, dairy, and perishable goods like pasta. Ask your local grocery store if they can give you a better deal when you buy more. Alternatively, go directly to a local meat supplier.
Just may sure you have enough space in your fridge or freezer to store your bulk items so they don’t go bad.
4. Choose Wholesale Options
If you want to take bulk buying to the next level, find the closest wholesale store. Most wholesale stores require you to purchase a yearly membership before shopping, but the money you’ll save on groceries will more than make up for the membership fee.
Wholesale stores are best for buying bulk amounts of non-perishable items like instant noodles, tinned fruit, and toilet paper. Perishables like meat and shredded cheese are also available in bulk, so store them in the freezer or make a deal to share and split costs with your family or friends.
5. Check Your Grocery Store’s Website or App
Most grocery stores post weekly sale items as well as discount codes and various other deals on their on their website or app. The Sprouts Mobile App, for example, offers exclusive coupons that you can only get on their mobile app.
There are some apps as well that let you link your store account to earn cashback rewards. Ibotta lets you link your Walmart account on their app and apply your earnings.
6. Scout for Coupons on Popular Coupon Websites
If your favorite supermarket doesn’t have any website or app, there are loads of coupon websites that are in partnership with lots of grocery stores and supermarkets. Try going to Rakuten, Savings.com, coupons.com, smartsource.com.
For a more old-school option, look for grocery store sales and coupons before throwing out that local newspaper.
If you’re really bargain-savvy, don’t wait for items you’re used to cooking with to come on sale, plan meals around items already on sale instead. You can also use coupons to stock up on non-perishable items to keep your freezer and pantry stocked up.
7. There is Nothing Wrong with Generic Brands
Dismiss the idea that expensive well-known brands always have a higher quality than cheap generic brands. There are some cheaper products that taste the same and have the same health benefits as high-end products.
Bonus tip: grocery stores usually put high-end items at eye level, so it would be more convenient for you to pick those products instead of generic brands.
8. Find Ethnic Grocery Stores and Bazaars
If you enjoy a range of different cuisines, it can be a lot cheaper to purchase food from small, independent grocers, like Indian, Chinese, or Caribbean grocers. These are hands down the best places to find high quality yet low cost dried spices, exotic grains, and other imported produce.
If you’re looking for pre-packaged naan, you’ll probably pay three or four times more at your local supermarket, since they’ll consider it a specialty item. By shopping at ethnic grocery stores or markets, you’ll discover new recipes to make and support local businesses at the same time as reducing your food bill.
9. Do Some Math
If you are unsure which product gives you more value, try checking the price per ounce or per pound rather than looking at the total cost. Packed chicken wings for example may seem cheaper but oftentimes, it will be way cheaper if you purchase it per pound.
10. Ask the Staff for a Rain Check
Products that are on sale often run out immediately. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff if they can give you a coupon that you can use later when the item is back in stock to get the same sale price.
11. Join Loyalty Programs
If you frequent only one grocery store, then make the most of that store and join their loyalty program. Members get exclusive deals on various promotions, freebies and markdown items. If there is a membership fee, make sure that your rewards will cover the cost of membership. Otherwise, you won’t be getting a deal out of it.
12. Stock up on Sale Items
Well, this doesn’t really need much explaining does it? Make sure though that you will consume this item before it goes bad. Otherwise, you did not save but wasted money instead.
13. Take Advantage of Cyclic Sales
If you have a particular store where you prefer to purchase your meats, notice their cycle of sales. Meat and other deli items tend to go on sale at a particular time each week, so stores can sell within the “best before” period. Sale items typically have a specific colored tag or sticker to indicate the sale price. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to certain cuts of meat that tend to be cheaper than others.
Whether you choose to use all of these options or just a few, pay attention to how much you’re able to save over time. You’ll be surprised by how many new and tasty meals you can prepare while seeing the financial impact of bargain shopping for groceries.