A meal planning strategy is an important way to help cut down on food costs. This method not only helps save money but can also reduce the amount of wasted food or forgotten leftovers. Grocery shopping is a significant expense item for most families and households, but there are ways to make it more affordable. Let’s take a look at the most effective life-hacks when it comes to grocery shopping.
#1 — Make a List and Follow It Strictly
Before writing down a list of products to buy in a grocery store, develop a menu for the week. It should include breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Check what you already have in your food reserves and refrigerator, and then list the ingredients that are missing to prepare your intended meals.
#2 — Keep an Eye on Food Supplies
It is even recommended that you put together your meal plan for the week only after you go through all of your food supplies. Your mission is to include as many of the products in your menu as possible. At the same time, check not only the food that is stored in your refrigerator but also long-term products on the shelves of the cupboard.
#3 — Analyze What You Eat
Think about the products that you can refuse. Perhaps you are a fan of chips, soda, or brownies. These foods can make a hole in your budget and are often harmful to eat. If it is difficult to give up your favorite goodies, try to buy them at least less often. Some products should be replaced with cheaper alternatives. Yogurt from a not-so-well-known brand may be tastier and healthier than the advertised product of another brand.
#4 — Compare Prices in Different Stores
Buying everything in one supermarket is convenient. But if you walk to the bakery around the corner, you can sometimes get more delicious and cheaper bread. If there is no time for monitoring, try to shop once a week. Besides that, you can always check an Aldi ad to preview the best prices and special offers.
#5 — Search for Products with Promos and Use Bonus Cards
Each major chain has already acquired its own brand and sells products from not very well-known manufacturers at a lower price. This is due to the savings in advertising. As a rule, such products are not inferior to their branded counterparts in quality. So, if you do not have an attachment to a certain brand, then you can take products of the chain’s own brand and save a little on them. It is also worth getting bonus cards for supermarkets that you usually go to. With them, you can usually save a lot on promotional products.
#6 — Buy Online
This service is quite widespread, and by using it, you can easily save about 25% of the budget for buying groceries and household chemicals. Remember that when entering a large supermarket, your eyes run wild, and you pick up a bunch of products, many of which are not so necessary. So when ordering online, you can calmly think over your shopping list and order only what you need. It is also a good way to save time and money on shopping — all the goods will be delivered at a convenient time for you, and you do not need to allocate a day for a trip to the supermarket, waste gasoline, and carry heavy bags.
#7 — Check Promotions in Grocery Stores
It is essential to save money on everything, which means learning to pay attention to all kinds of discounts and promotions that significantly reduce the price you pay. Be sure to get discount cards. Almost all supermarkets offer them. You will still have to pay even with a discount, but it will be possible to reduce the cost by a certain percentage, and over time, the savings will become tangible to the buyer. Pay attention to all kinds of discounts and promotional offers, but be sure to check if it really works or is just a trick of the market.
#8 — Don’t Overpay for a Brand
Products from famous brands are more expensive. But it is not always a guarantee of their quality. Take a closer look at their less famous but cheaper counterparts. They do not differ from branded ones.
Do You Need to Save Money?
You may wonder why you need to save money on grocery shopping if you can spend everything. Of course, you can spend as much as you want. However, in this case, you will not have a financial cushion in case of an emergency. Save 10-20% of your monthly salary; make this money inviolable, and you can spend it on some “very necessary” thing.
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