The Careful Shopper: Saving More When Shopping for Groceries

The Careful Shopper: Saving More When Shopping for Groceries

Oct 09, 2020Joey Cipriano

          If there was ever a great skill for any young person to learn from a parent it’s the ability to stretch a dollar. Being a smart shopper and knowing how and when to find the best deals comes in handy when you’re a single person or a family on a budget and don’t have much in the way of extra income.       
         Budgets have become an essential fact of life for many families struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus. With some parents out of work completely or perhaps not making enough money as they were pre-pandemic, many people are depending on those saving tricks they’ve learned over the years to get them through some very rough times.
         Growing up, my mom did all of the shopping and she’d tell me to pay close attention to the prices and the way she would shop because one day I’d be grateful for all the little tips I eventually learned to save a few dollars. Her favorite phrase that she still says to this day is, “Do the math.” It’s a phrase that rings in my head everytime I see things on sale and I wonder if I’m really saving money.
          But not everyone is as savvy when it comes to saving money. There are plenty of people who simply see something on the shelf and throw it in the cart. Maybe when you’ve become great at shopping and know just how much everything costs, you can enjoy the security of knowing just how much you’re spending and just buy stuff that way, but in this time when every nickel counts, it’s best to approach grocery shopping with a little bit more care and few easy to remember tips.

Saving Pennies on Groceries

  1. Create a Budget and Stick to It - In 2017, the average American family was spending between $300 and $500 on groceries every month. If you’re an average size family, look it might be best to split the difference and budget anywhere from $350 and $400 a month for groceries, if your family can afford it. Once you’ve set a dollar amount on how much you can afford to spend on groceries, stick to that budget and do your best to stay under as much as possible.

  2. Limit Your Shopping Trips - Cut your shopping trips down to no more than a couple of times a week if you can help it. It might be difficult to do at first, but you’re more likely to spend more money and break your budget the more often you go to the grocery store.

  3. Create a Menu - Planning out what you’re going to make for the week will give you a chance to create a grocery list. With this list, you can shop around and see where you can get the best deals for things you’ll need.
  4. Eat Before You Shop - It sounds silly, but when you go grocery shopping while hungry, everything looks delicious. You’re more likely to buy things you want to eat now just because you’re hungry. The easy remedy is to have a good meal before you go shopping so that you’re not tempted to buy something because your stomach says it’s a good idea.

  5. Pass on Anything Prepped for You - If you’re buying shredded cheese or shopped fruits or vegetables, you can save a few dollars by doing the prep yourself at home. Stores pass on the labor cost of prepping foods to you so they’re ready to use when you get them home. However, if you’re willing to prep these foods at home, you’ll save a bit of money at the end of the month.

  6. Accountability Friend - If you have a problem with impulse buying when you’re in a store, take a friend with you so there’s a rational voice telling you not to spend on things you don’t need.
  7. Coupons are Your Friend - Always take advantage of coupons. The few pennies you save on things you need will add up. Also, check to see if your store has an app. They may have digital coupons you can use at the checkout that aren’t in newspapers. As a bonus, you can save them to an account and skip having to pull out the scissors.
  8. Store Brands Can Be Better - Store brands are often cheaper than name brand products which can help stretch your budget. In some cases, store brands can be just as good if not better than the regular brands that cost more and many stores will even entice you to try their brands with free samples.

  9. Buy in Bulk - More often than not, buying in bulk can save you a ton of money on things you buy all the time. Whether it’s paper products, pasta, dog food, or toiletries, buying in bulk drops the cost per unit and since you’re buying more of it now, you shouldn’t have to buy more later.

  10. Become a Better Cook - What does cooking have to do shopping? Everything. Becoming a better cook, or baker, can lead you to experiment with new dishes and even help you prepare foods you can stretch out for a couple of days. A meal that can turn into dinner and lunch is money saved, so check out a few recipe books from the library or watch a few videos online and make meals stretch when you can.

          How do you manage to stretch out your food dollar in your house? Do you have tips and tricks to help keep the family fed when money is tight? Join the conversation in the comment section and share your suggestions!

More articles

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published