According to the BLS, the average American household spends about 10 percent of their budget on food. This equates to about $2600 per person annually, or $216 per month.
However, how much money you spend per month can vary greatly based on the city you live in. For example, in Dallas, the average person spends $286 on groceries and $547 on food each month. But, in Seattle, the average person spends $498 a month on groceries and a total of $913 a month on food.
No matter where you live or what your household looks like, grocery shopping is a significant expense for pretty much everyone.
If you’re looking to slash your grocery budget, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn how to save big time by buying cheap groceries.
Don’t Shop Hungry
If there’s one golden rule of grocery shopping, it’s this: don’t shop on an empty stomach.
If you go shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll put in your cart anything and everything that looks good. Then, because you’re planning to eat a ready-to-go meal, you’ll come home with a ton of fresh food that will likely linger in your fridge for too long and then go bad.
So, if you’re on your way to the store with an empty stomach, make a quick pitstop first for some food. Chances are, you’ll save big money by walking into the store on a full stomach.
Don’t Buy Pre-Cut Items
If you’re trying to eat healthier and make your meal prepping easier, buying pre-cut fruits and veggies can be oh-so-tempting. However, while pre-cut foods may save you some time, they won’t do any favors for your wallet.
Pre-cut foods cost way more than buying them in their ‘normal’ condition. Plus, you won’t get nearly as much food when you buy pre-cut.
In the US, you can pretty much get any type of fruit or vegetable you want during any time of the year.
However, if you’re getting strawberries in the middle of winter, you’re going to be paying a lot more money. Instead, stick to buying fruits and veggies in season. Not only is this better for your budget, but it’s also healthier for your body.
And, if you do need to buy something out of season, buy it frozen.
Check Unit Prices
Many people think that buying in bulk is a guaranteed way to save money. However, this isn’t always the case.
That modest three-pack of paper towels might actually be more affordable than the insanely large case of 24 paper towels.
So, before going for the bulk item, divide the item’s price by the quantity to figure out the unit price. Then, you’ll be able to figure out how much you’ll be actually saving.
Also, if it’s produce, consider how fast you’re going to use the item up.
Meal Plan and Make a Shopping List
While it takes a little extra time out of your day, meal planning and creating a shopping list can go a long way when it comes to saving on your grocery bill.
By meal planning, you won’t waste money on frivolous purchases like expensive cheese wedges and flavored almonds.
When creating a meal plan, you don’t need to have every single bite you take during the week figured out. However, you should have enough groceries to create 2 bulk meals out of- ideally, a full week’s worth of lunch and a full week’s worth of dinner.
Once you have your meals picked out for the week, write down all of the ingredients you’ll need to by. If you can, try to pick meals with similar ingredients.
Then, when you get to the grocery store, stick to this shopping list! If you think you’re going to still be tempted to buy things that aren’t on your list, then we suggest coming to the grocery store with the exact amount of cash you need. This way, you won’t be tempted to throw expensive goodies in your cart.
Check for Coupons and Rebates
The great thing about grocery shopping is that there are all kinds of coupons and rebates you can take advantage of to save some money (how do rebates work?-check out this guide).
You can clip coupons out of your daily newspaper, or, you can go online and checkout coupon sites to find discounts for your favorite products.
In terms of rebates, there are many different apps you can download to get some money back on your grocery bill.
Choose the Right Credit Card
Choosing the right credit card can also help you save big on groceries.
For example, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card offers you 3 percent back on the category of your choice (online shopping, dining, gas, travel, etc) as well as 2 percent back on groceries and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
Another great option is the Discover it Cash Back credit card, which offers 5 percent back on rotating categories, with one of those categories being groceries.
Get Cozy With Your Favorite Store
Last but not least, make sure you get cozy with your favorite grocery store.
The first thing you should do is join your local grocery store’s loyalty program. Typically, these loyalty programs offer discounts to members, and all you have to do is swipe your card.
In addition to joining a loyalty program, we also suggest you follow your local grocery on social media. Typically, grocery stores announce savings and special deals on social media.
Are You Ready to Find Cheap Groceries?
Now that you know how to find cheap groceries, it’s time to get out there and start shopping.
Before you know it, you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars each month on your grocery bill, and you’ll have more money to put towards things you love.
If you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more money-saving tips and tricks.