Raise your hand if you’ve done this before. You get home from a long day of work — starving — and you walk into the kitchen. There’s food in your pantry and fridge, but it’s only base ingredients that would take hours to sauté or simmer down into a meal. So — still starving — you tap open the JustEat app and order Thai from the place around the corner. They remember your order from the week before.
Is your hand in the air? You wouldn’t be the only one who buys groceries only to rely on takeout half the time. While it satisfies you hunger quickest, it’s harmful to your budget (and your waistline). If you’ve noticed how much you’re spending on food, here are some hacks for saving money at the grocery store that you should follow.
1. Plan Your Meals
One of the biggest reasons why people rely on takeout is because it’s the most convenient option, if not the most responsible one. It’s a lot easier ordering something than it is facing the fridge with nothing ready to eat. You can resist the temptation of takeout by answering the “what should I eat?” question before you get hungry.
A meal plan helps you answer this question. It’s at its most helpful when you organize what you’re having for every meal one week in advance. Not only will you save cash when you avoid costly takeout, but you’ll also save money by eliminating food waste. If you organize your meal plan properly, you’ll buy only what you need for the week. You can also piggyback meals, so you can use up extra ingredients and leftovers in later meals. Check out this resource to see how to start planning your meals like a pro.
Once you decide what your family will be eating, display the list on the fridge so your family will know what to expect and you won’t have to think about it. Download and print our FREE weekly meal planner printable below!
or click on the image to download the JPG
or click on the image to download the JPG
You can even take advantage of free apps for meal planning.
2. Decide On A Weekly Budget
A budget for your groceries provides guidance for your meal plan. It’s a practical reminder of what you can afford on food as you pick which meals to make for the week. Knowing your limit keeps you in check when choosing meals and buying groceries. Check out these budget hacks to get smart tips for raising a frugal family.
One of the easiest ways to stick to your weekly food budget is by ordering your groceries online at places like Walmart and Hannaford. Ordering online allows you to see exactly how much you are spending, make sure you get every item you need for each meal and see how much money you have left over for splurge items like snacks. This also helps you avoid impulse purchases! I started saving $50-$100/week by ordering groceries online and then just driving to the store to pick them up!
3. Don’t Crack Under Pressure
When you rely on takeout a lot, it can be hard to say no to this delicious temptress. You’ll have to learn how to if your grocery budget has started to impact your overall finance. If grocery shopping regularly puts pressure on your finances, overspending can cause cracks to form in your budget. You need to learn how to create flexible finances, so they’re less likely to shatter when you accidentally purchase an expensive eye of round the day before your basement floods.
Savings is an important aspect of your household budget. It can protect you from these emergencies. A payday loan can help protect you from these emergencies while you’re still building your savings. In a place like Ontario, where flood protection is an added cost to basic homeowners insurance, the best payday loan Ontario has to offer can help when you face these kinds of urgent damages. Ontario lenders like GoDay offer their services online, so you can expect quick and efficient help. They offer easy online payday loans that come in as little as one hour after you’re approved, so you don’t have to wait to take on essential repairs.
4. Shop Wisely, Not Hungry!
A budget gives you a target to hit each month. A meal plan helps you reach this target. If you want to spend less on groceries than your target, you can use the following shopping tips to save extra cash.
- Buy according to the seasons: Prices on produce drop when you shop in-season, so check in with a guide like this one to see when fruit and vegetables are at their cheapest.
- Choose canned and frozen foods: When you can’t buy produce when they’re in-season, their canned or frozen version could be a cheaper alternative. They have most of the nutrition of fresh produce at a fraction of the cost.
- Avoid brand-name items: When you pick up a product showing off a name like Kraft or Johnson & Johnson, you’re often paying for that name. The biggest brand names are more expensive for no other reason, so check out the generic alternatives to find extra savings
- Use your phone: When you download coupon, rebate, and loyalty rewards apps, you can tap into a world of savings with your phone. Check out this list of grocery apps to help you find the ones that will work best for your shopping habits.
There’s a knack to saving money at the grocery store, and luckily for you, it’s one that you can pick up in no time. The trick is to organize your grocery shopping, so you can take advantage of all the deals available to you. When you take the time to think about your meals, you can spend less time worrying about your money.