The average American single-person household spends around $4,000 a year on groceries. That equates to roughly $333 a month or $77 a week. It’s no wonder that groceries and food are often the biggest expense after rent.
Learning how to manage food costs is a great way to save extra money – money that can be used to pay off debt or increase your emergency savings fund. Here are some tips for saving money on groceries.
Meal planning is simply sitting down to plan out your meals for the week. It’s your menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s where the savings begin. First, look at what you already have in your fridge, pantry, and freezer. Then, look at your store’s sales. Are there any meals you can make based on what you already have and what’s on sale? Are there meals you can make that only require you to buy a few ingredients? If so, plan your weekly menu around these and make your shopping list.
The only one who can control your food spending is you. It can be very tempting to throw items in your cart because they’re on sale. But, if it’s not on your list, don’t buy it. Those impulse buys add up to your overall bill at the end. It’s one surefire way to spend more than you plan.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy diet. But, they can get expensive. An easy way to save on fruits and vegetables is to buy produce that’s “in season.” That means buying produce at the time of year when it’s harvested. In-season produce is often cheaper because it doesn’t require special growing conditions or storage.
Many grocery stores sell their own products under a store brand. Examples of store brands include: Great Value at Walmart and Simple Truth at Kroger. The products sold under these brands are often made from the same ingredients and are of the same quality of big-name brands. They’re just usually sold for a few cents less. Try buying as many products as you can under your store’s brand. Each dime saved adds up to a lot of savings over time.
Ever go grocery shopping when you’re hungry? Everything looks and smells delicious. So, you throw things in your cart without really thinking and hurry home so you can devour them. Your stomach ends up happy but your wallet ends up sad. Prevent impulse buys and stick to your list by shopping on a full stomach.
There are many benefits to joining your grocery store’s rewards program. Each store is different, but common benefits include: exclusive coupons, early access to sales, special discounts, and points that can be redeemed towards other purchases or products. These perks only add to your savings over time. Be sure to read the fine print before you sign up so you know what you’re getting.
Have you heard of “Meatless Mondays?” It’s where people don’t eat meat for one day a week. Some people do it for environmental reasons. Others do it to save money because buying meat can get expensive. Beans and lentils are just two high-protein meat alternatives. They’re also pretty cheap and can be used to meal prep a big batch of tasty chili or soup. So, once or twice a week try cutting out the meat. You may not even miss it.
Cutting down on food costs is a great way to save money and reach your financial goals. Follow the tips above and you’ll be on your way.
Looking for even more advice on reaching your financial goals? Check out How to Create a Monthly Budget.