Groceries take a big piece of our monthly expenses pie. Smart shoppers definitely would not ignore savings from shopping for foods, drinks, and everyday household items. There can be a long list of ways to cut grocery bills, which may sound overwhelming for many people.
So let’s start with the top 5 do’s and 5 don’ts of grocery shopping.
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Top 5 Do’s of Grocery Shopping
1. Check what’s on sale
Be sure to check what is on sale from the weekly circular of your favorite grocery stores. Focus on items that you usually buy and those that would go well with what you already have in the pantry for good dishes. Plan your meals based on the items on sale and what you’ve had.
2. Use a shopping list
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a shopping list. Not only it helps to make sure you won’t forget anything important, it also limits your temptation for impulse purchases.
3. Buy what’s in season
In-season fruits and vegetables are fresher and much cheaper. Besides, produce picked at their peak usually taste the best. You also get more nutrition from those fresh foods.
4. Use coupons
Using manufacturer coupons for items on sale can double your savings. You can find numerous printable coupons from websites such as coupons.com or Smartsource.com. Don’t just buy things because you have a coupon; stick to your shopping list.
5. Maximize cash back
There are a couple of ways to get cash back. One is to use cash-back credit card. For example, Amex Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back on groceries. The annual cap is $6,000 for grocery spending.
Top 5 Don’ts of Grocery Shopping
1. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry
When you are hungry, your stomach triumphs over your brain. You tend to buy things such as cakes or candies to quench your cravings. Those impulse purchases will hurt your budget.
2. Don’t stop at the snack aisle
Try to stay away from the snack aisle. Those junk food snacks such as chips and cookies are unhealthy and can burn your wallet. Replace them with healthier snacks such as fruits and nuts. If you really need those snacks for a movie night or a family party, be sure to include the items on your shopping list and follow the plan.
3. Don’t buy prepared foods
Prepared foods are more expensive because of labor and kitchen space needed to prepare them. Instead of buying pre-cut cantaloupes or pre-made salad, just buy fresh produce and prepare it yourself. Those things require minimal time to prepare but can lower your grocery bills.
4. Don’t buy in bulk if the items are perishable
It is tempting to buy items in bulk when they are on sale but don’t that if the items are perishable unless you have a plan on processing them immediately or sharing them with others (to split the cost). Otherwise, you may have to toss part of the items, which is a big waste of food and money.
5. Don’t focus on brand names
Are you always go with brand name items? It may just be a personal preference, but buying store-brand products can really cut grocery expenses. Some store (such as Costco’s and Trader Joes) brand items are brand-name products repackaged for a cheaper price.
Want a full list on how to save money on groceries? Download the tip sheet below.