Saving on groceries is a science. It is someone’s job to appropriately shelve items, create signs and develop a layout that provokes you into spending more money, but there are ways you can be saving on groceries. With just a bit of patience, a clear motive and a strict budget, you won’t have to worry about shelling out too much dough for your grub.
Make a List
Making a grocery list may seem like something only soccer moms do, but it’s pretty smart (kudos, soccer moms!). Take some time before you even step foot inside your local grocery store to determine what you need to get you through the week. You might want to look at the store’s sale flyer, whether it is online or in paper, and make a note of things you want that are on sale. Allow yourself a little leeway for a sweet treat or salty snack, but don’t go overboard.
Look Beyond Eye-Level
There is a science behind grocery store shopping–the priciest items are placed right at eye level. Take a second and look around for the best cereal within your budget. You may not be able to afford Kashi granola, but local stores often have similar products that are under a generic name at a much lower price. Always make sure to give yourself enough time to spend at the grocer so that you are able to take a minute to find the best price.
Don’t Get Lazy
That pre-washed bag of spinach, arugula and romaine lettuce may be calling your name, but resist the temptation! Purchasing greens in bulk is convenient, but it is much more money than buying, cutting and rinsing your own. The same goes for any prepackaged veggies. If possible, head to a local farmers market or produce stand to pick up fresh, in-season items, which are often less expensive.
Be a Lone Ranger
Grocery shopping can be boring, but going with a friend or significant other can quickly distract you from the money you’re spending. Since both of you have different tastes, you’re likely going to buy more food in general and you may stray from the handy list that you worked so hard to create. It is usually best to go to the store right after an early dinner when it’s not too crowded and you’re not hungry.
Take a Close Look
Brightly colored sales tags will get you every time if you don’t pay close attention to the fine print. It may say “two for five,” but a lot of times you don’t have to purchase two items to receive the discount. If you’re not sure about the deal, just ask an employee about the details.