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8 Ways You Can Lower Grocery Expenses

If you are trying to lower your household budget, one of the first things that you can look into is your grocery expenses. Actually, your food budget in general can be easily trimmed if you really want to. You just have to begin by implementing smart spending while grocery shopping.

There are so many options for you to lower your food costs. All it really takes is an understanding of your options. But before we can take a look at the different ways you can cut back on your grocery spending, let us understand the shopping habits of American consumers first.

The American grocery shopping habits

woman holding a bag of groceriesAccording to an infographic published on the SuperMarketNews.com, consumers who are trying to weather a financial problem is most likely to cut back on their household budget. One of the things that they will cut back on is their grocery expenses. The survey was done in Q3 of 2013 – just when the debt ceiling was about to happen and the government shutdown was looming in the horizon.

The survey revealed that consumers are changing their shopping habits in anticipation of a looming financial crisis. With families in particular, 54% will begin trying lower priced brands to cut back on grocery expenses. Not only that 40% will look for coupons online while 45% will go to multiple stored to find the lowest price for their usual purchases. Millennials are also noted to do the same. 55% will try lower priced brands, 43% will shop at different stores to get the best prices while 39% will look for online coupons to help with their grocery shopping.

In another infographic that is published on the InfographicList.com, the following details are revealed about the grocery shopping habits of consumers.

  • 60% shop in supermarkets while 19% shop in mass merchandisers and 6% in warehouse stores.

  • 36% of consumers do their grocery once a week, 26% do it multiple times a week, 24% shop a few times a month. 8% buy groceries once a month while 6% buy it every day.

  • 44% use debit to pay for their grocery expenses. 25% use cash while 19% use credit cards.

  • According to men, 64% of the grocery is done by them while women say that 81% of the grocery is done by them.

It should be interesting to note that when there is a financial crisis, consumers are willing to find options that will help them cut back on their grocery expenses.

8 tips to help you lower your grocery spending

But the question is, how can you lower your grocery spending? As long as you implement a good amount of smart spending, it is possible to shop and save at the same time. Here are 8 ways that you can cut back on your grocery expenses.

  1. Know your budget. Always set your budget and stick to that before you go to the grocery. It pays to know your boundaries so that you can keep your spending within the limit. If you really want to save on your food and grocery budget, this is what you should be focused on. You have to strictly separate your wants from your needs. When buying products, start with the necessities and set aside the wants. In the checkout counter, pay for the needs first. If there is anything left in your budget, then you can get the wants.

  2. Plan your grocery errands. It is also important to plan your grocery shopping so that you can maximize the time, effort and money you will spend. If you do your grocery once a week, you should plan your meals on a weekly basis. You can do this as you create your grocery shopping list. It will allow you to buy products in bulk so you can save on cost. Always check your pantry before going out. This is to ensure that you will only buy what you really need. Also, keep an open mind about leftovers. You can maximize the cooking time if you cook a big meal at night and then eat the leftovers the next day. It will minimize the effort of cooking.

  3. Schedule your shopping. It is also important that you consider the time and your physical condition when you shop. It is said that when you shop when you are hungry, you tend to get more products that what you really need. Also, you have to take advantage of the sale and promo events of the grocery store that you love to shop in.

  4. Try to get discounts wherever you can. This can be done by joining memberships and loyalty programs. If you shop at the same store over and over again, it pays to join any membership that they may offer. These are great sources of discounts and freebies. Or you can go online to get coupons that you can use while shopping.

  5. Opt to buy generic products. In most cases, name brands will only cost you much because of the company behind it. But if you scrutinize the product, they are not much different from the generic ones. Best of all, they come cheaper too.

  6. Refrain from buying prepackaged products. Most of us want the easy way all the time. This is why pre-packed food and products appeal to us. We want cooking at home to be very easy – that is why we buy them sliced or diced already. While it can make things easier, they will end up being more costly. Just buy the whole product and do the food preparations yourself.

  7. Look at the bottom rack for cheaper items. Grocery stores will always push the expensive products on the shelves that are within your eye level. These shelf spaces are usually paid for and you can be sure that these costs are passed on to you. Try bending to see the products at the lower shelves. You may find great bargains there.

  8. Give your storage some thought. We want to encourage you to buy products in bulk but only if you have the storage space for them. You will not be saving on grocery expenses if the food your bought at a discount goes to waste.

Habits that can go side by with your grocery savings

Apart from the tips that we have mentioned, there are also certain habits that you can practice that will really help you cut back on your food budget in general. Here are 3 of them that we highly encourage you to implement.

  • Mind what you eat. Opt to eat healthy food that is cooked at home because if it not only cheaper, it will help take care of your body. Americans love to eat fast food meals and this can really take its toll on your body. Based on the data shown on InfographicsArchive.com, 500 million Americans eat fast food meals every day. The same infographic also stated that too much consumption of these meals can lead to mental problems like depression and anxiety. If you are mindful of what you eat, you will not only save on food costs, you can also save on healthcare costs.

  • Grow your own produce. This tip will depend on what you can grow at home. If you live in a condo unit, you can put herbs in a pot and that can save you money on herbs and spices. If you have a backyard, try to grow tomatoes, potatoes and other green leafy vegetables. That will eliminate the need to buy these produce in the grocery.

  • Bag your leftovers. We’ve mentioned earlier that you should keep an eye on leftovers when planning your meals for the week. You may want to include the food that you will bag for the office. That will also save you money on your overall household budget.

Cutting back on grocery expenses is really quite simple but it will take a lot of getting used to. Even if you think that the saving per product is small, it will all add up in the end.

Here is a video from National Debt Relief that has tips to teach you how to setup a budget for your household.

By Diana Roberts
Diana hates debt just as much as you do. She is a finance writer for National Debt Relief. She aims to provide the best information to win the battle against debt.

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