We all know what a pain grocery shopping can be. It’s an arduous task that requires careful planning, preparation and some common sense to be executed properly. Going to the store hungry and wandering the aisles is the surest way you’ll be spending more than you meant to. Follow these tips to be a supermarket saver! Ways to spend less at the grocery store.
1. Meal plan
Yes, this is kind of a pain…but it’s so worth it in the long run! You won’t have to wonder what to make for dinner anymore and you won’t spend money on extra items you don’t need. Just write down a few meals that you already know how to make and list the ingredients you don’t have. You already have a basic meal plan!
2. Don’t feel pressure to fill the carts
Shopping carts these days are getting bigger and bigger so that you feel like you should be buying more. Yeah…don’t do that.
3. Compare prices between stores
Comparing prices of the items you buy most frequently will give you a good idea about which stores are the most cost effective for you.
4. Shop the middle of the store first
You typically find the produce section in the front of the store, where the “bright colors put you in a good mood and inspire you to buy more.” Stay on your game and stick to your budget by starting more in the middle, surrounded by the less vibrant boxed and canned food.
5. Wear headphones and listen to upbeat music while you shop
Stores intentionally play music with a slower beat to encourage shoppers to move more slowly through the aisles — and buy 29 percent more! Put on your favorite workout mix instead and you’ll automatically move at a brisker pace while shopping.
6. Don’t be afraid to ditch items at the last-minute
Supermarkets have started making checkout lanes more narrow to discourage the over 60 percent of shoppers who change their minds about an item while waiting in line. Personally, I think it’s more considerate to return the item where you found it or give it to an employee to return, but whatever you choose, don’t let the narrow confines of the checkout lane pressure you into buying something you don’t actually want.
7. Buy cheese from the dairy case instead of the deli counter
Stores often sell their deli cheeses in plainer packaging in the dairy case, for a lower price.
8. Ask store employees about complimentary add-ons
“The butcher will tenderize meat for you, the baker will slice a loaf of bread, and the florist will usually give you free greenery to go with your loose flowers,” says one supermarket expert. So don’t be afraid to ask!
9. Ask about discounts on bakery or meat items that are about to expire
Employees may agree to mark down prices on items that are expiring the next day — just ask!
10. Buy a larger cut of meat and have the butcher trim it for you
One supermarket butcher notes, “We’ve had people buy one big roast and have us remove the bone for soup, run half of it through the grinder for hamburger, and cut the rest into a pot roast. That can save you about 30 percent compared with buying everything cut.”
11. Save money on seafood by thawing it yourself
Seafood labeled “previously frozen” at the seafood counter is often the same product you can find in the freezer aisle, but thawed and marked up about 40 percent. If you have the time to thaw it yourself, buy your seafood frozen instead. Another bonus: it will be fresher!
12. Don’t assume endcap displays signal good deals
Supermarkets sell these end-of-the-aisle areas to companies so they can promote a specific product.
13. Take a closer look at “10 for $10” promotions
A “10 for $10” promotion boosts sales on an item — even if the promotion actually increases the price per item! So always double-check that these specials are truly deals.
14. Do a little math before buying in bulk
Buying items by the piece in the produce section can be cheaper per pound than buying multi-packs. (Plus you’ll be able to inspect each fruit or vegetable for defects, which can also save money.) Check out the prices and do a little math to figure out if you are getting a good deal or not.
15. Double-check the details of a sale price
Often a sale will apply to a certain size package, but the store will advertise the discount between the sale-price item and a different-sized, non-sale-price item. Check the details to make sure you are picking up the right one.