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How to Grocery Shop on a Budget

Today’s home cook is an active, busy person. They’re typically also on a budget and need to make every grocery dollar count. Today we’re bringing you some easy and effective tips that show you how to grocery shop on a budget.

How to Grocery Shop on a Budget

These are tips that I’ve learned and honed over the years. I don’t always abide by all of them, but I use them as needed. Following these simple concepts can allow you to stretch that dollar further and shop your local grocery store effectively.

How to Grocery Shop on a Budget:

Shop bulk bins – The bulk bins are your friend. Many of the dried foods that you buy on a regular basis can be found in the bulk bins at lower prices than on the shelf in packages. The reason for the food being cheaper is twofold: no package or marketing to pay for! You’re simply paying for the product you want. Another cool thing is that you can buy as much or as little as you want or need. Only need half a cup of nuts for that recipe? No problem, just buy what you want! Super pro tip: bring your own reusable jars, bags or containers for filling. This minimizes the plastic bags you’ll use from the store and helps keep plastic bag waste to a minimum.

Bulk bins at Whole Foods - a great place to shop on a budget

Buy larger packages of food and divide – This is another idea in the “bulk” category. Nearly every time, it’s cheaper per ounce of food to buy a larger package and then break that package down to smaller portions yourself. This works especially well for foods you buy often or on an ongoing basis. For instance, buy a larger one pound bag of baby carrots, and then portion them into single size servings for taking in lunches or just to eat conveniently at home. Same can be done with beverages like juices and sports drinks. Super pro tip: try reusable containers instead of Ziploc bags for a more sustainable alternative.

Clip and use coupons – Coupons have never been easier to use these days. Between the in-store, online, newspaper, and on-product coupons available, we’re surely in the middle of a coupon proliferation period! So we’ve all seen the shows where a shopper checks out $700 worth of groceries and pays only $4.37, right? OK, so you don’t have to coupon to that level. Just coupon to the level you feel comfortable with. Sites like Coupons.com and SmartSouce.com offer multitudes of coupon options. Super pro tip: combine coupons with in-store sales to maximize savings.

Coupons - a great way to shop on a budget

Shop in-store sales – Speaking of in-store sales, they can be your best friend! In-store sales are especially important for shoppers on very tight budgets. Typically most stores print a newspaper circular that you receive in your local newspaper or that you can pick up when you enter the store. This type of shopping can be really effective to stock up on meats for the freezer or dried shelf-stable goods. Super pro tip: try shopping exclusively from in-store sales one week and see how much money you save.

Shopping in store sales - a great way to save money when shopping on a budget

Plan ahead – On the opposite side of the coin of shopping in-store sales on the fly is planning ahead before you enter the store. This can include picking out recipes, making a list, and then sticking to that list in the store no matter what. This is especially useful for shoppers who don’t like having to plan in the grocer store based on what they see on sale. It is a very effective budget control tool. Super pro tip: Use a program like Microsoft Excel to make par-stock lists of all the regular grocery items you buy. Print a sheet each time you’re ready to shop so that you can easily scan your pantry and fridge for the items that are needed.

Cook in bulk – Finally, a little cooking tip in the grocery shopping area. Cooking in bulk goes along with buying in bulk. When you cook a big batch of something, you typically have leftovers that can be eaten for lunch the next day or frozen to have quick and easy meal in the future. If you’re committed to shopping and eating on a budget, it’s imperative to learn to love leftovers. Super pro tip: Use a permanent marker to clearly label leftovers that go into the freezer with the following info: contents, portion size and date cooked.

Freezing Leftovers - a great way to stretch grocery budgets

Do you have any tips for people shopping on a budget? We’d love to hear them! Please share in the comments section below!

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