A little while back we talked about the Dos and Don’ts of grocery shopping like an adult, and we’re back today with even more detailed tips on how to keep saving while out on your grocery shopping haul.
1. Whittle down the number of times you grocery shop per month. Plan ahead and make that trip count! Buy items such as grains, rice, pastas, sauces, spices, nuts, nut butters etc., in bulk. Purchase larger packs of meats and individually portion out your typical serving size and freeze them all separately in plastic bags (which will make the defrosting phase virtually painless.) If you plan out a general meal list for yourself and figure out how much of everything you’ll need, you can avoid those frequent trips to the corner bodega that start off as a “picking up fresh broccoli” trip and end up in a “I need to try all of these new Oreo flavors immediately.”
2. Avoid shopping in the middle of the store, and stick to the perimeter. How many times do you hear this advice? Quite often I’m sure, but if you REALLY try to integrate whole, fresh foods that are not pre-packaged into your diet, you would be amazed at how much money you save. Even if it’s popcorn kernels that you make on the stovetop vs. individual wrapped bags of mini popcorn, you’ll save a few dollars every time which adds up to serious $$$.
3. Learn to make homemade snacks. Because 6 dollars for 2 ounces of kale chips is just f o o l i s h people. Look at all the possibilities for glorious homemade snacks. Pre-packaged snacks make up a large portion of the expensive and unhealthy grocery store haul and the more often you go without the happier your wallet will be.
4. DON’T BUY TOILETIRES AT THE GROCERY STORE. i.e shampoo, conditioner, makeup, body lotion, etc. Even though it’s convenient to purchase these items while you’re doing your food shopping, toiletries are usually less expensive at the actual Pharmacy/Drugstore. Suck it up and save those purchases for a different trip.
5. Grocery shop with cash. Try to take out x amount of cash, say $50 ahead of time, for the next trip to the grocery store. If you only have x amount of money on you, you literally cannot spend a penny over that. When we charge/debit food, we tend to mindlessly throw in a couple of extra items that we “need.” Eliminate this behavior altogether by picking up only the essentials by paying with cash.
6. Always have a grocery list. “Did I need lemons?” “Are we out of eggs?” “Did I buy milk yesterday or was it the yogurt we were out of?” Having a grocery list makes it easier to get in and out of the store with only the essentials in tow. Nothing is worse then getting home realizing you already had 3 jars of sauce and a chicken stock lingering in the back of the cabinet, but were to lazy to check and write it down.
7. Take advantage of sale items, and buy in bulk. Fruit on sale this week? Buy in bulk, chop it and freeze it for future use. Toilet paper? Buy as much as you can fit in your apartment/home because you WILL need it eventually. The less often you run out of items, the less often you have to go to the grocery store which means less temptation to buy what you don’t need.
8. Invest in high-quality refrigerator storage that is airtight. This is a small upfront investment that will save you from wasting extra food and do a better job at storing those items that you buy in bulk such as cut vegetables and fruit. Consider these or these.
9. Be clever when it comes to your leftovers. Did you make a cake that calls for only egg yolks? Use the egg whites in an omelet with vegetables. Making a larger batch of ground turkey? Use it in taco salads, stir the ground turkey into soups, or eggs. Have a big batch of extra roasted veggies? Bake them into a frittata, have them with herbed cheese for a sandwich or make veggie quesadillas with a side salad.
Image via I-5 Design & Manufacture
Feel like you’ll never save enough money to be a real person? So did Steph Georgopulos. Read about it in Some Things I Did for Money.