Clever Tips for Saving Money on a Tight Budget When Buying Groceries
When it comes to saving money, one of the areas that people struggle with the most is buying groceries. This is because there are several moving parts and things to think about, such as pricing, shelf life, how much food your family eats… the list goes on. But buying groceries on a budget doesn’t have to be so complicated. You can save on your groceries, eat well, and stick to your monthly budget with a bit of preparation and know-how.
The team at CalendarBudget knows just how important saving every penny can be, so we’ve collected some ways to save money on a tight budget while grocery shopping each week!
We all know that the most challenging part of making the meal is deciding what to make. One great way to save money on food while on a budget is to plan all of your meals ahead of time. Planning ahead helps you avoid eating out or ordering in.
Monitor Your Pantry
Keeping an eye on your pantry and frequently taking stock of all the food and ingredients will give you a good idea of how to separate the “needs” from the “wants.” It also prevents running out of something and buying more expensive items at the last minute.
Plan Meals with Ingredients that Are in Season
This is one point that’s often easily overlooked by many. Planning your meals already helps you save, but using only ingredients that are in season will add additional savings because they’re cheaper at that particular time of year. And even more savings and healthier for you if you’re lucky enough to have them come from your own garden.
Use Ingredients Already in the House for Meals
When creating your weekly meal plan, try incorporating a few ingredients already in the house to make things cheaper when shopping for groceries each week.
Never Go Shopping While Hungry
Shopping on an empty stomach is a huge no-no. This is because you’re more likely to make impulse buys if you’re at the grocery store while being hungry and get attracted by the smells and eye-catching appeal of certain foods.
Shop During Off-Hours
Another good way to avoid impulse buys or mistakes while purchasing groceries is to shop when the stores are less crowded so you won’t feel rushed. Shopping at these times will help make it easier to compare prices and ensure you don’t forget anything. Additionally, there will likely be more items in stock to choose from and buy.
Set a Logical Budget
One of the best ways to stick to a budget is to set one based on your needs and wants and offers a good balance without going overboard. Keep a running tally as your shop to avoid feeling pressured to make the purchase when you’re at cashout, even if you are over budget. One great way to set a logical monthly budget is with the help of a monthly budgeting app.
Take Advantage of Discounts
When trying to save on groceries, one of the best things you can do is take advantage of the monthly discounts, coupons, and clearance deals offered by stores. Buying in bulk can be another great way to get the most bang for your buck.
Keep an Eye Out for Seasonal Sales
Often, grocery stores hold big sales each season, especially after holidays, to unload their leftover stock. So, keep an eye out for these sales and take advantage of them as much as you can.
Avoid Prepackaged Foods
Many don’t know that although prepackaged foods are easier to cook, they’re almost always more expensive than buying fresh ingredients. Keep this in mind next time you shop.
Look High & Low
The most expensive items in a grocery store are often placed directly in a customer’s field of vision. So, when shopping, look higher and lower on the shelves for cheaper priced items. We often find that the store’s home brand is usually less expensive but has a better taste.
Have Your Groceries Delivered
Many stores, especially nowadays, deliver groceries or bring them to your car free of cost. Taking advantage of this service can help you avoid impulse buys, so check to see if your local grocer offers such services.
Going to the grocery store once every two weeks rather than weekly can make saving and budgeting easier. This is because you’ll likely avoid overspending and learn how to stretch your food and budget longer.
Everyone needs to eat healthily and heartily, but sometimes, it’s easy to cook more than you need to and overeat. Try to control your portion size and if you do overcook, be sure to take advantage of the leftovers for another meal that week. Keep in mind, you can also freeze meals for up to three months to have something easy to whip up—your own TV dinner.
Make Your Snacks
If you’re the type that purchases snacks throughout the day, try making your own to bring along with you. You’ll spend less and likely be eating healthier foods if you do so.
Join a Meal Exchange Group
Joining a weekly meal exchange group or starting one with friends and family can be another great way to save while adding some variety to your weekly meals and reducing how much you cook during the week.
Break Addictions to Save Money
Do you have a sweet tooth? Perhaps there’s a particular food you simply can’t get enough of; either way, controlling and breaking some of these addictions can make it much easier to save money.
Use Points While Shopping
If you shop at a local store that offers a points or rewards program, ensure you take advantage of this. Many grocery stores offer such incentives to repeat customers to help you save a bundle.
Pay Off Credit Cards ASAP
For those who shop using their credit cards, doing so is okay as long as you pay off those debts as soon as possible. Otherwise, your grocery buys will end up building interest and costing much more than necessary.
Try Starting a Garden
These days, it’s easy to grow your own fresh produce and vegetables. Try starting a small garden or growing fresh herbs on the windowsill to cook with, and avoid buying them at the store.
Switch Out Your Proteins (Meat)
Meat is the most expensive item on the menu, so if you’re trying to save money, switching it out with another cheaper protein can help. Try bulking up your meals with things like beans, lentils, or vegetables high in protein. This way, meals will be just as healthy but much cheaper.
Contact us today for more budgeting help!
If you want to save as much as possible on a tight budget, the team from CalendarBudget can make monthly budgeting easier. To learn more about how we can help you, sign up for a FREE demo online today or contact us online for more information and begin your 30-day, risk-free trial of our budgeting app!