We might differ in the kinds of foods we like to eat or which grocery store we prefer to shop at, but there's no getting around the fact that everyone needs to eat. And it's not unusual to spend hundreds of dollars per month on groceries, even if you live alone. Add in a spouse and children and some people may see their monthly grocery bills climb close to $1,000.
That eats up a sizable amount of most people's paychecks. Unfortunately, there's no way to eliminate food costs from your budget entirely. But these seven tips can help you save a little on your weekly trips to the grocery store.
1. Double check what you have
Before you head to the store, it doesn't hurt to double check your pantry and fridge to verify what you already have at home. This can help you avoid forgetting things you need, and it can prevent you from buying duplicates of items you already have.
2. Have a plan
Going into the grocery store with a plan can further reduce the likelihood of buying things you don't need. Make a list ahead of time and stick to it. You could also check if your grocery store offers a grocery pickup service so you don't actually have to go through the store at all.
If that's not an option, you could hire a grocery delivery service to get what you need. This could also save you time in the store. However, you will have to pay a service fee and tip the delivery driver, adding to your costs.
3. Use coupons
Coupons can help you save on all types of grocery purchases, from produce to dairy products. You can probably find some in your hometown newspaper, but there could be many more available online.
If you like to stick to a particular brand, check to see whether it's currently offering any savings on its products. You may be able to subscribe to an email list to get alerts about new products and discounts.
4. Go generic
Buying generic as opposed to name-brand items can save you quite a bit, and often there's not a significant difference in quality. If you're unhappy with the generic item for some reason, you can always switch back.
5. Shop around
Some grocery stores in your area might have better deals on certain items than others. Or one might be running a sale this week, making it cheaper than the store you shop at most often.
Scoping out all your options can help you figure out where you can get the best offers. It might take some time to familiarize yourself with what each store has, but eventually, you'll know exactly where to go to get the best deals on everything.
6. Consider a wholesale club membership
Wholesale clubs, like Costco or Sam's Club, often have great deals on groceries, especially bulk items. But you have to pay for a membership in order to shop there. This could be worth it if there's one near you and you plan to shop there regularly. But if you think you'll only make it there a few times a year, it might not be the best way to save on groceries.
7. Use a credit card that offers cash back on groceries
Cash back credit cards can help you earn some money back on your grocery purchases over time. Pretty much any card like this should pay you at least 1% back on every purchase, but some offer bonus cash back for grocery purchases, either all year round or during certain quarters. Using one of these cards strategically could help you earn rewards even faster.
You can redeem these rewards for gift cards to your favorite grocery stores. This could be enough to earn you one or two free trips to the grocery store, depending on how much you typically spend.
These tips may not all appeal to you and that's OK. Pick and choose the ones you think you could easily fit into your lifestyle and see what kind of a difference in your grocery bill they can make for you.
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We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Kailey Hagen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.