Grocery shopping can significantly affect your budget. On average, households in the United States spend around $4,942 every year on groceries. The amount of money spent on groceries likely increased during the pandemic as more people eat out less often.
Grocery shopping is essential, but this doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank every time you buy food supplies for your household. There are many ways to effectively budget your money when grocery shopping, and this article will show you how.
Here’s the ultimate guide on managing your budget in grocery shopping.
- Stay Informed
The maxim that states, “knowledge is power” is applicable when it comes to budgeting. It’s crucial to know when your local grocery stores offer discounts and promos, so you can plan your grocery trips accordingly. This is one of the most effective and easiest ways to budget your grocery shopping.
You can stay informed about deals offered by local groceries by regularly checking weekly ads or signing up for newsletters. Some stores will also offer discounts to members of their loyalty programs, so make sure to sign up.
- Don’t Shop Hungry
Do you know that your appetite affects your spending habits? Shopping on an empty stomach will cause you to buy more as you’ll be more focused on satisfying your hunger. This will make you less thoughtful, which can result in buying unhealthier, expensive food items.
To manage your budget more efficiently, only shop when you’re full. This will help you follow your grocery list and not pick any food item off the shelves just because it “looks” enticing.
- Shop for Non-Perishable Items Online
E-commerce is booming nowadays and can be an excellent ally for budget-conscious individuals like you. Contrary to popular belief, buying online can help you budget and save money on your grocery shopping.
Instead of buying non-perishable items from your local groceries, opt to buy them online. Most non-perishable items sold online are shipped for free, and many online sellers offer discounts when you buy in bulk. Just make sure to inspect the expiration dates to ensure that you can still enjoy your purchases once they arrive.
- Minimize Buying Ready-Prepared Foods
Although convenient, relying too much on ready-prepared foods can cost you more in the long run. Not to mention that ready-prepared foods are bad for your health as they’re often packed with artificial flavoring and have excessive carbohydrates.
For your next grocery trip, refrain from buying ready-prepared foods to save more money. For example, if you want to prepare pancakes for your family in the morning, ditch ready-made pancake mix and opt to use eggs and bananas instead. The latter option is healthier and cheaper.
Sure, preparing meals from scratch might be time-consuming, but it allows you to experiment based on your taste buds and nutritional requirements.
- Use Coupons with Caution
Using coupons is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to budgeting for grocery shopping. However, buying unnecessary items just because you have a coupon for them doesn’t translate to savings.
Make the most out of your coupons by making sure that you only use them for items that your household needs. Choose to discard coupons for things that you don’t need, so you can stick to your budget easily.
- Be Creative with Leftovers
What your household does with leftovers can affect your budget for grocery shopping. If your family often throws leftovers, you’ll end up spending more money on groceries.
If you want to manage your budget on grocery shopping, be creative with leftovers. This means that you shouldn’t throw out leftovers just because they’re warm or were served during the last meal. For instance, you can turn leftover vegetables into pureed soup or add roasted vegetables into your omelets.
- Plan Your Meals Ahead
Going to the grocery store twice or thrice a week is expensive because you have to spend more money on gas. Frequent grocery trips can also mean losing income for individuals who have to miss work just to buy groceries.
Planning your meals is a great way to manage your budget in grocery shopping. To do this, list down all of the meals you’re planning to prepare at the start of the week and buy them at once. This will save you plenty of time, money, and effort as you’ll have to visit grocery stores fewer times in a week.
Consistency is Key
Managing your budget in grocery shopping doesn’t happen overnight. Following all of these tips doesn’t guarantee that you can budget more effectively — you need to incorporate all the tips mentioned here into your lifestyle and observe them regularly. You need to be consistent to ensure that you can successfully budget without compromising the needs of your household.
Samantha is part of the content team at Everypayjoy and works for various international brands. When Samantha is not researching and writing she loves nothing more than heading out into the country for some downtime.