One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your finances under control is to start managing your spending. There are plenty of ways to manage and cut your spending habits, but some might feel a little too unrealistic to enact, like finding a lower rent apartment, scoring cheaper car insurance, or landing a higher paying job. There’s one thing you probably do every week that can impact your bottom line right away.
You could spend anywhere from $100 to $300 per week on groceries. But how can you save money when buying food for yourself or your family? Here are some simple ways to help cut back on your grocery budget:
1. Know what you have on hand
Ever clean out the pantry and find you already have 3 bottles of mustard? Or worse yet, had to throw out expired food you totally forgot you even had? Before you head to the supermarket, take stock of what ingredients you already have on hand at home to avoid buying more of the same thing.
2. Make a List
What’s the best way to know what ingredients you have on hand and what ingredients you need? Make a list! Write down everything you’ll need to last the week. And when you group similar items together on the list, like a “snacks” section or “fruits & veggies,” it will be easy to track once you get to the grocery store. Try as hard as you can to stick to your list. Most of the impulse buys are the ones that end up half-eaten or forgotten in the back of the pantry!
3. Meal Plan
How will you know what to put on your list? Make a meal plan for the week! Having a meal plan and sticking to it helps ensure that you don’t pick up extra food you may not need. That will help you cut back on spending! A good internet search can give you great recipes or weekly meal plans to help you get started.
4. Buy Generic
Making a simple swap between a brand name cereal and its no-name competitor can save you several dollars a week. That could mean dozens or even hundreds of dollars per year! And when you make this swap with all of your groceries, you'll be sure to see a difference. Many times, the generic version is even made in the same plant by the same manufacturer as the brand name!
5. Price Match
Never pay full price for an item when you don't have to! How can you do that? By price matching! Look at your local grocery’s flyers or check their website for their weekly ads. After you've made your meal plan and your grocery list, check if any of the ingredients you're looking for are on sale. Not all grocery stores will price match, so remember to check before you go.
6. Skip "Convenience Foods"
Pre-made, pre-washed, pre-cooked food all come with one thing in common – an increase in price! If some of the labor of the meal was already done for you, it's likely you could pay more than you need to. By picking full vegetables rather than pre-chopped, bagged options, you’ll likely save.
7. Shop Online First
Shop online before heading to the store. Some stores have online discounts and allow you to purchase groceries ahead of time on the store’s website. This will help you to stay on budget and know what you’re spending before you even leave the house. Also, it will reduce impulse buying at the store and save you some time (WIN)!
8. Don't Shop Hungry
Ever shopped hungry and somehow spent waaaay more than you were expecting? Those impulse purchases add up, so try to avoid shopping when you’re hungry. Have a good meal beforehand then go grocery shopping, stick to your list, and start saving!
Cutting down on expenses and saving money can be a daunting task, but now you’ve got some ideas on how to save some money week after week. Learn more about how you can use GO2bank’s mobile bank account and our incredible features to take control of your financial journey.
The views and opinions expressed here may not represent the views and opinions of GO2bank, Green Dot Corporation, or its affiliates. It is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, or business advice.