Grocery shopping is one of the quickest ways to slim down your bank account. It seems like there is never anything to eat in the pantry, yet grocery bills pile up every week. Throw in a pandemic with stress eating and you’ve got a recipe for a disastrous budget. On top of that, you may not feel like cooking every single day but don’t want to go to a restaurant just yet either. That’s where food delivery services come in, but they can be pricey as well. Here are a few tips to keep your budget in line and save money on food.
Have a clear budget.
Avoid spending money mindlessly when you’re at the grocery store. Before you go, write out a clear list of what you need and the maximum amount you can spend. Having a clearly defined expectation of yourself will motivate you to stay on task and avoid impulse buys. The best way to start if you don’t have a clear budget is to look at your bank statements from the past month or two and see how much was spent at grocery stores. This will give you an idea of what you’ve been spending and where you can make changes.
Meal plan every week.
Being intentional with how you spend your money will help you save in the long run. Before every grocery trip, sit down with those in your household and decide what meals you will make during the week – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Create a list with only the ingredients you will need for those meals and a few snacks/drinks. When you buy exactly what you need, you will save money AND avoid waste.
Thanks to grocery store and couponing apps, you can scan your phone at checkout instead of carrying an envelope full of paper coupons around. You don’t have to go too extreme to save a few bucks on each grocery purchase. Search for items you know you need and look for digital coupons on those specific items. Just be careful not to buy things you don’t actually need to “save” money. If you don’t need it, you’re losing money by buying it!
Stay current on sales.
Check weekly ads for the stores you plan on shopping at. If there are bulk deals on items you know you’ll need, take advantage of them as soon as you can. You could even stack eligible coupons on top of sale items and save even more.
Look for free food delivery trials.
If you’re craving a restaurant meal, try a new service such as UberEats or DoorDash. You can often find a free trial or delivery fee credit to get your favorite foods brought straight to your door. Other services such as Freshly often give out coupon codes for a discount off of a meal subscription.
Times may be tough right now, but keep a clear mind and know where your money is going. Once you get into the habit of making lists and seeing how much money you can save, it will be a breeze!