While all nonessential shopping should be put on hold when you're facing a financial crisis, grocery shopping is, of course, an ongoing need. But there may be ways to lower your spending averages during this time when money is
tight. Here are some ideas:
- Use what you have. As you think about upcoming meals, check the cupboards and try to plan a few dishes around food items you already have on hand.
- Make a list. Impulse purchases can really add up, and it's especially easy to throw things into a virtual shopping cart when ordering groceries online. Make a list and stick to it.
- Forget brand loyalty. Try generic brands of your favorite products. You'll often find equal quality at a lower price.
- Buy seasonal. The best-priced fruits and vegetables are those that are in season. (And they often taste the best, too!)
- Look up and down. If you're shopping in person rather than online, keep in mind stores often stock their most expensive items at eye level. Look at the top and bottom rows for cheaper brands.
- Do it yourself. Pre-cut fruit and grated cheese are convenient, but they also come at premium prices. Purchase items whole and do the prep work yourself.
- Clip those coupons. Browsing the grocery store's weekly ad can save you serious cash. Try building your meals around items that are specially priced.
- Love your leftovers. Try not to throw anything out. If you're worried you'll tire of an item before it gets eaten, consider freezing portions of it for reheating at a later time.
- Support local businesses. When you can, try to purchase items from your locally owned grocers. You'll be helping out your community and local economy.
Creating new practices around how you buy and utilize food can help you stick to your budget, lower your grocery bill, and meet your money goals faster. That means more cash for paying down debt, investing in the future, and saving for something fun!