The grocery store can get you, as it’s hard to come out with only what you went in there to buy. You always hear people say that they go in for milk, break, and eggs, and come out spending $100 on many bags of groceries, or even worse, after you look at your bill and you say “what did I buy?”. Whether you are on a fixed grocery spending limit, or at least keep an eye on what you are spending monthly on food so you can look to cut expenses, there’s no reason that making impulse grocery purchases should throw of your budget for the month and sacrifice the greater goal, which is to continue to save money so that you have ample savings when you are ready to retire.
Never Shop on an Empty Stomach
Going to the grocery store hungry is a recipe for disaster. I’m sure you have been there before where everything sounds good to you when you’re hungry and you get home and ask yourself why you bought those items. Don’t let those impulse purchases get you and do yourself a favor and eat a full meal at home before you go out shopping. At least this way you will not be shopping for what you can eat when you get home, or even worse in the car on the way home.
Shop During the Week
You know that any time you have gone shopping on a Saturday or Sunday it is hard to find a parking spot, the aisles are packed, and you have to fight through the picked over groceries while you zig zag through the shoppers that leave their carts in the middle of the aisle. The worst part is, why would stores put anything on sale when they know they have guaranteed customers. If you can go shopping in the middle of the week, in the evening, you will hardly see a soul in the aisles, and you can take advantage of many of the “10 for $10” and promo where you buy a certain number of ticketed items and you get additional money off.
Stick to Your Shopping List
Much like avoiding going on an empty stomach, never go shopping without a list or you are doomed as soon as you walk in the door. The less you keep your head down and focused on getting the items on your list the more likely you are to buy something you want and not necessarily need. If you can stick to the perimeter of the store on the fresh items, you can avoid costly purchases down each aisle.
There’s Nothing Wrong with the Store Brand
We see so many commercials with name-brand items that we assume they are the best, but these days, with so much competition between brands, you can get the same quality of product, even if you are looking for premium organic, or whatever today’s fad is, in the store brand as well, for less of the price. You can also find the store brands on sale even more when you use your shopper’s reward card, which you should be using anyways to load digital coupons and accumulate fuel rewards to get money off the next time you fill up at the pump.
Cut Your Own Fruit and Veggies
I know it’s not the most fun to cut up, say a pineapple, and buy already cut, but you will pay top dollar for someone else’s effort, so for a fraction of the price, just buy the whole item and do it yourself. The aisle refrigerator endcap will tempt you with the ease of purchase, but you will see how quickly your bill will rise at the checkout. Take a look at home much a pre-cut fruit tray costs at the grocery store, you will be shocked at the up charge compared to what it would cost if you bought each item whole.
Try the “Manager’s Special” Section
I know it sounds gross when you see “clearance” or “manager’s special” when it comes to food items, you think they’re expired and disgusting, but while it may be on the verge of expiration, the store (shouldn’t) sell you inedible products, so if you are looking for that night or the next day’s dinner, you could have significant savings, and what’s the difference if the item expires tomorrow if you are going to cook it tomorrow anyways. If you can get a steak for $5 instead of $15 and it’s totally fine, sign me up!