how to save on groceries

How to Save Money on Groceries

Grocery bills really add up for the typical American family. The average U.S. household, with a family of four, spends nearly $800 a month on groceries.

Here’s how to slash your food spending, cut your grocery bill in half and save money on groceries.

  1. Don’t fall for marketing tricks

Retailers and manufacturers use all kind of marketing tricks – like grouping and labeling – to get you to spend more money at the grocery store.

Grouping is when a store puts a host of related items together, hoping you’ll buy them all. So let’s say you ran into the store to pick up some chips, the store will have those chips on a display, right next to dip, salsa and cheese – along with pretzels and maybe packs of nuts too! Don’t fall for it.

Labeling is when companies slap a supposedly desirable label on food items and then charge you more, perhaps even twice the price. Take “organic” food labels, for example: You don’t need to pay double for certain fruit with “organic” labels. Things like oranges and bananas have skins that already protect them from pesticides. So buying organic fruit like that is a money waster.

  1. Join multiple loyalty programs

Joining a loyalty programs means getting a free store-issued card or signing up for a customer mailing list that entitles you to big discounts. Nearly all grocery chains have a loyalty program where you get preferred customer deals, often at 50% off the regular price.

The key is to shop based on current deals being offered, which is why you should join several loyalty programs so you can always snag the latest bargains and better comparison shop.

  1. Save money on groceries with digital coupons

You may have seen your Mom or Grandmother clipping coupons from the local newspaper – and you can still get coupons that way. But an even better, more up-to-date way to slash your grocery bill is to use digital coupons that you can find online.

Lots of websites and apps – like Grocery IQ and Saving Star – offer digital coupons or cash-back rebates to give you more savings right from your smart phone. And when you get really good at using these coupons you can stack them, learning how to not just cut costs, but even get money back from the grocery store.

  1. Take your calculator – not your kid

When you get to the super market take a calculator with you, but leave your children at home. The calculator is going to get you figure out the true unit cost of different items that may seem confusing. It can also help you keep a running tally of your purchases, so your spending sticks to your planned budget.

And whenever possible, don’t take kids shopping with you. They will always ask for extra stuff, which just fills your cart with unplanned items – especially when you’re at the checkout counter and the kids start eyeing all those last-minute treats near the cash register.

  1. Be smart with meat and seafood

Cut your grocery bill by using a couple of strategies focused on meat and seafood.

For starters, make at least one day a week a meatless day and one with no seafood either. That’ll save you big bucks.

The average American eats more than 70 pounds of red meat a year, which costs nearly $500 per person. For a family of four, that’s $2,000. So this single tip can slash hundreds of dollars off a family’s yearly grocery bill.

Also, try this money-saving trick: Go hunting for meats that are priced at $1 a pound. In high-cost areas of the country you might have to edge up to maybe $1.25 a pound, but you can definitely find these bargains.

Yes, you’ll be eating mostly chicken, and not steak. But it’s amazing how much you’ll lower you food costs – just by being more conscious of the price per pound you’re paying for meat.

A final tip to save money on groceries: buying whole chickens, instead of the pre-cut packages, is where you’ll find the better bargains.

The trade-off is one of time vs. money: You put it a little extra work and spend time to cut up the meat yourself and, in return, you’ll save extra bucks.

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