15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Nov 16, 2023

15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

For most households, paying for groceries is a significant part of monthly expenses, and it’s only getting more expensive. According to the latest consumer price index, the price for groceries and other food prepared at home increased 2.6% over the past year alone. With a little bit of time and effort, there are ways in which you can significantly lower your grocery bills. Continue reading for tips on how to do just that.


1. Meal Plan

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but meal planning is one of the most effective ways to cut down on grocery costs. Creating a game plan for the week will help you identify all the ingredients you need at the store and help you avoid purchasing the things you don’t. We’re looking at you, check-out aisle candy bars.


2. Keep an Inventory

It can be frustrating to buy something at the store, only to come home and find it already sitting in your cupboard! Keeping a kitchen inventory can not only help you avoid buying unnecessary duplicates but will also make the aforementioned meal planning a snap! If you don’t have the time or desire to consistently update a kitchen inventory, be sure to at least take the time to look through your kitchen as you are planning your meals for the week. You can use what you have in your home as a starting point for recipe ideas to cut back on the amount of food you need to buy.


3. Make a List and Stick to It

Once you’ve planned your meals for the week and have figured out what ingredients you already have, you’ll want to make a list of the things you need to buy. This can be an old-fashioned pen and paper list, or you can make it on your phone to ensure you don’t accidentally leave the list at home!


4. Avoid Shopping When You’re Hungry

When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to pick up items that you don’t need. Your mind is subconsciously focusing on that need, rather than what is on your list. Always be sure to plan your grocery shopping trips for after a meal. In a pinch, you can grab a small snack on the way out the door to avoid those hunger-driven purchases.


5. Shop Local

Oftentimes, you can visit local farmers’ markets for fresh produce that is cheaper than that in the grocery store. Items sold at farmers’ markets are most likely organic and produced locally, making them better for you and your wallet, while supporting your neighbors!


6. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on all different kinds of groceries. Pro-Tip: Always compare unit prices (the cost per ounce or per pound) to ensure you’re getting the best value. If the unit price isn’t listed, calculate it by dividing the total cost by the number of units.  


7. Don’t be Afraid of Expiration Dates

Many times, foods that are set to expire within the next day or two are significantly marked down. Items such as breads, baked goods and meats can all be frozen before the expiration date and are just as good as they were fresh!


8. Eat Your Leftovers

This is one of the easiest ways to save money! Instead of throwing your leftovers away, save them for lunch or dinner the next night. You’ll save time not having to cook and clean up afterwards, and you won’t be wasting perfectly good food.


9. Freeze Extras

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to eat the same thing a few nights in a row, you can throw leftovers in the freezer. Remember to label items with the freeze date on your freezer bag and take the food out to defrost when you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal.


10. Be Coupon-Savvy

Couponing is another effective way to save money on your groceries. You can check in your local newspapers, grocery store publications, and online for coupons to help you save on your regular purchases. You can even use coupons to inspire meal ideas and help you plan! 


11. Try Growing Your Own Produce

Save money on produce by starting your own garden. A pack of herbs, for example, costs between $3 and $6 and can only be used for a handful of meals. Growing herbs, on the other hand, will cost you close to the same amount of money and will last you for several months.


12. Buy Meat When It’s On Sale

Meat can be pricey, but it’s important to know that buying meat on sale can save your wallet over time. After purchasing meat that was on sale, you can pack it up, label it, and stick it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Buying different cuts of meats based on the available sales can also prompt you to try new things and expand your culinary skills.


13. Buy Generic

More often than not, there is not a noticeable difference between name-brand and store-brand products. Rather than comparing packaging, take a minute to compare ingredients. Doing a little upfront research can help you find a better deal for what is essentially the same product.


14. Keep an Eye on the Register

Accidents happen! Keep an eye on the register to make sure the same item isn’t entered twice or that you don’t miss a discount that you saw listed in the aisle. We also recommend making a habit of reviewing your receipts, just to make sure you were charged correctly for each item.


15. Package Your Own Snacks

Avoid purchasing individually wrapped items and snacks. These items are often more expensive than if you were to buy a bigger box or bag and portion out your snacks at home.


For more information and tips on creating effective money habits, check out the link below!