Grocery shopping is a part of modern life, and it can get expensive if you’re not careful. Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to save money on your groceries! And while crazy couponing techniques and complicated multi-store spreadsheets work for some people, I just don’t have the patience for those kinds of approaches. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that way! I think what most people want are simple tips for saving money at the store that don’t require a lot of time or effort. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in today’s post!
Today I’ll be sharing easy ways to save money on groceries, simply by making small changes to the way you shop! It turns out that most of us have certain shopping habits that cost us more money than necessary. Just by correcting these “mistakes,” you’ll start saving money every time you shop! And the tips in this list apply to nearly every grocery store, so you can save money wherever you like to shop. I hope you find these tips as helpful as I did!
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If you have a simple tip for saving money on groceries that isn’t mentioned here, I’d love to hear about it! Share your tip in a comment at the bottom of this post, and we can all benefit from each other’s wisdom! :-)
11 Costly Grocery Shopping Mistakes
1. You Don’t Look Down
When grocery shopping, many people just grab whatever option happens to be at eye-level. But you might be missing out on less expensive options on the lower shelves! Many stores purposely place less expensive items below eye-level. Take a few seconds to check those lower shelves!
2. You Make Several Small Trips
Frequent trips to the store to buy just a few items can actually cost more in the long run! And not only because you’re using more gasoline to get there. The Marketing Science Institute found that on average, shoppers making a “quick trip” to the store purchased 54% more than they had planned. You can save more money by planning your trips to the store and being more deliberate about what you buy.
3. You Always Buy The Biggest Size
It’s important to know that not all products are cheaper when you buy the bigger size! Look for the “unit price” on price tags and compare them closely. Once in a while you’ll find that the smaller item is ultimately cheaper than the bulk option! Some stores do this on items like cereal and french fries, likely because they anticipate that shoppers will buy the bigger option.
4. You Only Look In One Place
Many items can be found in more than once place in a grocery store. For instance, you can often find cheese in up to four different sections! There’s usually a high-end cheese section, organic options near the salad toppings, shredded or block cheeses at the salad bar, and cheese sticks off in another aisle. If you’re willing to check a few different places, you can save quite a bit of money!
5. You Always Choose Convenience
Stores like to pair certain items together to make things convenient, but they aren’t always cost effective! For instance, there may be a small selection of nuts and candies near the ice cream aisle. But you can find a much bigger selection of those items in the baking aisle! You’re sure to save money by avoiding those “convenience” offerings.
6. You Don’t Check The Salad Bar
If you need a specialty food item that you don’t normally use, check the salad bar. You can find items like olives, artichoke hearts, bacon bits, and a lot of other ingredients there! You can save yourself some cash by buying only what you need at the salad bar, rather than buying larger containers from elsewhere in the store. If your store doesn’t have an extensive salad bar, check near the produce or deli department for their “made fresh daily” offerings.
7. You Shop Early In The Day
If you shop first thing in the morning, you may be missing out! Many stores mark items down later in the day. Check the endcaps of the aisles for special prices, as well as the meat department and bakery.
8. You Don’t Double-Check Receipts
Incorrect charges happen all the time, so check your receipt! Common errors include multiple scans, sale prices not being reflected, and coupons not being applied. Take the time to double-check that everything looks right on your receipt before you leave the store parking lot.
9. You Forget Your Bags
Don’t forget your reusable shopping bags! Most stores now charge a few cents for each bag you use, or else offer a discount for using your own bag. That money can add up over time, so it’s worth the extra little bit of effort.
10. You Shop For A Recipe
When you shop for a specific recipe, chances are pretty low that those ingredients will happen to be on sale. Instead, check the store website or circular to find out what’s on sale ahead of time. Then plan your meals around the ingredients that will be on sale! It’s a little bit of extra work, but you can save a significant amount of money shopping this way!
11. You Don’t Use The Store App
Check the app store on your phone to see if your local grocery stores have an app. Many store apps have valuable digital coupons you can load to your customer card in seconds! It’s so much easier than trying to keep track of paper coupons. Certain stores also offer personalized digital coupons based on your buying habits. For example, you could get a coupon for 70% off a certain produce item that isn’t otherwise on sale!