Buying food is one of our biggest outlays. We obviously need to eat and drink to survive, so that we cannot cut out this cost completely, however, there are definitely ways that we can all save money on groceries each and every week. These savings can really add up so that over a year, we have far more cash in our pockets.
10 Hacks To Save Money On Groceries
1. Subscribe to a meal delivery kit service
Meal delivery kit services are a fairly new idea, but they help more people than those who can only cook toast. They are a lifesaver for those short on time, but they are also great for those that need to save money.
The idea behind them is to send customers kits with ingredients and a recipe in so that they can make a whole meal for themselves at home without the faff of having to go to the supermarket themselves.
They may look more expensive from the outset in comparison to simply doing your own grocery shopping, but in the round economy, they do help save money. This is because meal kit service companies provide customers with ingredients that produce the right portion sizes for everyone. This means there is no wastage. Additionally, while it may be a little abstract, if it saves you time, it saves in other areas of your life in addition to simple monetary cost saving.
- Home Chef – our preferred meal delivery service consistently provides delicious recipes with the freshest ingredients (from $9.95 per serving)
- HelloFresh – very affordable option even for those that want the convenience of having food prep kits delivered to their door (from $8.74 per serving)
- Freshly – Delivers fully prepared meals to your door (from $8.99 per serving)
2. Don’t just look at eye level when you buy groceries
If you do go to the supermarket yourself to buy groceries, remember to look above and below eye level.
Supermarkets are experts at how people shop and try to manipulate it so as to help make the most money possible. By knowing that customers are more inclined to simply look at products on their eye level, this is where they stock the most expensive items like branded goods.
By looking up and down, customers will more likely to find either the supermarket’s own brand goods or cheaper makes. They can be the same quality products and food, just not as well known. It can help work towards saving a lot of money.
3. Plan a route around the supermarket
In addition to knowing that customers tend to look at products on their eye level only, supermarkets have a few other tricks up their sleeve to encourage shoppers to purchase more than they need and intended.
One of the ways they do this is to force the customer to go around the whole store each and every time they go in it. They put essentials like bread, or milk and eggs at the back or as the very last thing that customers see. This means they are more inclined to put unnecessary items in their trolley en route to finding what they actually came in the store to find.
To get around this, make a list of the items you actually need but also make a route to follow around the shop so that you are less likely to get distracted.
4. Use your butcher’s know how
Meat is obviously one of the most expensive items when out buying groceries. One of the ways to cut the cost of meat and get the best value for money is to use your butcher and their know how. Don’t just shop in the meat aisle where all the food comes pre-packaged.
Ask your butcher for his advice on what meat is good that week, and ask for his advice on the best ways to cook the cuts he recommends. For example, as opposed to buying a fillet steak in the meat aisle, ask the butcher for a cut of beef called the butcher’s cut. It’s a far cheaper cut of steak but can taste just as delicious as a fillet.
He can also cut meat into several different ways for you which can help cut costs if you buy in bulk. He can mincemeat, slice meat and dice meat for you as well as butterfly cuts among many other useful skills – all from the same piece which will help go towards a huge saving.
5. Buy frozen
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to help save money on your weekly shop is to utilize your freezer for far more than ice cream and fish fingers.
You can use it to buy vegetables that are picked and then frozen almost immediately. This procedure helps in making them not only more nutritious when you come to use them, but also far cheaper as they are easier to transport when frozen. Plus they obviously keep for longer in your house when frozen which minimizes waste and the amount of product you need to buy.
Also cooking in bulk batches and then freezing food can really help costs down – plus it saves you time in the future as well.
6. Plan a weekly meal schedule
Along with using your freezer more, if you make a weekly meal schedule you can save money by planning ahead which will minimize waste as you are more able to bulk buy foods which save money. This is similar to batch cooking too.
It also makes you much less likely to buy more expensive (over the long run) convenience and processed food. Not only are these far worse for you and your health, as well as not keeping you fuller for longer, but they also have less uses and ways they can be cooked within the kitchen. They are also the types of food that you will pick up on your way home from work when you are hungry – it is when you have an empty stomach that you are more inclined to buy more goods and non-necessities.
7. Compare unit prices
Pricing in shops can be confusing to downright misleading at times. Essentially, supermarkets are guilty of pricing goods so they seem like a good deal when in reality they are just as expensive as they usually are or they somehow make the supermarket more money.
To overcome this, when comparing two products for purchase, look at the unit price, not the total price. From there, you will be able directly to see which is the cheaper product and which is offering better value for money instantly.
Just because something is marketed as on offer, does not mean it offers the best value.
8. Beware of prepackaged fresh food
We often throw prepacked fresh food into our trolleys and baskets because it is quicker and easier. However, it could be costing you money as it is often where supermarkets hide the bruised fruit or the vegetables that are just starting to go past their best.
Instead, take that extra minute to pick your own items. You can pick the pieces that suit your needs better – like bananas that aren’t quite ripe yet that can see you through the week, or several small carrots as opposed to one big one.
Plus, you’ll save the environment a little bit more too by diminishing the amount of single-use plastic that is used.
9. Use a basket
We are all guilty of choosing a trolley over a basket in the supermarket, but you are more likely to have an economical food shop if you use a basket. The simple process of having to carry your food around the shop as opposed to pushing it around puts customers off buying unnecessary goods to stop the basket getting too heavy. People who shop with baskets only tend only to get what the need.
Plus you are much more likely not to spend or waste any time browsing around the aisles.
10. The question of whether buying in bulk is worth it
Often, the per unit cost of an item is cheapest the bigger amount you buy. However, do be aware that this can actually end up costing you more money – specifically in terms of fresh fruit and veg as it is more probable that you simply won’t use all of the goods you buy and you therefore end up throwing more away.
This results in you having to go to the shops to buy yet another load of the same product, having just thrown a big portion of it away. This means you are essentially buying twice and therefore racking up your total grocery bill over time.
So before you buy in bulk, question whether it is really a cost saving, or a cost incurring, measure.
Saving money on groceries need not be a complicated or difficult task. In fact, once you get into some good habits, they can make a huge impact on your yearly overall spend. Meal kit delivery services are just one of the many ways you can save money and they can really save you a lot of time and effort too.
Plus, ultimately if you use one, you set yourself on course to eating some absolutely delicious food, too.