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How to Keep Your Grocery Costs Low

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Eating is kind of a necessity of life, right?! So, buying groceries is also a necessity. And depending on your food preferences and needs (as well as your transformation goals), how much you spend at the grocery store can affect your overall budget in some pretty big ways, at times.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, US households (a household is 1 person) were spending an average of $4942 ($412/month) for groceries in 2020. And if you’ve been to the grocery store lately, not only are the shelves emptier than in pre-COVID times, but the prices have gone up on nearly everything. And with inflation rates being at their highest since 1980, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the rising grocery prices tunnel. But…there’s no need to fear. We’re here to share 16 tips you can use today to help keep your grocery costs as low as possible.

16 Tips to Keep Your Grocery Costs Low

Tip #1: Create a food budget

If you want to save money, then this is your first step. If you don’t know how much you can afford to spend on groceries, there’s no way you’ll be able to make sure you balance what you spend with what you have. So, create a food budget, then tweak it as needed. It’s a learning process!

Tip #2: Make a meal plan for the week

Make a meal plan for the week and build a grocery list from that plan. Be sure and look in your pantry and fridge to see what you’ve already got that you can use, as this can save both money and waste. Don’t forget that you can repurpose a meal into other meals too. For example, grilled chicken can be used for casseroles, salads, wraps, and so on.

If meal planning isn’t your thing, you can create your meal plan from the 600+ meals and community-added meals in The Transform App! Want to see what’s available? 

Tip #3: Check out the sales

Check out the sales and build your weekly meal plan with what’s on sale. One caution: Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need to go overboard. Food that goes to waste costs money too. But if it’s something you’ll use and it has a longer shelf life, go for it! The savings can last for months and months in some cases.

Tip #4: Don’t go shopping without a list and stick to it

This tip builds off the previous one, but it’s super important too. If you go shopping without a list, not only will you probably forget things you need, which means you’ll have to make another trip to the store (and spend potentially even more money), but you’ll also buy things you don’t need or that could potentially put you over budget. So stick to that list!

When you use The Transform App, we’ll make your grocery list for you!

Tip #5: Practice one-stop shopping

Financially savvy people used to advise shopping where the deals are, but with the ever-escalating gas prices and the time value of money, that’s not always the best advice. Unless the stores you shop at are very close together, see if buying everything at one store will actually save you money in the long run when you take fuel costs and time savings into account.

Tip #6: Use a grocery store rewards card and sign up for a grocery store loyalty program

Use a grocery store rewards card and sign up for a grocery store loyalty program. These two options can save you money, so as long as it’s free to sign up, go for it!

Tip #7: Shop at a wholesale club

Shop at a wholesale club like Sam’s, Costco, or BJ’s. And while buying in bulk can be a huge money saver, be sure to compare those bulk prices against what you’d spend on grocery store sizes. Sometimes, the bulk size can actually be more expensive. And before loading your cart with all those bulk items, be sure you’ll be able to consume them before the expiration date. Throwing away food can be a real drain on your food budget.

Tip #8: Clip coupons

Whether it’s cutting them the old-fashioned way or using digital coupons, coupons can be a great way to save money. One caution: If a coupon is for a food you don’t normally eat or is for a more treat-like food, think about skipping it, especially if this purchase doesn’t fit into your food budget.

Tip #9: Use grocery store pick up services

Use grocery store pick up services so you won’t be tempted to grab things you don’t need, which can quickly put you over budget. 

Tip #10: Go generic

In most cases, the generic forms of foods are just as good, both in quality and taste-wise, as their name brand forms. 

Tip #11: Always check the price tags on the shelves

 A larger package of something doesn’t always equate to savings. If the price tag doesn’t list the price per item or ounce, figure it out for yourself to make sure you’re saving as much money as possible. Every penny counts, after all!

Tip #12: Use a rebate app

Use a rebate app like Ibotta and Rakuten. It might take just a minute or two to use these apps, but the money saved can really add up!

Tip #13: Avoid pre-packaged items

Avoid pre-packaged items like pre-cut fruits or veggies or pre-shredded cheese. You can some serious money using fresh or frozen veggies and fruits and shredding your own cheese. This tip can apply to other foods too.

Tip #14: Eat healthier foods

While this might seem counterintuitive since less nutritional foods often cost less money, the healthier the food, the more nutrition you’ll be getting (protein, healthy carbs, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and so on), which can lead to a healthier life (and potentially reduced healthcare costs), but you’ll also feel fuller longer when you eat healthier foods, which means you’ll potentially eat less food. Less food bought = money saved.

Tip #15: Look above and below eye level when shopping

Stores are smart. They’ll put their most expensive items at eye level. So before taking something off the shelf, look up and down to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Tip #16: Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

This is a recipe for disaster as you’ll be tempted to load your cart with more than you need and put a serious dent in your grocery budget. 

We’ve shared a lot of tips to help you keep your grocery costs low, and while saving money is important, don’t feel overwhelmed by all of these tips. Choose a couple to try first, and then add more as you can to make that grocery savings grow even more!

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