Certain foods cost more than others, but it’s often the little things that can really make a difference in your grocery budget. The cost of produce, meat and dairy has gone up over the past few years, but some simple changes can help you save at the grocery store.
1. Buy generic. In most cases, there’s very little difference between national brands and store brands. In many cases, store brands are manufactured by the national brand company and just sold under a different label.
Besides having lower prices, buying store-brand items can also save you money because you’re earning cash back or points on those purchases.
2. Shop in bulk. If you have room in your budget, consider joining a wholesale club to stock up on paper towels, toilet paper and other nonperishable items when they’re on sale. Keep in mind that shopping at these stores often requires a membership fee — usually $50 to $80 annually — so if you don’t shop there often enough to make it worth the price of admission, consider splitting the membership with friends or family members who also need to purchase large quantities of nonperishable items for their homes.
3. Use the store’s loyalty card. It might be annoying to carry along another piece of plastic, but those supermarket cards can save you money. Each time you shop, give your phone number at checkout and make sure it’s linked to your rewards account online.
4. Stick to your list: Impulse buys can add up fast, but shoppers who were able to resist the temptation spent about 9% less on groceries compared with those who purchased items, not on their original list.
5. Check the prices online or on the app. Food prices can vary from store to store. Check the prices online or in an app before heading out. Compare prices at different stores so you know where you can get the best deals for each item on your list.