Groceries often take up a large portion of a person’s budget, especially if they have a low income. This cost can feel especially hard to manage as buying necessities, like food and certain household items, aren’t optional. However, there are methods for reducing these costs, allowing you to spend less on a regular basis. Here are some tips on how low-income earners can save more at the supermarket.
Shop from a List
Impulse buys can easily eat into your food budget, and shopping from a list can be an excellent method for curbing these purchases. Begin by planning meals in advance for an entire week, then create a shopping list that contains only the items you need to buy. When you go to the supermarket, only buy things that are on the list, taking the time to comparison shop between brands to find the best deal. Often, this simple approach can be very effective at keeping the total cost of each trip down.
Buy Less Meat
Typically, meat is one of the highest cost items a person can buy. Therefore, if you consume less meat, you can easily save some money at the grocery store. Consider going vegetarian two or three days a week by removing the meat from certain dishes. Tacos can be just as enjoyable with beans instead of beef and dishes like lasagna can be made entirely meat free.
You can also save some money by cutting back on the portion size when you do eat meat. Instead of making it a star of the plate, consider treating it like a side dish. Then, you can still enjoy the taste while lowering your food costs. Just fill the rest of the plate with lower cost items, like vegetables or grains, and you can have a hearty meal without breaking the bank.
Avoid Prepared Foods
Generally speaking, prepared or prepackaged foods are more expensive than creating the same items from scratch. For example, a frozen burrito can be more expensive than making one of a similar size yourself, and it certainly isn’t the healthier option. Precut fruit salads or prepackaged vegetable salads are also costlier than their home assembled counterparts.
There are some exceptions to this rule, like a jar of pasta sauce purchased on sale is likely less expensive than creating the same experience from scratch. However, look at all of your normal convenience food purchases to determine if making them yourself could be a cost reducer.
Buy in Bulk
Often, the prices on larger packages are lower per portion than smaller ones, making buying in bulk a long-term plan that can save you money. When you buy nonperishable items, like toilet paper, see if the bigger package is a better deal. If so, then get the largest option you can afford so you can save money overall.
If you’re buying perishable items, make sure that you don’t buy more than you can either consume or freeze before it goes bad. For example, you can buy a large package of chicken breasts, divide it into smaller portions, and freeze them for later. This allows you to get more for your money without risking waste. If it turns before you can eat it, then you’re just throwing money away, so plan accordingly.
These are a few simple tips that can help you save money at the supermarket starting today. Take the time to look them over and see if your food bill doesn’t fall on your first trip.