Are you paying too much for groceries? With a little preparation and planning, you can save big on food costs. Try these simple tips to help trim your bill.
- Use a Grocery List. Having a grocery list saves you money because, as long as you stick to your meal plan, it ensures you are buying food you know you will eat. It also helps prevent waste. Sticking to a grocery list keeps you from buying unnecessary items and impulse items that can add to your grocery bill.
- Don’t be afraid to use generic or store brands. Many of the staple food prices are significantly less for store brands versus the name brand item. Usually the quality is the same, the products are just marketed differently. Often times the same manufacturer produces both the name brand and the store brand product.
- Look at the unit pricing. This is a way to determine if you are truly getting the best price. In the grocery store, you’ll notice that on the shelf below the item is a tag. The larger number on the tag is the total price of the item. The smaller number in the corner of the tag is the UNIT PRICE. The unit price is the price per unit of weight or measurement — often it will be per ounce. If we are not paying attention to the unit price, we are likely to grab the product with the lowest price marked. As shown below, this is not necessarily the lowest price per unit.
- Make a list of your price points on grocery items. Be familiar with what normal or usual pricing is on regular items, that way you will know if a sale is truly a good deal.
- Buy seasonal produce or visit your local produce stand. Seasonal produce will usually be the lowest price produce because its abundance will drive down the price. Not only will you save money, produce usually has the optimal flavor when in season. The local produce stand usually offers the common fruits and veggies at a lower price than the grocery store.
- Watch the weekly sales for meats or other higher price items. If you find a great sale price, stock up on items that will freeze or store well. This is where your known price points will be helpful.
Marcy Bowman, RDN, LDN, CDE