Tips for a Grocery Bill You Can Stomach

If you tend to wander through the grocery store randomly throwing items into your cart, you might also be throwing away a lot of extra cash. With groceries being one of life’s necessary (and never-ending) expenses, you’ll be much better off financially once you start taking advantage of all the different ways you can save big at the supermarket:

1. Plan ahead.
Make it a habit of doing your grocery shopping once a week. But before you go, take the time to scour the newspaper and internet for coupons. Then plan your upcoming week’s menu, taking into consideration the items you already have and the items featured in sales and coupons.

2. Make a list and stick to it.
Write down all of the items you need at the grocery store. While shopping, resist the temptation to toss any unnecessary items into your cart. If you have difficulty sticking to your list when passing through the chip and cookie aisles, for example, simply avoid those areas altogether. And never go grocery shopping while hungry!

3. Buy generic.
Name-brand foods often come with a higher price tag than generic or store-brand items. Unless you find the taste of a name-brand food item to be drastically better than the low-cost alternatives, it usually pays to go with the cheaper option.

4. Channel your inner math star.
Make the calculator your friend when you visit the grocery store. Foods are often sold in varying sizes or quantities, and people generally assume the larger size yields the highest savings. But companies have gotten trickier with their pricing tactics, so it’s always best to double check which option is truly the better deal. Simply divide the price by the size or quantity to find out how much you’re paying per piece, and then compare. Some grocery stores supply you with this information right on the labels, so it might be worth reading the fine print.

5. Make a game of it.
Attitude is everything—even when it comes to grocery shopping! Challenge yourself to shave an extra few dollars or cents off your bill each week. When you approach shopping like a game instead of a chore, you’ll have more fun and will be more likely to put in the extra effort of seeking out the best deals.

Now that you know the tricks, it’s time to start grocery shopping like a pro!