It’s a known fact that food is one of the easiest things to overspend on. Not just when eating out, but when grocery shopping as well – impulse buys, attractive deals, and even couponing, when the appeal to utilize a coupon is just too much, even when it’s for things you don’t need.
Luckily, saving more at a grocery store becomes easy if you figure out 1) how to curb impulsive spending; 2) what you can pay less on.
Here are our 10 tried and tested tips for saving more on groceries in Missouri.
1. Work Within Your Budget
Having a pre-determined budget is known to be one of the strongest tools against impulse spending.
Figure out your “grocery spending comfort zone” before you go on the shopping trip. For more effectiveness, you can utilize the so-called “cash envelope method” – keep the money designated for groceries in cash, in a separate envelope.
Spending cash should serve as an illustration that you’re working with limited funds and dwindling dollar bills supposedly make you more cautious of spending more than necessary.
If you find you are unable to make ends meet, an unexpected expense pops up that throws off your whole budget or you are struggling to find funds there are loans you can apply for to help you. Loans from lenders such as Simple Fast Loans help people in Missouri ensure they can afford the essentials when their budget is not able to cover life’s essentials.
2. Have a Menu in Mind
Have a business-like approach to grocery shopping. Determined several meal prep options and plan your grocery list accordingly. Keeping to the list will help with curbing impulse purchases, especially when they’re putting you over the budget.
Before committing to either menu option, stroll through the store and take a look at the prices. Sticking to the most budget-friendly items will keep the costs even lower.
3. Choose Cheaper Stores
Luckily, Missouri residents have the privilege of access to budget-friendly stores like Aldi. While there are certain prejudices towards Aldi, don’t knock until you try it. At least pay a visit and compare prices to your regular grocery store. You might be able to save more than you think.
If you’re an Ozark, MO resident (or are just passing through), check out Discount Freight and Grocery – a local budgeters’ favorite that specializes in selling items deemed “unappealing” by conventional stores (overstock, close-outs, liquidations, warehouse damages, etc.). You can allegedly save between 30% to 50% on your groceries here.
4. Wait for Discounts/Sales
Don’t pay full price on items you’ve noticed go on sale from time to time – either due to over-stock or the best-by/expiration date approaching. This goes particularly for non-perishable items you can use stock up on and keep on hand for a long time.
5. Stock Your Pantry/Freezer
As long as your budget allows it, always try to grab a staple that’s on discount – even if you aren’t planning to use it in the next few days. Meats, fish, and canned goods should be of particular interest here.
Meat and fish can be far too expensive to buy fresh, and they can easily be kept in the freezer for months. Canned goods can also be kept in the pantry for months and can easily add much-needed protein and fat to your meals if you’re having trouble stretching your budget by the end of the paycheck.
6. Don’t Buy More Than You Can Chew
That said, you shouldn’t buy items you won’t be using (or won’t be using up) just because they’re marked to be on sale. Stocking up is good for your menu staples. Buying things, you aren’t likely to use isn’t going to help you save as you’re more likely to throw it out after it collects dust in your pantry for a while.
7. Skip Name Brands
Beloved name brands are hard to let go of. But frankly speaking, they’re way too overpriced – especially when stores can provide generics that are much cheaper and taste just as (or almost as) good. Nostalgia can be a powerful ingredient – but it’s not always worth paying the extra buck for.
8. Opt for “Whole” Items
Pre-sliced and pre-packed veggies, shredded cheese, and other conveniently packaged items can be tempting to get. But if you compare the prices with “whole” veggies or cheese in the same store, you’re very likely to find out you’re overpaying for that convenience. Better save the cash and do a little extra work yourself.
9. Know Your Bulk-Buy Options
Bulk buying can be a great option to save money in the long run, even if it seems like you’re paying too much at the moment.
But you should also know where and what to bulk-buy. We aren’t talking about buying a large tab of peanut butter instead of a small one (unless you have a lot of kids who love peanut butter – then it might be well worth it!), but items and foods you’re likely to use in high volume during your everyday life.
In Missouri, there are several major options where you can stock up on common staples. There is Pantry Goods with a large selection of bulk options and free shipping on orders over $100 in Kansas City (check if they ship to your town), there’s Dierbergs, a local Missouri chain, that offers multiple discounts along with bulk buy options.
For bulk grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and similar products there are local stores all over the state (River City Food Market in Kirkwood, Zoe Sozo’s Whole Life Market in El Dorado Springs, Natural Health Organic Foods in Cape Girardeau). Check local options – you may have access to more than you think.
10. Adjust Your Grocery List
Don’t be afraid to substitute items on your grocery list for more budget-friendly options. Go for cheaper cuts of meat, seasonal produce, non-organic dairy products, yeast bread over sourdough.
This might seem like extreme examples for those who are already trying to save but frankly speaking too many people knock down on rotisserie chicken and cheap cheese when they taste just as good and cost considerably cheaper than their pricier alternatives. Expensive doesn’t always equal better.