Shopping at the grocery store can be a daunting task for anyone. From the amount of time it takes to purchase your food items to the bill that you receive when you check out, it can be difficult to enjoy a trip to the grocery store. However, there are many tools available to make your shopping trip run smoothly and to make sure you do not overspend while you are there. It takes planning and discipline, but over time you will find that shopping with a plan will make your grocery store shopping experience much better overall. Here are just a few ways that you can save money while you are at the grocery store:
Sign Up for Weekly Advertisements
Every grocery store has an option to sign up for weekly ads to be sent to you via e-mail. This is a great way to be able to comparison shop right from the comfort of your own home. Create a list of things you need and then go through the weekly ads and see what the stores in your area are offering. You can often times find very good deals on things on your shopping list by shopping this way. Be careful though! Sometimes advertisements can sway you to buy things you never intended to. If you are purchasing more than you can use to get a special deal, then it is probably not a good deal for you at all. Be aware of “10 for $10” or “Buy 3 get one free” type of advertisements. While these may seem like good deals, the average college student probably does not need everything that the sale is offering. Make a detailed list of your needs and stick to it.
Shop With a Plan
There are few things more dangerous than shopping at the grocery store with no clear idea of what you really need. Grocery stores thrive on customers who mindlessly buy products they don’t really need. The best way to combat overspending and mindless spending is to go in with a plan. The best way to plan is by making a list of everything you need before you go to the grocery store. Make a plan of all of the meals that you will eat for the week and buy only what you need to make those meals. Go through your fridge and pantry and make sure you are not buying things you already have. When you go into the store, stick to your list and avoid putting things in your cart that you did not write down. Another way to combat overspending at the grocery store is to simply stick with cash. By only bringing in a set amount of cash with, you will never be able to overspend. Only having cash forces you to keep track of what you are putting in your cart and what your total will be. No more mindless spending!
Buy Your Produce in Season
One of the best ways to save money at the grocery store is by purchasing produce only when it is in season. Buying produce during its harvesting season will ensure that you don’t overpay while buying fresh fruits and vegetables. The best way to know what is in season is to download a chart or table for your area that lists all of the produce typically sold in your local grocery store.
How much could you save from buying produce in season? Take asparagus for example. Currently, at the supermarket, asparagus is selling anywhere from $3.99-$4.99 a pound. Compare this to prices in April when asparagus can be found for around a $1.50-2.50 a pound. That’s 50% cheaper just by buying it during its growing season. Use this method for all of your fresh fruits and vegetables to save big while shopping.
Get the Most Out of Your Loyalty Card
A grocery store loyalty card is a great way to save money while you shop. By using the card in the store, you can save on many items just by scanning your card. Best of all, many of these cards offer rewards such as discounts on gas and exclusive coupons. Keep your eyes open for deals that these cards offer. These loyalty cards are completely free and are a great way to save several dollars on food and gas every time you shop!
Use Apps Created by your Grocery Store
A great way to save money and stay focused on your shopping trip is to download an app for the store you are shopping at. A few grocery stores in Manhattan offer this convenience. Usually the app will have a copy of your store rewards card so that you never forget it! These apps also have the weekly advertisement available so that you can check for savings while you shop. Many manufacturers will post their digital coupons on these apps to allow you to download them. Saving money has never been so easy! Another great feature is the ability to create a list right in the app. This will ensure that you buy only the things you need. These grocery store apps provide a “one stop shop” for all of your grocery store savings needs.
While these are just a few tips to save money while at the grocery store, there are still many more that can be used while shopping. Do you have any tips or trick that you use at the grocery store? Feel free to share them with us; we would love to hear from you! At Powercat Financial Counseling, we strive to provide tips to students at K-State to help them save money in their everyday lives. Have a question about saving, budgeting, or anything else related to your personal finances? Powercat Financial is here to help. Set up an appointment with us today and we can help you create a spending plan that works for you!
Peer Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling