3 ways to avoid overspending at the grocery store

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Could these techniques also help you stick to your grocery budget?


Key points

  • Groceries are a big monthly expense.
  • Budgeting can help you spend a reasonable amount on food for your family.
  • Other techniques can help you stick to your budget and make your money work.

Groceries are an essential expense that everyone should factor into their budget. After all, you have to eat and it’s a lot cheaper to do that at home as much as possible rather than eating out all the time.

Although grocery shopping costs less than going to a restaurant, it can still add up to a large portion of your monthly income. And if you’ve set a limit on how much you want to spend on food, it’s essential that you find ways to stick to that amount as much as possible so you don’t end up with a cash crunch.

Luckily, I’ve found three very effective techniques to make sure my grocery spending doesn’t get out of control.

1. Use grocery delivery services

Many grocery stores now offer pickup or delivery services. Often there is no charge for these services as long as you meet certain minimum order requirements. Like many people, I started using these services during the COVID-19 pandemic. And I decided to keep using them because they actually help me stop overspending.

With a grocery delivery service, I don’t have to walk into the store and walk the aisles. As a result, I am no longer tempted by pretty displays of sweets or novelties. I simply search the store’s website for only the items I have on my list and only add those items to my cart for pickup or delivery. It cut off all my impulse spending.

When I plan my meals for the week, I have grocery store flyers next to me. I check what types of meat, vegetables, and other items are in store and try to choose recipes that incorporate discounted ingredients. It allows me to get the majority of my groceries at lower prices and it also encourages me sometimes to get creative by trying new recipes.

I also learned my grocery sales schedule by shopping with these flyers and watching the prices. I now know that items go on sale approximately every six to eight weeks (depending on the item). Since it’s a predictable schedule, I can stock up on some non-perishable items when they’re on sale if I know how much my family will use during that time. For example, pasta sauce is on sale every eight weeks and we use about three jars during that time, so I’m buying all three at a bargain price.

3. Pay with a Grocery Refund Card

Finally, every time I buy groceries, I do so with a cash back card that gives me extra rewards for doing so.

Since I get money from my credit card company for every grocery purchase, it makes a big difference in reducing the amount I end up spending on food for my household.

None of these three techniques take a lot of time or effort, but together they’ve helped me save a small fortune so errands don’t take more of my monthly budget than they should.

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