People Are Sharing Their Top-Secret Grocery Store Hacks That'll Change Your Life And Your Bank Account
Because who else buys a ton of groceries and still ends up ordering out anyways?
I have a confession: I just recently started grocery shopping again. For the longest time, I felt like it was a one-sided relationship: There was me, always hungry and wanting food, and there was the store, always taking all of my money.
So when a Quora thread asked people "What are the most famous grocery shopping hacks?", I leaned in close to get the scoop. Here are some tips to help us all save our coins:
1. Okay, of course I have to start with this one: STICK TO YOUR LIST.
"A lot of people have a grocery list, but end up buying much more than what was on the list. It's not only more time consuming, but also money consuming. You walk around the aisles, you get distracted by a new product, a sale you can’t miss, etc. Simply write down a list before going, and stick to it."
2. Avoid grocery shopping on the first of the month, when stores are the most busy.
"Don’t shop on the first of the month, if you can avoid it. The first of the month is when food stamps refill, as well as WIC vouchers. That’s also payday for a lot of people. So whether they’re on assistance or not, lots of people hit the grocery store on the first, so stores are going to be insanely busy."
3. Organize your ingredients based on where they're located in the store to save time.
"Once you know the route of your store, write your lists out with ingredients in mind, based on where they are in the store. If you know you need apples and oranges for your fruit salad on Monday, but also need tomatoes and peppers for your spaghetti on Wednesday, put them on the list together. That way you don’t have to double back to the produce section as you work your way down the list. You save time, energy, and run less risk of missing an item on the list."
5. Oh, you didn't know? Stick to the outer perimeter of the store first to get all your essentials.
"Stick to the outer perimeter of the store: Fresh produce, butcher section, dairy section, and bakery all tend to be around the outside edges of the store. Go around the perimeter first, and then go down the middle rows if you need more items."
6. Bulk isn't just for large families — buy in bulk to reduce spending.
"You should avoid going grocery shopping more than once a week. Try buying the essential things in bulk. This will reduce your spending amount and time as well. This is where your grocery list will come to best use."
7. Look at lower shelves first – that's where the most cost-effective products are.
"Grocery stores have a way to get you to buy more expensive products. They have them at eye-level and always have them more neatly arranged, to get the subconscious mind to automatically reach for the 'better' products. The generic and store brands are put out of the direct view on the lowest shelves, making them seem less of a good product. Surprisingly, those who want to get the savings rarely look and compare the brands."
8. In fact, just buy store-brand items.
"Don't be afraid of store-owned brands. Sometimes, a branded item is not as good as its cheaper counterpart. For example, here, store-brand sunflower seed oil is sometimes 30% cheaper than a popular branded blended cooking oil. The supplier that delivers the store brand produces the premium brand product, so even at the same price, you're getting a better buy."
9. Stick with seasonal produce.
"Some of us have forgotten produce has a season. That’s because, thanks to modern technology and speedy shipping, grocers can stock just about anything, any time of year. But it’s going to cost you to eat asparagus in fall or berries in winter. Know your produce seasons and shop accordingly."
10. Don't let sales trick you! Read the fine print.
"If a sale says five for $10, don’t feel obligated to buy all five. Check the store policy. Usually you will get the same discount even if you just buy a single quantity. The same goes for limits. A sale on soda might say the limit is six. This is a way to keep the item stocked for more customers, but it also triggers an impulse in shoppers to buy all six. Only buy what you need."
11. Become friends with the butcher and their family...okay, JK, but do become friends with the butcher.
"Ask your butcher what time of day meat is typically marked down. This meat is discounted because it’s approaching the sell-by date, but it should still be good if you cook it that night or freeze it for later. Typically, a large cut of meat will be cheaper than the same amount cut into smaller pieces. But some butchers will be happy to cut it up into smaller pieces for free, especially if you’re buddies!"
12. Lastly, get a return on your investment with cash back programs.
"Websites such as Savemonk offer cash back on shopping online. Register on their website and shop through them, then you can earn cash back. Also, refer a friend and earn some portion of his/her cash back as well! Not only do you save, but you also earn."