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Food

15 Grocery Store Habits That Will Save You Money In The Long Run

No need for extreme couponing.

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1. Hit up the ugly produce section of your grocery store and farmers market for discounted items perfect for jams, sauces, and baked goods.

Stephanie Quilao/Facebook, Instagram: @veggie_bones_72

"At the farmers market, I save money buying the cosmetically challenged (AKA ugly) produce. They just have bruises, nicks, and odd shapes, but are still good to eat. The ugly fruits are especially great to make jams, pies, ice cream, or sauce."

—Stephanie Quilao, Facebook

2. Make a list of produce items that are consistently the cheapest and meal plan around those.

Instagram: @charliesfruitonline

"I literally have a spreadsheet of vegetables priced by serving that I update weekly. I try and use the cheapest ten as my main ingredients in that weeks meals and strictly avoid the most expensive 10. It’s a little extreme, but it does make a difference."

—Lauren Ramsey, Facebook

3. Buy your most used items in bulk to save you money in the long run.

Instagram: @amber_roberts24, Instagram: @_cj_selfmade

"Buy in bulk! Honestly — buying smaller packages of everyday things costs way more than getting a bigger size once."

—Marie Fischer, Facebook

4. Eat what's in season — not only will it taste better, but it's usually cheaper.

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

"Eat what's in season! Your food will be MUCH fresher and the taste can't be beat! This is usually the produce that's on sale, too."

—Gina Guadagnino, Facebook

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5. Never go grocery shopping without making a list.

Instagram: @mandaa_darling, Instagram: @kimggetsfit

"Lists lists lists! Planning ahead to know what I will be making for the week and what ingredients I will need prevents me from spending two hours at the grocery store just to get home and realize all I got was Oreos and sparkling water."

—Mickaylla Anderson, Facebook

6. Don't do all your grocery shopping at one store.

Instagram: @originalrae71, Instagram: @the_daily_tripper

"I go to multiple stores. I average about $35 a week for groceries for just me. I get most of my pantry stuff from Aldi and a little from Kroger or Walmart — then I buy most of my produce at another market."

—Kate Speese, Facebook

"Realize that all supermarkets are the same price, they just have inflated prices on different things. It all balances out in the end. One store sells cheaper milk, the other store has cheaper and better quality produce. Multiple stops can be worth it."

—Austin Geyer, Facebook

7. Download apps from your favorite grocery stores to check before shopping, and ones that give you cash back after shopping.

Instagram: @_debtfreejourneyinaz

"I use the Kroger app to look at what’s on sale and gather coupons before going shopping. Then, once I get home, I check the Ibotta app to see if I can get credit for anything I bought."

—Ashley Lawson, Facebook

8. Instead of buying large packs of prepackaged meat, hit up the butcher counter to get just what you need.

laurelhurstmarket

"If you eat meat, go to the deli rather than getting pre-packaged meat — especially if you’re cooking for just one or two people. For example, I don’t eat bacon regularly and needed just three slices for a recipe — so rather than buying a whole package, I bought just three slices."

jandyd

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9. Look at the price per ounce to make sure you're actually getting the best deal.

Instagram: @empoweredcurvywomen

"Look at the price per pound/ounce. For instance, a local Brie cheese may cost $11/lb. while imported Brie from France might cost $16/lb. Both will have the same triangle shape but the imported one will be much thinner to create the illusion that you're getting just as much as the local one."

—Paula Chea, Facebook

10. Buy groceries that you can use in multiple ways such as shredded lettuce, rice, and pasta.

Instagram: @neilnumberman

"Buy ingredients that do double duty. One bag of shredded lettuce can go into tacos, BLT's, and sandwiches."

—Becca Pinckney, Facebook

11. Shop discounted items that are nearing their sell-by date and store them in your freezer...

Instagram: @wlaken, Instagram: @novelgal13

"Keep an eye out for items that get discounted because they’re going out of date. Bread? Freeze it. Meat? Freeze it."

—Thea Butler, Facebook

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13. Look on the top and bottom of shelves for cheaper store brand products.

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"The upper and lower shelves have the cheaper products."

—Pids Dulay, Facebook

"Always buy store brands! There’s never been a difference in quality or freshness, and you always save a couple bucks per item!"

—Amanda Doherty, Facebook

14. If your store offers curbside pickup, order in advance to prevent yourself from buying anything you don't need...

Instagram: @chris_hudgens

"Our local store has online ordering where you shop online and choose a pickup time (usually the next day). Utilizing this service helps me avoid impulse buys."

k4559cfed8

"Walmart’s free grocery pickup — instead of wandering the aisles and buying way more than I need, I stand in front of my pantry/fridge and just order what I’m out of."

thedoctorismyparabatai

15. And try turning grocery shopping into a challenge — it'll make sticking to your budget feel like less of a chore.

Georgerudy / Getty Images

"Make a budget and challenge yourself to stick to it — no excuses! Try to stay between $25-$35 per person per week, depending on where you live of course."

—Mackenzie Eve Orpen, Facebook

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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