How to spend less money on groceries is one of the most well-trod frugal subjects, so there is an abundance of resources available online to help you. In general, the more value you add in the cooking process, the less you will need to spend on the food itself. Many students enter graduate school without knowing how to cook, but it is a skill that will help reduce the amount you spend on food enormously.
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- How to Save Money on Groceries: The Ultimate Guide to Grocery Shopping
- 6 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store without Coupons
- 50 Tips for Grocery Shopping
- Dominate the Supermarket and Save Big
There is a wide range of prices available at different types of retailers on the same or similar food items. Specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods are likely to be more expensive than discount, warehouse, or ethnic grocers. You can even buy from local farmers or check online retailers for low bulk prices. If you are willing to devote the time, keeping a price book will help you determine which groceries to buy at which stores at certain times.
Further Reading: Is a Costco Membership Worth The Cost?
Stick to Your List
Create a grocery list before heading out to any retailers and stick to it once you’re there. You can cultivate your list throughout your week using an app such as Our Groceries. A complete and firm grocery list gives the simultaneous advantages of eliminating impulse purchases, minimizing food waste at home, and preventing last-minute trips to the store for forgotten items.
Buying Less Processed
You are likely to stretch your dollar further by buying fresh base ingredients and constructing your own dishes. The classic suggestion here is to “shop the perimeter” of the grocery store, which generally tends to include the produce, meat, dairy, and bakery sections, and to buy few items from the interior of the store, which is where the more expensive products are housed.
Couponing has been recently popularized by shows like “Extreme Couponing,” which has resulted in both heightened interest and criticism. The more organized and comprehensive your couponing system, the more savings you can potentially realize. However, some are critical that couponing is time-consuming and does not facilitate buying healthy, non-branded items.
Substituting Out Expensive Food
Depending on your dietary preferences, you may try to substitute lower-cost foods for higher-cost foods. Normalize the cost of the food you eat by the calories, macronutrients, and/or micronutrients you receive from it. One common suggestion in this vein is to eat less meat because meat is quite expensive; instead, seek our lower-priced sources of protein.
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