When you’re trying to cut spending, the monthly grocery budget is one of the first places you should examine for waste. The average family spends 7 percent of its income on groceries and more than 5 percent more dining out, according to the Visual Economics website. By learning to shop smart at the grocery store, you can trim your monthly grocery budget considerably without sacrificing quality on the dinner table. The key is to be aware of marketing tactics and to know your shopping weaknesses.
Eat before you go, and make a list of what you need. Everything looks good when you’re hungry, and by listing what you need before you leave for the store, you'll cut down on impulse buying and reduce store trips for forgotten items.
Scan the weekly ads, and buy in bulk. Most stores run specials in cycles, so if you purchase enough of a sale item to last a month you'll never have to pay full price for that item because you ran out.
Look up and down on the shelves when you shop. Because the eye-level shelves have the most- purchased items, vendors jockey to position their products in this highly visible area. Often the same product in a generic or competitive brand will be displayed above or below eye level and will be priced considerably lower.
Learn your favorite store’s pricing schedule, and take advantage of markdowns. Deli, bakery and meat departments typically have a daily deadline to mark down items that are about to go out of date; by taking advantage of these deadlines, you can save up to 75 percent on items that can be safely frozen for future use.
Resist purchasing pre-made foods such as those offered in the deli and frozen food sections of the store. By buying the ingredients and making the meal from scratch, you'll save considerably on the cost of the meal.
Use coupons. Many manufacturers offer discounts on new or seasonal products; discounts can be found in the weekly food section of your local paper, at online coupon sites and on several cell phone applications.
- Resist buying things you don’t typically use just because they're on sale.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images