With inflation rates at an all-time high, the price of everyday goods has increased exponentially, with many feeling the hit when they carry out their weekly shop. Shopping on a budget can help keep your grocery costs down and save you a lot of money. Sometimes, you may need to borrow money today to pay for the groceries and store-bought items of tomorrow.
However, before you look towards the likes of payday loans and other loan options, it is important you look at how and where you can save money. One of the best ways to save money when you are trying to cut back is to look at your grocery shop and how you spend your money.
There are a number of ways that you can work to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of your grocery shopping, which you should always consider, before looking to even borrow $400 or even less.
Be Organized With Your Groceries
One way to stay on budget is to plan ahead before doing your grocery shopping. Making a list and sticking to it will ensure that you are only buying what you need and are not being swayed by impulse buying.
When you are putting your list together, you can go one step further and use a meal planner to make sure that you know what ingredients you need throughout the week. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can also compare and contrast prices of your key ingredients from different stores.
Shopping with a list and with a meal plan in mind means that there is less aimless wandering of aisles and you avoid buying unnecessary items.
Shop Seasonally and Buy Local
Buying fruits and vegetables that are in season will help you eat better and will also save you some money. You can look up what produce is in season and when before heading to the grocery store. This could also encourage you to try out new recipes taking advantage of seasonal produce.
You may also look at which products, like fruit and vegetable are grown locally. For example, if you are in the State of Florida and you buy locally grown oranges, they are likely to be cheaper than if you were to for example buy fruit that had been grown in and imported from the State of Ohio or even further afield.
Watch Your Meat Consumption
In a two-year period, the cost of meat, poultry and eggs rose by nearly 16% in the USA. As a result, if you are buying meat regularly, it will soon add up. Maybe cutting out meat completely is not an option for you but, as it is usually the most expensive part of a meal, making an effort to cut down your meat consumption could save you money.
There are ways to do this without going completely meat-free; experiment with “Meatless Monday” or another day of the week where you cook a vegetarian meal.
In moments where you are eating meat, see if you can use less than the required amount and substitute with other ingredients such as beans, lentils, mushrooms or more vegetables.
Improve Your Cooking Skills
Take advantage of budgeting by becoming more creative in the kitchen.
Think about creative ways you may be able to use leftovers and think about any new dishes, soups and casseroles you might be able to throw together with unused ingredients. You can also browse websites for recipes which include your leftover ingredients.
Additionally, rather than spending money on expensive takeaways, why not try to recreate some of your favorite takeaway recipes using store-bought ingredients; not only will you save money, you will probably enjoy a healthier meal.
Handle Coupons With Care
Coupons can seem like a good deal, whether they are offering you money off or a ‘buy one get one free’ type offer. However, they are only ever a good option if they are for items that you would usually buy.
If you are buying items that do not typically make it onto your weekly shopping list, the coupons are working to encourage you to spend money on items that you do not want or need, meaning that you may actually end up spending more money than you intended in the first place, and you may then end up either having to borrow money from family and friends or from an online lender.
Take Advantage of Waste Prevention Initiatives
Many supermarkets mark down perishable food items at certain times of the day – timing your shop right means that you could be able to get a good deal.
Even if you are not looking to eat that particular food item on the same day, you could freeze any items that you may eat in the near future. Another thing you can do is take advantage of waste prevention apps which show you fresh produce in your local area (either from business or individuals) which you can buy at a lower price and prevent food wastage.
Limit Your Car Journeys
If you always find yourself driving to the grocery store to do your shopping, you will soon realize that you use many gallons of gas in your car or vehicle on a weekly, or certainly a monthly basis. If you save money on gas, by limiting the number of trips to the grocery store you can reduce your gas consumption. You may for example simply cut your grocery shop from every 5 days to every 7 or 8 days. The money you save there can then be put towards your groceries, or in savings for when you need a little extra cash.