A Simple Way to Slash Your Grocery Bill

Posted on Posted in Eating Out For Less

Has this ever happened to you? You run into the supermarket to grab a few items and end up walking out with a cart full of groceries.

You’re not alone. Supermarkets have designed it this way. Simple put, they are masters of the impulse purchase. In fact, depending on the study cited, between 40% to 50% of all our grocery store purchases are impulse buys!

For this reason alone, one of the easiest ways to reduce your grocery bill is to simply take fewer trips to the supermarket.

Unfortunately, your supermarket understands this all too well. That’s why they continually create new services and products designed to lure you inside the store.

One of the most ingenious are those Redbox video kiosks located outside many supermarket doors. These kiosks provide cheap $1 video rentals. Unfortunately, it naturally follows that once you rent a video you have to return it, risking the temptation of walking right into the supermarket again.

Yet cheap video rentals aren’t the only service luring us into the supermarket more than we need to. These services include:

  • ATMs and even mini bank branches.
  • Propane tank refill services.
  • Lottery ticket vending machines.
  • US postal service mailbox drop-offs.
  • Large floral sections.
  • Large greeting card sections.
  • Photo development and printing services.
  • Coinstar change counting machines.
  • Dry cleaning services.
  • Coffee shops and delis

All of these services are designed to get you into the store where you’re likely to make profitable impulse purchases.

To save money, make only one grocery shopping trip a week, or if you’re really brave try going only once every two weeks. While a little challenging at first, you’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save.

Here are some tips to make it easier:

Make a List

Creating a good list is probably the best way to keep from visiting the grocery store more than once a week. Its always that one or two items you run out of in the middle of the week that forces you back to the store.  Creating a list helps make sure this doesn’t happen.

Many savvy moms and dads create a list of meals that they plan to cook for the week. This allows them to determine exactly what they need to shop for. One thing to remember when writing your list are the between meal snacks.

Many people plan their lists only with breakfast, lunch, and dinner in mind, forgetting that almost everyone drinks or snacks between meals as well.  Also make sure to check your pantry and fridge for staples like butter, sugar, and salt that may force you back into the store prematurely.

Reduce Your Waste

Its estimated that Americans throw away 14% of all the food they purchase. One of the ways to make sure your family is able to last a week between supermarket visits is to use all the food in your kitchen, making sure none of it goes to waste.

Rotate the items in your fridge and cupboards by moving newly purchased groceries to the back and older and half used items to the front. This helps ensure that the older items like that half empty carton of orange juice or those 2 eggs left in the carton are used up instead of being pushed to the back were they frequently languish and eventually spoil.

Try to use your left-overs instead of letting them go to waste. Use them for lunches the next day or turn them into new meals by combining left-over ingredients with potatoes, salad greens, taco shells, or pizza crusts for a complete left-over makeover.

Some smart cooks even save left-over vegetables and meat in the freezer as ingredients for delicious soups. Others have a smorgasbord night where the family is allowed to feast on the left-overs.

Pantry Cook

When you get close to the next supermarket shopping trip but are rapidly running out of food, try panty cooking. Basically this is where you take inventory of your fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry, noting what items you have left.

Then visit websites like AllRecipes.com and type in the ingredients you have on hand. These websites will then provide you with a list of delicious recipes you can use to make meals out of your available ingredients.  This is a great way to make sure you use all the food that you have available.

Supermarkets are experts at getting us to make impulse purchases. They create a variety of services designed to repeatedly draw us back into the store. The best way to fight back and save an incredible amount of money is to visit your local supermarket once a week or less.

Do you make less frequent trips to the supermarket? What are some the the tricks and tips you use to make this work?