Ask Away...: Grocery Shopping 101: How To Get More For Your Money

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Grocery Shopping 101: How To Get More For Your Money

It’s funny how different people react when they try to save money. Most of the time, they turn their attention to some of their most expensive outgoings and try to cut down on what they spend. This can lead to them trying to save money on their bills, or they stop buying certain things.

But, a lot of people tend to neglect one of the most expensive outgoings of all; grocery shopping! That’s right, we all spend a ton of money on groceries throughout the year, every year. It may not seem like it while we shop, but all those trips to the store soon add up. Plus, it’s not like we can just stop buying groceries, we need food and household goods to survive!

You might be fooled into thinking that you can’t save money on your grocery shopping, and shouldn’t even try. This is wrong! You can easily save a lot of money every time you go to the store or shop for groceries online. Not only that, but you will ensure that you get a lot more for your money when you save as you shop.

At this point you’re probably wondering what the secret is, how can you save money while grocery shopping? To find this out, I advise you to carry on reading this piece as things are about to get very interesting. Listed below are some of my favorite and most effective ideas to get more for your money when you shop. Apply them to your regular grocery shopping routine if you want to see massive savings throughout the year.

Make A Shopping List

This is the easiest idea on this list, but you’ll be amazed at how often it’s ignored. With a shopping list, you have a complete list of things you need to buy. This enables you to walk into a store, and go around crossing things off your list. You’ve got something to focus on, and it stops you from buying anything you see.

I find this is a big problem for most people that go grocery shopping. They walk in the store, pick up a basket, and just wander around the aisles. They may have a brief idea of some main things they need to get, but that’s it. They have no written list, and it makes it more likely they’ll buy things they don’t need. This is the biggest source of money loss out there, buying things you simply don’t need. Why? Because you end up wasting them, which means you’ve essentially paid for nothing. Making a shopping list makes life easier for you as you know what you need to get, and can just cross everything off the list and be done. You don’t buy anything you don’t need, and you get more for your money.

Also, another feature of a shopping list is that you don’t forget anything. How many times have you walked into a shop and bought your groceries, only to get home and realize you forgot one of the main things you wanted to get? What does this lead to? Multiple shopping trips! Instead of going for one big shop every week, you keep popping back because you need to get more stuff. With a list, you buy everything you need for the week ahead, you don’t forget anything, and you prevent the need to go back another day. Frequent small trips are another surefire way to spend too much money when grocery shopping. Stick to one per week, and you’ll see better savings.

Avoid Expensive Brands

A really good tip to get more bang for your buck and save money on grocery shopping is to avoid expensive brands. We all get sucked in by branded packaging and well-known brands. So much so that we’re willing to pay two, three, four times as much for a certain branded product over a store brand one. Most of the time, there is almost no difference in the two products at all, and we’re just paying for the big brand name. If one thing’s for certain, the big brands out there are really good at marketing as they all suck us in with ease!

Instead, you should avoid all the big brands and buy store branded stuff instead. This is usually far cheaper, and there’s rarely a compromise in quality. Especially in certain foods such as porridge or cereal, there’s no difference between a store branded cereal and a branded one, other than the fancy packaging! It’s the same for many other items too, and the savings you can make are quite remarkable.

Of course, there are certain products where the branded versions are better, which makes them worth the expense. I find toilet paper and kitchen paper to be a lot better quality when comparing branded to store brand. However, you can still cut down on the expensive branded items you buy, which will still save you a lot of money. You pay less and get the same experience, it’s a no brainer!

Look For Grocery Coupons

One mistake a lot of people make is they go shopping without really looking for coupons beforehand. In some ways, it’s understandable. We don’t usually associate grocery shopping with coupons, and coupons, in general, are more of an online thing. However, as you can see on sites like Coupon Sherpa, there are plenty of coupons you can find online and print out to take into a grocery store. I advise you to look for grocery coupons before you go for your shop every week. Who knows, you might find some deals that you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of had you not looked.

Plus, looking for coupons helps you decide which store to shop at. I know a lot of people have their preferred grocery store, but you should start being more open. If one store always has lots of coupons and sells things at a similar price to another store, then it makes more sense to go to the first one. Check for coupons, and if there are some available in one store and not any others, then you know where to go for your big shop.

Register For Loyalty Rewards

Grocery stores tend to be the biggest advocates of rewards programs. This is because they know people will come to their store regularly, and want to entice them back time and time again. So, they set up loyalty programs that give their customers rewards as they shop. More often than not, this comes in the form of a points card. You spend your money, and collect points. You can then redeem your points for vouchers that can help you get money off future purchases. Naturally, the more points you gain, the more you can save in the future.

As a general rule, you should always register for loyalty programs where possible. It doesn’t matter which store either, register for them all. There’s no charge, no running fees, which really means there’s no excuse to never have a loyalty card! Plus, it means you can use the corresponding card whenever you go to a different store, so you never miss out on points.

This really is one of the best ways to get more for your money with every grocery shop. All the money you spend will contribute towards your points balance. So, you’re getting something back from every shop! Further down the line, you can use these points to really make massive savings. A lot of people are clever in that they save up their reward points throughout the year. They don’t redeem any and wait until Christmas before they finally redeem them. This gives them with loads of vouchers to help them get lots of money off their big Christmas grocery shop. As I’m sure you’re aware, this often turns out to be the most expensive shop of the year. So, if you use your points, you can make huge savings when it matters the most.

All four of these tips are brilliant if you want to get more for your money and start saving. What amazes me is how simple they all are too. You don’t have to make huge changes to see the benefits. It really is a case of just tweaking the way you shop here and there. I mean, how hard is it to write a shopping list? It can take five minutes, and you can do it while you’re in the parking lot if you really want to. Switching away from expensive brands may be tough at first, but once you embrace the change, it really doesn’t become difficult at all. Looking for coupons takes maybe five or ten minutes before you shop, that’s hardly anything! Finally, registering for loyalty rewards doesn’t take much effort, and claiming the points is as easy as scanning a card when you go to pay.

To conclude; it’s very easy to save money when grocery shopping. Be smart, be frugal, and you will do your finances a world of good by cutting down on one of your largest expenses.

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