Financial times are precarious right now at best, and the most prudent advice given today is carefully watch how we spend. Since we shell out a good portion of our paychecks on groceries, here’s how we can reduce one of our largest monthly expenses.
- Make a list and stick to it. Lists focus your shopping and are the single best way to save money.
- Compare unit pricing, not box size. As with good things, good prices sometimes come in small packages.
- If you only need a handful of items, use a basket, not a cart. Empty space cries to be filled.
- If it’s not on your list, don’t pick it up. According to Paco Underhill in Why We Buy: “Virtually all unplanned purchases…come as a result of the shopper seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that promises pleasure, if not total fulfillment.”
- Shop at the edge of the store. That’s where the healthier, cheaper items hide.
- Disavow brand loyalty and swear allegiance to the lowest price.
- Consider generics. You usually get the same quality, without the unnecessary branding.
- Learn to love coupons. With practice, you can buy almost $150 worth of stuff for $5.
- Make one big shop, rather than several small ones. You’ll save on gas while inoculating against wasteful spending.
- Buy from bulk bins. Why pay for packaging and marketing when you can reach right in and scoop out exactly what you need?
- Check your receipt. Don’t let an errant scan ruin your hard work.
- Shop alone. Science shows that we spend more when we’re with company.
- Track your spending so you can see what’s eating your money. Committed receipt hawks can spot price cycles to help guide their shopping.
- Eat a meal before shopping. Shopping on a full stomach tamps down impulse spending and keeps you focused on your list.
- Shop without a car. Nothing limits spending like knowing you’ll have to carry your goods home.