Buying groceries and household items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and toiletries can get expensive. But there are some easy ways to save money on groceries and household items. Here are 10 life hacks to help you stick to your budget:
1. Come Prepared
One of the easiest life hacks to save you money at the grocery store is to come prepared. Food waste is a huge problem in the United States and is probably affecting your budget. Before you head to the store, come up with a plan for what you want to eat that week and then make a list. Be sure that you will use everything on your list so you don’t buy too much or items you don’t need.
2. Buy Generic
Many generic items are exactly the same as their name-brand counterparts. Check the prices on similar items and buy the one that is the most cost effective. This is especially true for over-the-counter medicines, pastas, and cereals.
3. Shop With the Seasons
If you’re guilty of buying produce that is out of season, stop. Not only is it bad for the environment to grow and ship items from other parts of the world, but it also may be costing you more. Because production, storage, and transportation costs are higher, they mark up the prices in the store. Stick to local, in-season foods to save money.
4. Take Your Time
Another money-saving tip is to take your time when you’re at the grocery store. Look at the prices of items you’re buying and see if there is a less expensive alternative. For example, look at the per unit or per ounce price. You also should take your time to actually prepare your food instead of purchasing pre-made items that have a high markup.
5. Buy in Bulk
When you’re looking at the per unit price, you’ll most likely find that buying in bulk is much cheaper. If you have the space, buy household items like toilet paper and paper towels in bulk to save money.
6. Clip Coupons
You no longer have to spend hours clipping coupons. There are plenty of apps, cards, and reward programs that let you save coupons on your phone. Check out our post on apps that save you money to find big rewards.
7. Take Advantage of Sales
Most stores post what’s going to be on sale in the local newspaper and online. Use sales items in your meal planning (for example, if ground beef is on sale, plan to make hamburgers or spaghetti and meatballs) to save money. You also should get to the store early, as sales items go out of stock quickly.
8. Ignore Impulse Buys
Grocery stores are set up to encourage impulse buys. Items on end caps, in the middle of aisles, and near the checkout counter are meant to grab your attention and get you to buy them without thinking. Ignore these items when you’re at the store (you really don’t need them anyway) and stick to your list.
9. Get Rewards
Sign up for rewards programs at stores you frequent. These can save you a lot of money on your everyday groceries, and sometimes get you extra items. If you have good credit, you also may want to sign up for a credit card that offers cash back, gift cards, or airline rewards.
10. Reuse Household Items
Our final life hack involves not buying anything at all. Look at the items you buy and see if you can find another purpose for them. For example, you can reuse glass pasta sauce jars to hold other spices, grow countertop plants, or store items in your refrigerator instead of buying tupperware. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll be doing your part to reduce waste.
Don’t let the grocery store break your budget. Be smart about how you shop and use these simple hacks to save money.