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Six Tactics That Made Me More Frugal When Grocery Shopping

Being frugal is about finding ways to pay less for your expenses. Groceries are a common target for frugal-minded people, as most of us spend around $270 per week on food. It’s also the expense we have the most options to save on.

It all starts with your daily habits and an active awareness of where your money goes. It all has to be balanced with health concerns, but most people without special needs can take steps to become more frugal. I have found six tactics that have worked for men. I’m sure they will work for you too.

Prepare simpler dishes

Anyone who is really frugal will tell you that the real skill in cooking lies not in fancy dishes. Instead, a really advanced cook will be able to make a tasty meal out of simple and cheap ingredients. 

Rice, potatoes, canned beans, and tomatoes can supplement almost any dish. While getting a full meal only from such ingredients is difficult, you can easily add them to your existing recipes. The effect this has is increasing the number of portions you make.

I found this tip when I started prepping meals on Sunday for the whole week. The basis of my dishes is still meat, but adding some beans, for example, helps me lower how much I need it. Since meat is the most expensive ingredient, the price of the whole meal is reduced.

Occasionally buy in bulk

Purchasing more than one product at a time is cheaper than buying a single packet. It’s especially true if you have a good habit of visiting wholesale stores or farmers markets. In ordinary grocery stores, there is a risk of purchasing more of what you don’t actually need.

Sweets, sodas, or products close to their expiration date are often sold out at popular grocery stores. While there’s nothing wrong with buying more of them if you need them, sometimes people fall for impulse buying. To avoid it, stick to your grocery list extra carefully when bulk buying. 

Make sure that you will have a use and storage space for things you buy in bulk. While it is tempting, do not purchase food just because it has a good price tag. That’s why you should buy in bulk only occasionally.

Avoid common marketing tricks

Floor layout, eye-level item placement, deals that aren’t actually good, confusing packaging size, and many more tricks are used by grocery stores. While the list of common marketing tricks could be really extensive, it’s enough to have the right mindset. 

Grocery stores are mini-battlefields for your attention. The main intent of this place is to make you spend more money. No trick is meant to make your shopping more convenient or cheap. If you want to save, you must remain vigilant and learn from your past mistakes. I have found the best solution to be online shopping.

Try online shopping

Online shopping has an unfortunate stereotype that it’s only aimed at rich people. While this is true for luxury goods and services, there are a few particular reasons why online grocery shopping is actually very frugal.

For starters, buying groceries at the store is bound to make you vulnerable to some marketing tricks. Impulsively buying something that is right next to the cashier or placed well at eye level happens to all of us. Purchasing groceries online avoids this as you have more control over your grocery list and can take time to evaluate prices.

Unless you live somewhere remote, delivery costs won’t be a deal breaker. Even if they are significant, in most cases, they save you time that can be spent on learning, leisure, or earning money. Purchasing groceries online also has the benefit of various online promotions.

There are so many ways to save and earn online that it deserves a separate article. One particular strategy that I want to highlight is acquiring gift cards. Instacart gift cards, for example, can be gained through multiple online platforms.

You just need a little bit of free time and some research to start filling out paid online surveys, sharing your internet bandwidth, or performing cashback. With convenient platforms and apps, it’s all so easy that I  get around $10 worth of gift cards for groceries just while commuting. If that isn’t frugal, I don’t know what is.

Try different stores

If ordering food online isn’t your thing, you should at least start visiting more than one grocery store chain. More often than not, people choose stores out of convenience and not because it’s better for their finances. Yes, it’s inconvenient to learn where everything is placed, but that is also intentional.

Each grocery has its own plan to make you dependent on it. Once you go out to another chain, you feel uncomfortable and go overpay in the same old one you’ve been visiting for years. If you really want to save, you must overstep your convenience and start comparing prices in multiple grocery store chains.

Don’t go shopping while hungry

It’s difficult to purchase food when you are completely full. The next meal seems far away, and you’d better spend your time on other things. There are many factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions, but it’s known that being hungry and tired doesn’t help.

It’s a really simple and biological thing that will make you spend more on groceries. The small purchases we make while shopping can quickly add up to a significant sum if left unchecked. The best tactic is to make a grocery list when a bit hungry and go to the grocery shop after a good meal and maybe a nap.

Conclusion

Not every tip here is a major one, and you probably have heard them before. It’s only when you start implementing them and changing your habits you start saving. I’m sure that after a year of actively trying at least one of the tactics, you will notice results that are truly major.

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