Everyone is experiencing sticker shock at the supermarket. Whether it feels like you're grabbing 5 items or doing a full weekly run, the grand total can certainly make you step back and rethink your selections. The increased cost can be linked with inflation jumping from just 1.40 percent in 2019 to 7 percent in 2021 and leveling off at 6.50 percent in 2022. The cost of food has also increased by 11 percent from 2021 to 2022. Given that inflation is not necessarily in retreat, it’s crucial for individuals and families to learn a few tricks on how to save money on groceries.
Saving Money on Groceries Is Possible!
The good news is that reducing groceries and overall food expenses is possible. However, accomplishing this money-saving goal will take some discipline and effort. That’s largely because we had grown accustomed to relatively inexpensive produce, meats, and packaged goods. And only a few years ago, the check at a good restaurant didn’t feel like a partial mortgage payment. By reining in some previously relaxed spending habits, you can cut costs without sacrificing good meals.
Average Grocery Cost Per Month
The average cost of groceries, per person, in Georgia runs about $312 each month. In South Carolina, food costs are a tad higher at $411, above the national average of $355. While food costs are higher these days, it is possible to consolidate and lower these per-person expenses by following 7 simple strategies.
Here's How to Save Money on Groceries:
1: Make a Budget
The key to saving money almost always relates to creating a budget and, of course, sticking to it. Consider tallying up how much you’ve been spending over the last few months on groceries and eating out as two separate categories. Calculate your monthly average and ask yourself if that figure seems reasonable or if you can possibly cut back on both or at least one area. You'll be surprised at how much creating a grocery budget can help you cut back on extra unnecessary purchases and save money.
How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Eating healthy on a budget may sound contradictory, but it is possible to do. Here are a couple of tips to try for keeping yourself and wallet healthy and full:
- Compare the cost of frozen or canned vegetables with fresh options.
- Adjust your recipes or meals based on what is on sale. If fresh product or fruits are on sale, consider substituting an ingredient for something that is more cost effective.
- Consider switching to the store brand as an alternative to name-brand items. This can save you upwards of 20%-30% on your total cost.
- Try growing a garden of your favorite vegetables, fruits and herbs. You can preserve items by freezing or drying them out for later use.
2: Check for Coupons Online and Explore Weekly Specials
Many people have stopped investing their time in using coupons. This is a big cost-saving mistake! Taking the time to gather physical or digital coupons from a manufacturer's website or using digital coupons in addition to taking advantage of a store’s loyalty program will save you money!
3: Make a List and Meal Planning for the Week
Meal planning does more than just save time during hectic work weeks; it also creates an opportunity to put together a weekly grocery list. When creating this list you can use the grocery store's sale flyer to alter meals or ingredients and make choices based on what's on sale. When you only buy what you need and on sale, you not only save money, but you also save on food waste too.
Budgeting and managing your money has never been easier!
4: Limit Your Shopping Trips
By committing to only going to the grocery store once per week, it enforces the creation of a grocery list mentioned above. We all know what happens when we walk into the store for one item, we leave with ten!
In addition to the extra unnecessary items we may purchase, avoiding the actual trips themselves can add more savings in your pocket. The high prices of gasoline and diesel adds up, and even more so when making non-essential trips to and from the store. By crafting a well-thought-out shopping list that syncs with your meal plan and eliminating the frequent smaller trips to the grocery store, you can save time and lower fuel costs, saving you tremendously over time.
5: Price Check: Cost Per Price Unit
It’s important to weigh the two price indicators on product displays. One shows you how much the item costs while the other usually highlights the price per pound, unit or ounce. When trying to save money on groceries, it may seem prudent to simply select the lower-priced item. But true savings are gained by choosing the least expensive by weight.
6: Use a Calculator or Handheld Scanner
Calculators and handheld scanners are both convenient and cost-effective grocery shopping tools. By keeping a running total with either tool as you place items in your cart, you're tracking your spending to ensure you're staying in within your budget parameters.
Simply putting back unnecessary items or swapping out a name-brand for a less expensive option, you can successfully save time, complete your shopping run and stay within budget.
7: Consider a Wholesale Membership
Big box wholesale outlets typically offer lower prices if you buy large quantities. There are plenty of items you can stock up on that would mean extra savings. Bulk purchases of pantry staples such as flour, rice, grits, oils, vinegar, and canned goods are a cost-effective way to save money on grocery bills.
Not sure if membership is worth it for you and your family? It's time to compare costs! Get a list together of your top purchased items. Write down the items that you use or consume the most in one column, the cost you would spend at a local grocery store in another, then take a visit to your closest wholesale store. See which is cheaper when it comes down to per-unit costs to determine if a membership is worth it.
Peach State Can Help You Save
If you're trying to save money on groceries and other expenses, Peach State has the solutions to help you achieve your goals!
Our free budget templates are a great tool to get you started! Once you know your grocery budget, these tips will help you save even more. For more tips on saving money, be sure to check out our resource center!