(MoneyHippo.com) – Everyone’s budget contains two types of expenses: fixed and variable. While you might have little control over bills set in stone, the others are a bit more flexible. Groceries provide a great example of an expense with considerable wiggle room. Here are several ways you can get the most out of your shopping trip while saving money on food.
- Plan: The number-one way to save at the grocery store is to make a list. Decide what meals and snacks your family will eat for the week based on sales, and look through the pantry and fridge to figure out the ingredients you’ll need to make it happen. Then, take the list with you and only buy those items. Having a strategy eliminates impulse buying, and sticking to a plan will result in less food waste.
- Start at home: While looking through your inventory and preparing to shop, take note of the foods you already have. You might find enough items in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to put meals together without adding anything from the store. Maybe you could turn leftovers into another family dinner entirely. Instead of shopping for seven dinners for the week, perhaps you only need to plan for four or five.
- Coupons and sales: Sunday papers don’t have an exclusive on coupons anymore. Digital discounts and loyalty programs can save you big bucks at the checkout stand. Consider visiting the store’s website before shopping to check for sales and coupons. There are also cashback apps that could save you even more money. Fetch Rewards is a good example.
As a mini bonus tip, remember that store brands are typically just as good as big-name items but cheaper. Reducing food expenses is probably one of the most effective ways to save money and contain a variable expense.
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