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Simple Tricks to Save Money on Groceries

We’ve all been there: when you go to the grocery store for five things, spend over an hour at the store, and walk out with twenty things. Then you get home from that shopping trip and maybe you didn’t even remember the five things you wanted in the first place!

Impulsive buying is a struggle for us all, but here are some tips to make that weekly grocery trip more efficient and less expensive:

  • Meal Plan. I spend much less on groceries (and generally eat healthier) if I plan what Im going to eat well in advance of when I eat it, including meals and snacks! When you know exactly what you’re eating, a grocery list is much easier to stick to. I also use a handy grocery list app that automatically sorts my groceries into categories like produce and bakery, which saves me from back-tracking too much.
  • Shop on a time limit. Set a timer (maybe an hour or so, depending on the size of your family) and challenge yourself to finish shopping within the time limit. It may sound stressful, but it will force you to only buy whats needed, since you will have less time for roaming the aisles and picking up non-essentials.
  • Use a smaller cart. Many grocery stores now offer two cart sizes. The bigger the cart, the more room for those un-planned purchases. If your grocery list can fit in the smaller cart size, see if using that cart keeps you from going over your monthly budget (bonus challenge for those shopping for one: can you keep all your groceries to just one basket?)

When I incorporate these simple tips into my grocery shopping trips, I find that they are not only less time-consuming, but much easier on the wallet.

Rebekah L. Nau, CFP®
Assistant Director of Financial Planning

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