Do you also go out for grocery shopping and feel like taking home the entire store? If your answer was a big nod, you’re normal. Because the stores are made that way to tempt customers to buy as much as they can. You might have ended up buying things you did not even need a countless number of times and felt guilty afterward. If you are also tired of your never-ending grocery expenditure, we are on the rescue for you presenting you with crazy ideas on How to save money on groceries?
Some of these ideas are simple, quick, and easy to implement, while some are more challenging and require a little bit of smart work and creativity. And to your surprise, saving money is not always hard and boring. These are some of the simplest and most economical ways to save on grocery bills and not run out of your tight budget. With no further talks, let’s jump to
25 crazy ideas to save money on Groceries
#1. Prepare a list before going shopping for groceries
Planning your purchase is the first & foremost step towards every successful outcome. Do your homework well by preparing a grocery list. And enlist the groceries you NEED! and not only prepare a list but also work upon it. Your #mantra should be to “Plan your shopping and Shop your plan“.
A study revealed that our brain loves ordered commands and presenting a list in front of it like giving our brain a command. And our brains tend to perform better when we have written down what we have to get done. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one, just make something that works out best for you.
#2. Buy seasonal produce to save money on groceries
Buying seasonal produce is the best way to cut down your expenditure on groceries. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are available everywhere and at very cheap prices. Because there is more supply for them than demand. By buying seasonal produce, you get diversification in your fruits & veggies portfolio with changing seasons and you can always preserve them in the freezer to consume upcoming seasons.
#3. Go to grocery shopping in late hours.
You might not have noticed but grocery shopping at late hours can be more beneficial than going shopping early morning or during the day. It is because the shop owners are in a hurry to call it a day and close the store. They are ready to sell out their goods at discount and we want it cheap.
But one of the cons of it is that you will have to select from the leftover inventory and sometimes what you require might go out of stock. Nevertheless, we can always buy that item again individually and not miss out on the opportunity to save money on groceries by shopping late hours.
#4. Save money on groceries by buying in Bulk
If you are a regular consumer of a certain item, it is beneficial to buy that item in large quantities for monthly consumption. As you get a substantial discount for your purchases in bulk quantity. Or you can buy something that can be used over a long time horizon without having to worry about them perishing.
For example.- If you are a fan of eating omelets daily, instead of buying eggs daily, you can get yourself a full crate for an entire month. Or you can buy potatoes in bulk when they are cheaper as they can be carried on for months at least.
#5. Avoid buying fancy stuff when buying groceries
We know unnecessary fancy items you end up buying while grocery hunting. You do not need to be extravagant and buy the fancy expensive stuff just because it is ‘fancy’. Instead, you can grab their alternatives with produce the same nutrients but cost less. You might not get the same flavors, but you have to keep your taste buds in control because needless to say you have plenty of reasons to save.
For example.- Instead of buying the rare Rambutan fruit, you can buy litchis which taste almost the same. And the same with cashews that are hell expensive, rather than buying cashews you can buy sunflower seeds and other nuts.
#6. Keep your cooking skills Basic
As much as possible, try to keep your cooking skills at the basic level. By basic, I mean do not try to cook food with all the ingredients in the world, unless you are preparing for MasterChef. No seriously, the exotic spices you put in your food may be costing a fortune to your pocket.
#7. Bargain with store owners when buying groceries
Your negotiation skills can save you money at your every purchase, whether it is saving money while buying a house or a small grocery purchase. All you need to carry is a positive and influential attitude. Use your negotiation/bargaining skills to get some discount. Be friendly with the owners & the staff and they would want you to visit their store often.
#8. Bring your own grocery bag to shopping
If you are going for a supply run, DO NOT FORGET to carry your own bag. I repeat DO NOT! Carry bags at some stores can be very expensive, almost the price at which you could buy two packs of bread. And those grocery bags do not even come in any other use. The shop owners try to benefit out of the last-minute need of the customer. To avoid paying extra for your grocery bills, always carry your own bag with you.
#9. Check for individual prices of products
When you are hunting for groceries and buying individual items in bulk, check individual prices of the products to save money on groceries. Sometimes, store owners try to play with our brains. They put a product at a discount for buying in a group, tricking the customer into thinking they are getting it at a ‘discount‘. But sometimes, you end up paying extra. How? Here’s how.
For example.- You buy 5 packs of cookies that are bundled together for 110 rupees thinking of it as a fair deal. But the individual price per packet was 20 rupees. That’s how you ended up getting tricked & paying extra.
#10. Shop groceries on clearance day store sales to save money
If you are buying groceries from stores, shop at the month-end when stores usually open the clearance day sales. They offer groceries at discount for clearing up the old inventory and making space for new ones. You can save a lot of money by purchasing your essentials at clearance day sales.
#11. Use coupons to save money on groceries online
Using coupons on your purchases can save you up to 30%-50% on your grocery shopping bill. Various coupon sites like CouponDaddy and Zoutons etc. offer discount coupons for buying groceries online from certain distributors. You just have to enter a coupon code while checking out and congrats! you have saved yourself some money. Online coupons are a hot topic these days and gaining market share with increasing digitalization.
#12. Buy from special canteens for discounted goods
If you are an in-service or retired army personnel, or if someone in your family is, you can purchase items from designated army canteens. Army canteens offer enormous discounts of almost 50% to their personnel and family members. Even if you do not have anyone in your immediate family as army personnel, keep looking out for someone who can offer you to avail these services and buy groceries from army canteens. Even if it is for half a month.
#13. Buy from local markets to save money on groceries
This is undoubtedly the best method to save money on groceries. The veggies and fruits you buy from local markets are going to be fresh and totally worth your money. I always prefer to shop around the local markets near to my residence. It gets me various options to shop from and it saves me the transportation cost as well. They offer cheap groceries because mostly they are producing them on their own and no intermediary costs are involved.
#14. Pay via credit cards for extra benefit
If you are the one who buys groceries from big retail stores, you can always make use of your credit card. Pay for your grocery bill via credit card and build your credit score. But do not forget to pay your credit liability on time otherwise you will have to pay strict charges which we certainly do not want, even in our nightmare.
#15. Always organic is not pocket friendly
Living in a generation where deteriorating health is a matter of big concern. Everyone is now becoming health conscious. And why not? Adulterated foods have weakened our bodies and brains. Everyone is turning towards organic and non-adulterated foods. But do we need everything organic? The answer is NO.
We do not require everything organic from dairy to regular used fruits and vegetables. Organic food is much costlier than non-organic one. Conventional food can be equally healthier when compared to organic food, but it is just a little hyped. Do not be like ‘rich‘ people who drink nothing but organic water. Yes, it is a thing.
#16. Do not run blindly after price
Not so famous, #rule 24342 while shopping groceries is to never blindly trust price but also check the quantity of product. It is highly likely you might be getting tricked by the product companies. How? You really do ask some questions.
Here’s how to suppose a 500 ml packet of milk costs 30 bucks but you require 1 liter of milk. So, you directly take the 1-liter packet for 60 bucks, but is it really 1 liter? Sometimes companies offer lesser quantities in big packets. You could get 500 ml in a small packet but only 950 ml in a big packet.
To beat this, always check quantity and price both for the product before buying it.
#17. Avoid packaged & cooked food to save money on groceries
You would have seen the difference between cooked & packed food and raw food. Raw food is much cheaper than cooked one. For instance, A kg of maize would hardly cost you 30 bucks off-season, whereas just for one boiled corn cob packed nicely would alone cost you 30 bucks. Which option would you pick?
Well, I believe boiling a corn cob has no science involved and you can do it easily at home then why pay a premium? That’s why always evaluate if the price you are paying for packaged food even worth it?
#18. Pick your stores wisely for grocery shopping
Picking a good and economical store is fundamental to saving money. There are all types of stores from thrift ones to the high premium ones. You have to choose your store wisely if you want to save money on groceries. You can end up finding some of the best things in thrift stores, as they are gaining popularity these days. People are shifting their ways from expensive stores to cheap ones to save money.
#19. Avoid grocery shopping on weekends to save money on groceries
We know you have most free time on weekends, but remember so does everyone else. People generally prefer to shop on weekends because they have all the time for everything in those long two days. Shop keepers know it and due to increased demand, the prices also rise. To avoid paying extra, shop during the weekdays preferably on Mondays and Tuesdays when the shoppers’ crowd is lesser and you get even time to bargain.
#20. Do mix and match with vegetables when shopping
If you are a bachelor living alone, you would not require many vegetables& fruits. And there is no reason for you to buy in bulk if it’s going to end up in your dustbin, all stale and rotten. Instead of buying in bulk, you can try to mix and match with vegetables & fruits. You will require hardly 2-3 kgs of veggies a week, and no way you would like to eat the same vegetable every day.
What you can do is ask for the seller to mix 3-5 kinds of vegetables for an average price and buy only 2-3 kgs. It will suffice you for a week and you will get the cheapest to expensive veggies at an average price.
#21. Be an explorer while shopping groceries
Exploring can land you some of the best experiences, be it at a holiday location or grocery shopping. Search and explore every other shop in your local markets. And find what’s best suitable for you. You can land up to the cheapest store or become friends with a polite and good store owner who offers you a discount. You may also end up finding the cheap stores which distribute items at wholesale price to retail buyers as well It is always suggested to explore and increase your options.
#22. Avoid online grocery shopping
Online shopping undoubtedly is very easy and hassle-free, but not in terms of pressure on your pocket. Online shopping of grocery from sites like Grofers, Amazon fresh, etc. offer huge discounts but still, those discounts can not always beat the price you get from your local markets. Because there is heavy brokerage cost included in the price offered to buyers. Hence, do not always shop online but never leave the opportunity if you are getting groceries at cheaper rates than local markets.
#23. Finish what you have at home first
We know how many times we put the leftover of our food at some corner of our house and forget. Finding it after months with no use. Pay more attention to not wasting your food at home and avoid grocery runs if you have some remaining at home. Like the leftovers of bread and milk pack with a glass full of milk still in it.
#24. Buy consumables with less packaging to save money on groceries
You may not have noticed, but in my experience, we pay higher when we buy things with better packaging. Because the companies charge you for the improved packaging. Hence, do not buy groceries just for their fancy packets. For instance, you will get a lesser quantity in a Nescafe coffee jar than small sachets when compared in terms of money. Because they also included the packaging cost of the glass jar in the price.
#25. Pay via online wallets for cashback
With increasing digitalization in India, even small vendors have started accepting payments through online wallets and UPIs directly into their banks. These wallet companies being startups are in a phase of cash burning to promote their businesses. Hence, offer amazing cashback on payment through their apps. You can avail of this cashback by paying through your e-wallets.
You can save money on groceries by cutting down your expenditure on unnecessary items. You can take your grocery expenditure down by at least 10-20% if you are ready to explore. You can save money by availing of discount coupons, cashback, buying in bulk quantities, hunting from local markets, etc.
Yes, you can save money on groceries online by comparing the prices of groceries on different apps & sites and choose the cheapest option for yourself. Almost all websites offer a discount to their customers during the festive seasons. Try to buy non-perishable groceries during that time in heavy quantities to save money on groceries online.
A reasonable grocery budget should be somewhere between 30-40% of your total monthly income. This includes everything from essentials to non-essentials and in no situation should exceed 50%.