12 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

I find myself at the commissary or off-post grocery store at least twice a week. I try to write a weekly grocery list for a one-stop shopping experience, but inevitably I forget something, like an ingredient or toilet paper, or I need to replace something, like spoiled milk, and I find myself back at the store. Since at least one trip per week is unplanned, I arrive at the store a willing victim to brand name products, individually packaged items, and impulse buys. To avoid the most common mistakes of grocery shopping, I put together this list of 12 ways to save money on groceries.

  1. Plan ahead: organize your daily menus for the week and make ingredient lists; check your fridge and pantry and write down any items that need to be purchased; try to plan menus around items you already have to avoid wasting/spoiling food
  2. Avoid impulse buys: never shop hungry; shop with a list; pay with cashshop less frequently; stock up on non-perishables per trip (this increases your money spent per trip and hopefully makes impulse buys less attractive)
  3. Buy generic or store brands (learn more)
  4. Buy in bulk
  5. Clip coupons (learn more)
  6. Use a store membership card and shop in-store sales
  7. Buy seasonal products to avoid higher, out-of-season costs
  8. Review previous purchases and substitute less expensive options for costlier items (for example, purchase chicken or pork instead of red meat)
  9. Buy local (farmers’ markets offer huge savings on local, seasonal meats, fruits & veggies)
  10. Do not buy prepared foods
  11. Do not buy personal care/hygiene products at a grocery store (unless you shop at a superstore, prices are typically lower at drugstores)
  12. Bring a reusable bag (some stores now charge for bags)

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