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13 ways to save money on groceries

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Richard Drew/AP/File

(Read caption) A shopper scans the soup aisle in a grocery store in New York. When it comes to groceries, there's lots of simple ways to save money. The first: don't shop when you're hungry.

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The following article was written by Travis from ChristianMoneyMountain.com.

I haven’t been to the grocery store in 3 weeks, which means I’ve been living off peanut butter and frozen pizzas the past week. We generally buy groceries every 2 weeks, but we were really busy last weekend and didn’t make it to the store. Grocery shopping isn’t on our list of favorite things to do either. I can think of a lot better ways to spend an hour. But unfortunately it’s necessary, and today is the day. Here are 13 ways to save money on groceries that can actually keep more money in your pocket!

1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Everyone has heard this by now. My wife and I have a horrible time sticking to this. It seems we always go in the mornings when we haven’t had breakfast. Then we wonder when we get home why we have so many pop tarts and boxes of cereal.

2. Check the Ads

Most stores will offer big sales in order to get you into their store. Identify the sale items you need, and take advantage. Just don’t get tricked into buying something you don’t need.

3. Make a List

Taking 10 minutes to write out a list before you go to a store can save you tons of money. How many times have you bought items that you already had at home? Or how many times have you been enticed by an item that you really didn’t need? Making a list ensures you buy only what you need, and nothing more. This also saves you from making multiple trips to the store to pick up things your forgot.

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4. Take a Calculator

You should have only so much money budgeted for groceries per month. For my wife and I, it’s around $350 a month. This means you need to keep a close watch on what you spend. It’s very easy to spend more than you planned once you walk into the store. So keep up with all your costs on a calculator.

5. Make a Menu for the week

Decide what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner before you go. For us, its usually spaghetti, chicken quesidillas, tacos, cheeseburgers, and a meat and three one night. We pretty much have a routine and just switch up one or two meals a week.

6. Stretch your Menu

Plan your meals so you have leftovers. This always happens when you’re only feeding two. This means dinner one night, is usually lunch the next day.

7. Don’t waste food

This goes along with eating leftovers. Don’t waste food. We’re really bad about this. We throw away a lot. One study said the average family wastes 14% of the food it buys. That’s a lot of money over the course of a year.

8. Make use of coupons

This is another area we don’t do very good at. I’m sensing a theme. I read about lots of people that save lots of money by using coupons. The opportunity is there, you just have to be willing to put in the work. For more strategies, check out these tips to start saving money with coupons.

9. Shop Alone

I know alot of you moms are thinking, I wish. If you do your shopping alone you don’t have to worry about your kids or spouse leading you astray and convincing you to buy random items you don’t need.

10. Buy Local Produce

During the spring and summer take advantage of your local farmers. They often will have fresher produce, at cheaper prices. Or you could consider doing it yourself. Grow your own garden, and sell or give away what you’re not able to keep.

11. Compare Stores

Look at prices between stores. We usually find ourselves shopping at Walmart, and I believe them to be generally cheaper on most things. But there’s other stores that you can buy items cheaper at such as Aldi or SaveALot.

12. Look Down

When doing your shopping, pay attention to the items closer to the floor. The cheaper items are usually lower, while the pricier items are at eye level.

13. Buy in Bulk

If there’s non-perishable items on your list that you’re buying every week, consider buying that item in bulk. By buying in bulk you’ll save money that would otherwise be spent on packaging and advertising. Some of the items to consider buying in bulk might be peanut butter, canned goods, and ketchup.

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