Nobody likes to spend more money than they have to. While there are a lot of fixed expenses in your life, such as bills and rent or mortgage payments, there is one area of your life where you can easily cut costs.
If you need to tighten your budget, try incorporating these wallet-friendly strategies before running your errands.
Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses
This is the first step in any budget-tightening scenario. Take a good look at your kitchen pantry or shopping list and see what you could do without. Are the potato chips really worth it? Remember that prepared foods are often more expensive than raw goods, and you’re often better just cooking things for yourself. While buying and preparing raw chicken breast isn’t as convenient as buying pre-cooked meat, it will save you money.
Once you’ve trimmed the fat off your weekly supermarket expenses, you should create a shopping list and stick to it. It’s a lot harder to veer off course when you’ve already decided what you will and will not buy, especially if it’s written in black-and-white. Better yet, if you can allocate a certain budget allowance toward your supermarket expenses, you’ll be less likely to buy unnecessary goods for fear of going over budget.
Eat Before You Go
It’s true what they say: when you’re hungry you buy more, and it’s not just food you're more likely to drop your money on. Hunger affects your decision-making skills, and while you’re not going to blow your entire month’s paycheck just because you skipped lunch, there could be subtle effects on your wallet. Do yourself a favor and grab a snack before hitting up the supermarket.
You can make additional savings by looking at not just the overall price but the price per unit as well. Many supermarkets will include this information on the price sticker, which will tell you how much bang you’re getting for your buck. If this information isn’t labeled, you’ll have to do the calculations yourself, but it’s a small price to pay for the potential savings you’ll be making. While the generic brands will cost less money than the big names, they’re often still pretty good. It’ll be up to you to decide what’s worth spending the extra dollar on.
Get in and Get Out
If you’re guilty of dawdling at the supermarket, you know how easy it can be to wind up with stuff in your shopping cart that you never intended to buy. And supermarkets, with their bright lights and big discount signs, are designed to get you to spend more money than you went in for. The best way to approach this is with blinders on, just going straight to the sections you need to go to, grabbing the items you need, and getting out before getting distracted.
Discounts, Discounts, Discounts
One other great way to save money at the supermarket is to take advantage of discounts. If the supermarket you visit has a loyalty program, it might be worth it for you to sign up to nab some additional savings at the checkout counter. Many credit cards also offer points or money back for making these kinds of purchases. On a similar note, have a look at your local newspaper and check online to see if you can find any coupons on the items you regularly purchase. While using discounts isn’t going to make a huge difference on your expenses, you will save money over time.
[Image via Getty]