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10 Ways to Hack Your Grocery Shopping to Save Money

10 Ways to Hack Your Grocery Shopping to Save Money

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With food prices on the rise, it’s getting harder than ever to buy food that will keep you healthy and satisfied. But rather than blowing your last $100 on your biweekly shopping trip (when you’d really rather blow it at the bar), see if you can cut down those grocery expenses with a few easy life hacks!

Don't be afraid to clip away! ThinkStockPhotos
Don’t be afraid to clip away!
ThinkStockPhotos

Be the annoying coupon person at the register

Clipping coupons isn’t for your parents anymore — you can find great coupons in newspapers and magazines, on company websites, through social media, and even in store aisles. What’s even better is that you can get around the “one per purchase” rule by using a manufacturer coupon on top of a store coupon for double the savings. And always sign up for the loyalty card at your local store — it will get you all of the sales that you didn’t even realize were listed, saving major dough.

All it needs is a little water, sunshine, and TLC ThinkStockPhotos
All it needs is a little water, sunshine, and TLC
ThinkStockPhotos

Grow your own greens and herbs

You can do this even if you live in a shoe box-sized apartment in a big city where the closest thing you have to a yard is a cement park 10 blocks down. All you need is an area that gets good sunlight and some cheap plastic pots. You can grow a wide variety of plants this way, including lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, mint, and more.

Stock up on those dry goods while you can! ThoriVerson.com
Stock up on those dry goods while you can!
ThoriVerson.com

When things are on sale, go nuts!

As long as they have a long shelf life, when you see that four-for-$5 deal on boxes of pasta, stock up. It’ll keep perfectly fine in your cupboards for months on end (and will save you the hassle of fighting with your neighbors for provisions as the next blizzard approaches), and you won’t have to pick up a new box every time you run out. But for things that go bad quickly, it’s not necessarily a great idea unless you plan to use it all right away. So maybe skip the four-for-$5 deal on gallons of milk.

The possibilities are endless! ThinkStockPhotos
The possibilities are endless!
ThinkStockPhotos

Get creative with your potatoes

Do you know how many ways you can cook potatoes? Fried, mashed, baked, boiled, gratin…the list goes on. And do you know how cheap potatoes are? Depending on the type, they average around 30 cents apiece. Though they’re not packed with nutrients, they’re a great addition to a meal to help fill you up, and if you keep preparing them in different ways, you’ll never get bored.

You can never go wrong with beans ThinkStockPhotos
You can never go wrong with beans
ThinkStockPhotos

Freeze some beans

Dried beans are sold in massive bags for pennies to the pound, and are super easy to make in massive quantities. Boil a big pot of beans and freeze the leftovers to use throughout the month to add quick and tasty protein to your meals. Whether you throw them in a soup, salad, taco, or munch them down plain, they’ll become an easy staple in your diet.

Save some cash and get tastier produce! ThinkStockPhotos
Save some cash and get tastier produce!
ThinkStockPhotos

Buy in season

It’s annoying when we can’t get a delicious melon in the middle of December, but it’s for a reason. Produce is not only tastier when it’s in season, it’s also cheaper. It means that your fruits and veggies can be grown locally, cutting down on the added transport charges (and helping out the environment), rather than trucking them in from tropical climates across the world.

Take a nap and go shopping tomorrow ThinkStockPhotos
Take a nap and go shopping tomorrow
ThinkStockPhotos

Don’t shop when you’re hungry, tired, angry, or in a hurry!

Most people know not to go to the grocery store when they’re hungry for fear of buying out anything and everything (this doesn’t necessarily hold true for stores that are generous with free samples — I’m looking at you Costco and Trader Joe’s), but you want to be in the right frame of mind before grabbing a cart. When you’re tired or angry, you’ll probably lean towards indulgent purchases rather than what you actually need, and being in a rush means you won’t have time to compare prices.

Save it for CVS ThinkStockPhotos
Save it for CVS
ThinkStockPhotos

Save your non-grocery items for a different store

Non-food items such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, medicine, and so on are usually available at grocery stores, but for a higher price tag. Make an extra trip and head to another store to pick up those items rather than throwing them in with your bread and eggs (same goes for vice versa – buying food at a CVS is almost always more expensive than at a grocery store, and usually worse quality).

Convenient, but not worth the price tag Noshtopia.com
Convenient, but not worth the price tag
Noshtopia.com

Get off the pre-cut, pre-washed, pre-prepared train

As convenient as it is to pick up a bag of lettuce or pre-sliced apples, it adds unnecessary dollars to your grocery bill. Buying the items separately and preparing them yourself is always cheaper, and remember that you can always freeze things you make in excess. Save the packaged deals for when you’re in a serious rush, but take the extra five minutes to rip up your own lettuce.

Look over it once to make sure you're good to go ThinkStockPhotos
Look over it once to make sure you’re good to go
ThinkStockPhotos

Check your receipts!

When you’re checking out with a cart overflowing with food, it’s not uncommon for the clerk to make a mistake while ringing you up. Whether it’s accidentally scanning something twice, or not acknowledging an item that was marked on sale, pay attention while you’re at the register and look over the receipt before you leave the store. It may be such a small error that doesn’t seem worth correcting in the grand scheme of things, but the little things add up.