11 Habits of Frugal People To Apply Every Time You Grocery Shop

If you have noticed a substantial increase in your grocery bill, you will want to consider ways to cut back costs. At GOBankingRates, we asked experts about ways to save on groceries.

See: This Is the One Type of Debt That ‘Terrifies’ Dave Ramsey
Also: 6 Genius Things All Wealthy People Do With Their Money

Here are the 11 habits of frugal people to apply every time you grocery shop.

Check Your Pantry

Kimbree Redburn, an Accredited Financial Counselor, author of Illuminate Financial and financial coach in Bozeman, Montana, suggested to consumers, “Shop your pantry before you go to the store. Take your grocery list and look at what you have in your pantry and fridge to see if you have any of the ingredients you need so you don’t buy more.”

Make a Meal Plan

Redburn also recommended to shoppers: “Make a meal plan. Having a meal plan and knowing exactly what ingredients you need and the quantities can help you focus at the grocery store and not come home with a lot of unnecessary extras. When you’re meal planning, be sure to think of meals that can use the same ingredients to cut down on the number of things you have to buy.”

Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer Relief, added, “One of the best ways to be more frugal with your grocery shopping is to create a weekly meal plan. Doing so helps you make a targeted grocery list free of extraneous items. An even better strategy is to plan your meals around your local grocery store’s weekly circular ad, which allows you to take advantage of valuable sales offers. I also suggest buying generic versions of most products whenever possible, as they generally cost less than name-brand options.”

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Zach Larsen, co-founder of Pineapple Money, said, “Planning meals in advance and batch cooking can help reduce food waste and the need for last-minute, more expensive purchases. Be mindful of sales cycles and stock up on items when they are on sale, as this can save you money in the long run.”

Stick to Your List

“Shop with a list,” said Redburn. “One of the keys to getting out of the grocery store on budget is to shop with a list. Have everything you need written down, and don’t go off the list.”

Michael Ryan, author of the financial literacy site Michael Ryan Money, agreed. “Never underestimate the power of a shopping list. It keeps you focused and helps you avoid those budget-busting impulse buys.”

Larsen said, “Create a shopping list before heading to the store and stick to it. This prevents impulse purchases and keeps you focused on what you need. Opt for store brands or generic products, as they are often more affordable and can be of similar quality to name brands.”

Utilize Freebies

There are a number of freebies that people often overlook when grocery shopping. Redburn noted, “Use grocery pick-up. If you have stores that offer free grocery pick-up, this can be a great way to save money. You fill your cart at home with the things you need and aren’t tempted to add other things at the store as you see them.”

Stop Impulse Shopping

Jeanne Klimowski, founder of Wavelength Financial Content, stated, “Always keep a list in your kitchen to identify what you need. Then take your list with you shopping and buy only those items. Not only will you save money, you will speed through the store and save valuable time.”

David Bakke, shopping expert at DollarSanity, noted, “Skip the impulse buys at the counter. Anything that’s at the checkout counter is there for a reason — to tap into your impulse to buy. Therefore, you should immediately skip anything that’s there. Just ignore it.”

Don’t Go Bulk on Some Items

“Don’t assume you will save money by shopping at the large club stores,” cautioned Klimowski. “Instead, many people find they will buy larger quantities than they need, spend more, and may make far more impulse purchases. In that case, frequenting a regular grocery store instead may result in spending significantly less.”

Embrace Generic

Hill and Larsen already touched on this, but other experts agree. “Look for store brands for common purchases. These are often the same or similar quality as brand names but often much cheaper,” said Klimowski.

Eat Before You Shop

Klimowski also warned, “Never go shopping when hungry. You will inevitably buy more than you need.” Ryan concurred and added, “Believe it or not, the time you shop can impact your spending. Always shop after a meal to avoid the temptation of unnecessary snacking items that can inflate your bill.”

Think Frozen

“Don’t discount frozen fruits and vegetables, such as frozen blueberries or peas. These are usually picked at the height of ripeness and normally retain their nutrients better than their fresh alternatives. And they are convenient and usually much less expensive,” explained Klimowski.

Get Out Those Coupons

“Coupons are your best friend when it comes to saving money. Also, setting a strict budget — and sticking to it — can be a game-changer,” said Ryan. 

Look at Unit Cost

Larsen explained, “Compare prices and unit costs. Look at the cost per ounce or unit to determine the best value. Buying in bulk, especially for non-perishable items you frequently use, can lead to substantial savings over time. Utilize coupons, cashback apps, and loyalty programs to take advantage of discounts and rewards.”

More From GOBankingRates

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 11 Habits of Frugal People To Apply Every Time You Grocery Shop

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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