5 Ways to Beat Your Costly Food Shopping Habits

By Alicia Geigel on March 6, 2020

As we are officially in the third month of the year, I’m sure many of us are reflecting on how well we’ve held up to our new year’s resolutions. Some people have little to no trouble going in headfirst and dedicating themselves to their new regimens, habits, or lifestyle changes. Others have more of a bumpy road, and that’s totally ok.

One of the most popular resolutions for the new year is changing your food/eating habits, which while it is the most popular, can be the most difficult at the same time. So many of us are used to operating a certain way during the day, and food is such a large part of that. A lot of the times, our food habits aren’t even conscious decisions, rather something done to give us energy and satisfy basic hunger needs- and our food shopping reflects this. How many times have you been at the grocery store and picked something for either convenience or simply because a product was one you were used to buying? I know I’ve been there! If we aren’t careful and make bad food habits while shopping, however, these seemingly small decisions now can end up costing us in the long run.

Are you someone who has trouble balancing a budget for food-related shopping? Looking for new ways to save money all while getting the same products you know and love? Want to add a little money back in your pocket? These five tips will show you how to effectively save while food shopping, teaching you the simplest yet most effective tips!

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1. Keep an Eye on the Sales Ads: An obvious, but seriously important element to savvy food shopping is looking at the weekly sales ads for the grocery stores you frequent the most. Sales Ads will feature anything and everything from toothpaste to bananas to frozen pizzas that could be on sale during the week. Weekly sales ads can even include special promotions, like buy one get one free, one mix and match items for $5, etc. When you compare the prices of regular items versus the items that are on sale, you can save a ton of money!

2. Shop in Season: Another way to save money and break out of your normal food shopping habits is to shop in season for certain goods. You might be thinking, “um, of course, I shop in season for things!” But not everyone does. Food items, specifically fresh produce like fruits and vegetables are often at their cheapest when they are in season, since there is typically a large supply of the products. Susannah Snider of US News suggests, “start stocking up on nectarines, summer corn, and tomatoes in the late summer, and purchase winter squash and sweet potatoes in the winter.”

3. Coupon, Coupon, Coupon: Plenty of people have heard of extreme couponing, but many don’t take it seriously or feel that they have the necessary amount of time to dedicate to all of the cutting, clipping, or researching. However, couponing really does pay off in a lot of ways. For one, many grocery stores allow coupons to be stacked on top of already existing deals. As an example, if your local store is having a sale for Crest Toothpaste for $2.00, and you have a $1.00 off coupon, you can get it for only $1. If you bulk buy, you can save even more money! Getting deals like this on essentials like toiletries can really pay off in the long run after the sales are over and your friends are paying double or triple the price you got them for!

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4. Sign up to Store Loyalty Programs: Nothing quite beats the satisfaction of scanning a store card and watching the money be subtracted from your total at the end. For many grocery stores, loyalty programs are a way to ensure shoppers are going to continue to select their store to take care of all their food shopping needs. Many stores offer special promotions for card members and encourage you to download apps to clip exclusive digital coupons, helping you save even more money than what the regular sales have to offer!

5. Consult the Internet: Nowadays, many people consult the internet for their questions, concerns, or inquiries about the latest deals they need to be aware of. There are endless forums and blogs that go into detail all of the best sales and hottest steals you can get from stores, ranging from Target to Costco. Even after your research into the sales ads and coupon clipping, don’t forget about the power the internet holds in assisting you with your deal search. Donna L. Montaldo of the Balance writes, “There are several online sites that keep shoppers informed when products are on sale and some include the percentage of your markdown savings per item.”

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Breaking food habits isn’t always about healthy eating, it can be about healthy shopping for your wallet! Saving money while food shopping doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult- with a few simple tricks like shopping in season and searching the internet for new deals, you can put money right back in your pocket and not feel so bad about your new year’s resolution.

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