Tips for Spending Less at the Grocery Store

Saving money on everyday expenses is a key piece to achieving financial stability. One area where many people can probably cut back on expenses is their grocery bill. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can spend less at the grocery store and keep more money in your bank account. Here are some tips to get you started.

Plan your meals in advance

While you might dread the idea of meal prepping or planning ahead for the week, you should consider the benefits it has on your wallet. Before you head to the grocery store, take some time to plan out your meals for the week. This will help you avoid impulse purchases and ensure that you only buy what you need. Make a list of the ingredients you will want for each meal, and stick to it while shopping. Not only will this also stop you from getting takeout or going out for lunch, but it’s also an opportunity to try new recipes!

Shop with a full stomach

We’ve all made the mistake of going to the store while hungry. But this common faux pas leads to impulse purchases and overspending. Make sure to eat a meal or a snack before heading to the store to avoid temptation. It also doesn’t hurt to keep snacks in your car or purse when emergency strikes!

Look for deals and coupons

Check your local grocer or online for coupons and deals on items you regularly purchase. Many grocery stores also offer loyalty programs that provide discounts on certain products. If you order your groceries online for pick-up or delivery, you should be able to find coupons directly on the app.

Opt for pick-up or in-store shopping

Speaking of ordering your groceries online—it sure is tempting to have your groceries delivered, but those extra delivery fees can really add up. Most apps or online grocers can charge around $10 in delivery fees or $100 annually for membership. Instead, consider ordering your groceries for pick-up or just biting the bullet and going back to good old in-person shopping.

Buy in bulk

Purchasing items in bulk can be a cost effective way to stock up on essentials. Many wholesale clubs offer inexpensive memberships that allow you to get all your necessities in bulk. Just be sure to only buy what you know you will use, and don’t be swayed by the allure of a good deal if you don’t really need the item.

Compare prices

Before making a purchase, compare prices between brands and stores. Refrain from assuming that the larger or more well-known brand is always the better choice. Often, generic or store-brand products are just as good as their name-brand counterparts. Additionally, consider the location of where you’re shopping. Some stores raise prices based on the neighborhood and market.

Avoid convenience foods

Pre-packaged and pre-made foods may be convenient, but they are often more expensive than making the same meal from scratch. Plus, cooking at home allows you to control the quality of the ingredients and the portion sizes.

Lock in rewards

Consider buying your groceries with a credit card that offers rewards. With our uChoose Rewards program, you can earn points just by using a First Financial Cash Plus Credit Card!* For every dollar spent, you’ll earn 1.5 points which can be turned into cash back or used toward gift cards, travel expenses, and more.

At First Financial, we are committed to putting your financial needs first—and that includes helping improve your financial wellness. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services that can help you save and grow your money.

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*Your First Financial Visa® Cash Plus Credit Card will earn cash back based on your eligible purchase transactions. The cash back will be applied to your current credit card balance on a quarterly basis and be shown cumulatively on your billing statement. Unless you are participating in a limited time promotional offer, you will earn 1.5% cash back based upon eligible purchases each quarter. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a Visa® Credit Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan.


Tips for Stocking Your Pantry to Help Cut Food Costs

Like most Americans, your dining out and grocery bills are probably really adding up lately – as inflation and higher economic costs continue to sky rocket. The USDA reports that food inflation is at a 14 year high, with grocery store shopping and eating out costing consumers about 6% more this year than last.

However, you can work smarter instead of harder to help curb some of your food expenses. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your home pantry stocked with staple items that will last you awhile, save money by cooking and eating meals at home, and add some variety to your diet as well.

Here are some essential non-perishable ingredients to always have on hand at home:

  • Whole grains – Oats, quinoa, rice, muffin mix, tortillas, cereal. Bread and bagels will also have a longer shelf life if refrigerated or frozen and used one by one as needed.
  • Pasta
  • Beans/legumes – Chickpeas, lentils, all types of beans (black, kidney, lima, etc.)
  • Baking ingredients – Flour, sugars, baking powder and soda, vanilla or other flavored extracts.
  • Nuts – Almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  • Oil and vinegar
  • Condiments – Mayo, mustard, ketchup, soy sauce, hot sauce, honey, BBQ sauce, jarred olives and pickles.
  • Jarred sauces
  • Dried herbs and spices – Pepper, salt, cumin, Italian seasoning, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, garlic and onion powder.

There are also some pantry staples that would be a good idea to have on hand in addition to what’s listed above, to whip up a quick and inexpensive meal. These items will also last you a decent amount of time unopened in your pantry as well:

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Peanut/almond butters
  • Coconut milk
  • Broths/stocks
  • Canned corn
  • Canned tuna and chicken
  • Jarred salsa
  • Capers
  • Raisins and dried cranberries
  • Maple syrup

You may be asking – what can you make with some of these pantry ingredients? To name a few ideas to start, think quesadillas, homemade hummus, pasta with sauce, granola bars, teriyaki sauce to go over rice or chicken, and pancakes. All of these are simple to make, and will use ingredients you already have at home.

Here are also some food ideas to store in your freezer to have on hand:

  • Frozen vegetables like spinach, peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
  • Frozen berries to make smoothies or smoothie bowls
  • Chicken tenders
  • Ground beef
  • Burgers, hotdogs or veggie patties

Here are some food staples to keep in your refrigerator that will last a little longer than other more perishable foods:

  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Nut milks (Almond milk will last much longer than regular milk).
  • Cheeses (Cream cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar, shredded mozzarella).
  • Yogurt

Another idea that always goes over well (especially if you have kids) is breakfast for dinner, using many of the ingredients listed in this blog post. This is an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to make an at home meal a special treat!

If you follow the above tips and keep your pantry stocked, you’ll definitely see some savings on your grocery bill over time and not have to go to the store as often. Not to mention, it’s typically healthier to eat at home too. You can even make it a fun household activity and spend quality time together, by giving each person a job in the kitchen to help put together a great family meal.

In the end – you’ll be saving on food costs, spending time together, and eating a delicious meal. You really can’t put a price tag on that!

Article Source: The Penny Hoarder