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.


3 Ways to Cut Back on Your Food Budget

If you’re spending too much money on food, the easy remedy is to eat out less. If you’ve already done that, then you may be looking for ways to cut back on your grocery bill. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to spend less at the grocery store, here are a few things to think about.

Only buy food: It can really be convenient to get all your shopping done at one place, and if you’re buying groceries at Walmart or Target, you might be on to something. But if you’re using your local grocery store as the place you always buy shampoo or soap, you might be throwing money away. Even though you may have to make an extra trip, you can save money by getting those household items elsewhere.

Don’t shop so often: Every time you go to the grocery store, it can be tempting to grab an extra item or two that isn’t on your shopping list. If you’re shopping once or twice a week, those extra purchases can add up quick. Try to do your grocery shopping no more than once a week, make a list, and stick to it.

Pay attention to unit prices: If you buy a 24 pack of bottled water each week, check out that 36 pack instead. You may not think you have room for it, but buying those extra 12 bottles could save you money when you look at the unit price. However, unlike shopping at bulk stores like Costco, you can’t always count on the higher count items being cheaper at your local grocery store. Pay attention to what’s on sale, check those unit prices, and compare to get the best deal.

Happy shopping (and saving)!

Article Source: John Pettit for

8 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store Without Coupons

Grocery shopping can be a hassle, and having to take time to cut coupons can make it even worse. Here’s how you can shop without coupons and still save money.

1. Pick the right store.

Try comparing stores by shopping for identical items and figure out which store has the best value. Keep in mind the distance you travel to each store, because that can add up too.

2. Stock up on sale items.

When there’s a sale, buy anything you can freeze or that has a long shelf life. If it’s an item that goes on sale often, buy enough to last you until the next sale. Compare your store’s weekly ads and plan ahead.

3. Take advantage of loyalty programs.

Some stores require a loyalty card to get sale prices, so definitely sign up for one. It only takes a few minutes and you may even get other discounts as you use it.

4. Check the unit price.

Occasionally, buying in bulk will save you money. However – at a lot of grocery stores, the smaller quantity packages actually cost less per ounce.

5. Don’t buy prepared foods.

You may think having to wash and cut fruit and vegetables is an inconvenience, but it’s also a great way to save money. You may enjoy the ease of using already prepared food, but you’ll pay for that benefit. Buy the ingredients uncut, and create your meals. You’ll pleasantly be surprised to see how much you can save.

6. Don’t waste anything.

Make sure you’re not buying anything you haven’t already planned on eating. If you buy on impulse, you may end up buying something that will eventually just get thrown away. Map out meals and snacks and don’t get anything you don’t really need.

7. Cook the right amount.

Don’t make more food than you need. If you follow the recipe on a package, you may cook too much food, especially if you’re only cooking for 1 or 2 people. Sometimes leftovers are good to have, but a lot of times they end up in the trash can. Make sure you figure out the correct serving size and adjust your purchases accordingly.

8. Shop less.

This one is easy. The more you shop, the more impulse buys you’ll make. Look at your store’s sale schedule and shop only as often as you have to.

 Article Source: John Pettit for

5 Tips to Help Lower Your Grocery Bill

Food is probably your biggest expense aside from housing. After all, you have to eat. So is there any way you can really cut back on this category? The easy answer is to stop going out to eat and spend more time cooking at home, but what if you’ve already done that and still can’t afford to be spending what you’re spending on food? The answer lies in your grocery bill.

Just because you’re cooking your own food doesn’t necessarily mean you’re saving money. Groceries can cost a lot too, depending on where you live or which supermarket you shop at. However, if you become a smarter shopper, you can definitely find ways to lower your grocery bill without having to buy less. Here are five ways you can do just that:

Plan Out Your Week

Before you step foot into a grocery store, the most important thing to do is to plan out the week ahead. How many days will you be eating at home? How many meals do you plan to eat out? Do you need to bring lunch with you to work? Understanding your schedule for the days ahead will help you decide how much food you need to buy. If you buy too much, you’ll end up with waste. If you buy too little, you’ll probably order out and not save any money at all.

Make a Trip to Multiple Stores

Most people limit their grocery shopping to one store, but make the effort to hit multiple stores if you can find a little extra time in your week. Different stores have different sales, so you’ll end up saving more if you do some research and buy items where they’re cheaper. Many specialty or ethnic food markets will have items you can normally find at your grocery store for much less too. Lastly, if you have a farmer’s market in your town, it’s worth checking out when in season – as prices can be cheaper and the produce is fresher.

Buy Dry Products Online and in Bulk

Thanks to the age of the internet, you can now get almost anything online – including food. You might be able to use online services like FreshDirect or Amazon Fresh, which will deliver your groceries straight to your door. When it comes to dry products, like pasta and canned goods – it is often cheaper to order online. On sites like Amazon and Walmart, you can buy these in bulk at lower prices, especially if they’re on sale. And as a bonus, you don’t have to go to the store to lug them home. So stock up now!

Go for the Generic Brand

Name brand isn’t always better. In fact, most of the time it’s exactly the same as the generic brand. Many generic and name brand products are produced right in the same factory, it’s just that the packaging and stickers on them are different. Next time you’re shopping, reach for the store brand instead and see if you can really tell the difference. Sometimes you can, but other times you’ll find a new way to save.

Shop the Weekly Circular

Almost all supermarkets come out with a new circular every week with sales and deals. Many even post it on their website. Before you start shopping, make sure you look through it to see what you should be buying for the week. Many circulars also include coupons, which can give you even more additional savings.

Trying out these 5 tips by becoming a smarter grocery shopper, is sure to help you lower your grocery bill. Happy shopping and saving!

Article Source: Connie Mei for

6 Ways to Save on Groceries

Budget and stick to it.

Filet mignon is delicious, but buying too many pricy items could break the bank. There’s nothing wrong with buying what you want, but you have to make it work within a budget that’s comfortable to you. Have the filet one night, and a simple salad the next to enjoy luxuries and a healthy relationship with your money.

Shop sales wisely.

Stocking up on items is a great plan. However, stocking up on items you won’t or can’t use is a waste of money. Also, even if the sale is fabulous, it’s not to your advantage if buying that item now means you break your budget. 15 cans of creamed spinach for $2 is only a steal if you’ll actually eat it.

Switch to store brands.

The quality of store brands varies, but if you’re able to find a product that works for your family for less, you’ll save on every trip to the store. This simple trick will leave more room in your budget for splurges.

Digital coupons.

Many stores now offer savings apps or text coupons. Use them to save on your bill, but use with some caution. Sign up only for those you can regularly use or you’ll be swamped!

Store discount cards.

Discount cards mean savings on everything you buy. For example, Target’s Redcard. Cardholders save 5% on every purchase on everything from grills to electronics to toilet paper. Don’t forget about store savings cards as well – for example, your shopper’s club discount at Shoprite. Those who shop without one of these cards often can’t take advantage of the sales.

Never shop hungry.

We’ve all done it and we’ve seen the consequences to our wallet (and sometimes our waistlines). Even sardines and kale look good when you’re hungry. So instead, eat a snack before you walk down the snack aisle and buy what your brain wants, not your belly!

Check out other money saving grocery shopping tips here.

Article Source: Jennifer Reynolds for


Need to Lower Your Grocery Bill? Bring Some Old Fashioned Frugality into Your Kitchen

Couple shopping in supermarket

Does it feel like your grocery bill keeps growing? Maybe you’re eating healthier or haven’t been as diligent about shopping sales ads and using digital coupons, rewards cards, or rebate apps. Or maybe, too many convenience foods are creeping into your kitchen.

Convenient prepared foods – even their healthy versions – are convenient. It’s nice to have pre-cut, pre-mixed, prepared foods for the times our schedules get a little hectic, but they can quickly become an excuse to get lazy about food preparation — and jack up the grocery bill.

Back in the ‘olden’ days, people didn’t have the option of prepared breads, sauces, dressings, or meals-in-a-box. They used basic staples to make everything they needed. It’s time to bring some old-fashioned frugality back into our kitchens. Here’s how we can do it.

Stop Buying Pre-Cut Veggies!

It’s easy to want to buy baby-cut carrots because, well who wants to peel and cut a bag of whole carrots when you can buy them ready made? Stop to realize the price difference between the two – roughly 50 to 60 cents per pound. Ouch! It only takes about five minutes to peel and chop a bag of carrots. Also keep a lookout for pre-cut vegetables that are on sale. Reduced-price chopped veggies might be past their prime for snacking, but they’re great for throwing in a quick stir fry.

Learn How to Make Things from Scratch

The term “from scratch” is scary to some people because it evokes images of slaving over the stove. In reality, there are dozens of items we use on a regular basis that don’t take much time – or skill – to make from scratch. Not only will this help you stay within your grocery budget, but you’ll enjoy fresher, less preservative-packed foods. Take a look in your fridge and pantry and write down staples you use on a regular basis. Can you learn how to make some of these just from watching a few YouTube videos or looking on Pinterest? Here are some suggestions:

■ Dressings – most contain five or less basic ingredients you probably already have on hand and take only a few minutes to whip up.

■ Sauces – these may require a little more time simmering, but still easy.

■ Hummus and other dips.

■ Oat and almond flour — just blend oats or almonds.

■ Bread – no-knead breads are easy to make even if you’re not into baking.

■ Cereal, granola, protein and energy bars.

Preserve In-Season Bounty

Produce is at its best and cheapest in the summer and fall, but then January rolls around. The word “preserve” elicits visions of canning and pickling, but the modern alternative is simple – prepare and freeze. You might be surprised at some of the things you can freeze. Most vegetables and fruits keep well frozen, and you can also freeze trays of fresh herbs in olive oil, broth, and egg whites or yolks.

Re-grow It

Don’t have time for a garden? No problem. Scallions, celery cores and herbs can all be grown and re-grown right in your windowsill.

Bring Back the Sunday Roast

Save money on meat by buying tougher, cheaper cuts and slow-roasting them in broth, herbs, and spices for a few hours. Plus, if you start the roast early, you won’t have to wait for dinner.

Just because we have so many convenient, prepared foods at our fingertips doesn’t mean we have to use them. Bringing back a few old-fashioned practices into your kitchen will shave your grocery bill and revitalize your enjoyment of fresh, homemade ingredients at the same time.

Happy cooking (and saving)!

Article Source: Jessica Sommerfield for Money Ning,