Grocery shopping! You probably either love it or you hate it. Shopping can be fun, but when you’re trying to plan meals, snacks, and stick to a budget, it can easily feel overwhelming, especially when you. get to the checkout lane and realize you’ve spent far more than you intended. Here are a few tips to keep costs down while you’re at the supermarket:
Shop with a list: The easiest way for your grocery budget to spin out of control is to shop without a list. Maybe you meant to only buy bananas and apples in the produce section, but when you get there, flashy signs advertise sales on mangos—lowest price of the season!—and strawberries, which are your favorite fruit, and before you know it, you’ve got an extra ten bucks worth of produce in your cart, none of it that you really needed. Certainly it’s nice to treat yourself once in a while, but when you constantly shop off your list, those “treats” become more frequent and add up over time.
Buy in season: Local, seasonal eating can be quite a bit cheaper than simply eating your favorite foods year-round. While modern refrigerated shipping containers mean you can have almost anything you want no matter the season, local foods are cheaper when they’re ripe in your area. Last July, all sorts of berries were cheap and prolific in my home region of the Pacific Northwest. I flew to visit family in southern California and there was nary a berry to be found, but avocadoes and limes were dirt cheap.
Bring reusable bags: Some cities have completely banned the use of plastic bags in their jurisdiction. Customers must either bring their own bags, or pay an extra nickel for a paper bag from the store. Other large chain stores, while not required to by law, have followed suit and while they will not charge you to use bags from their stores, they will deduct a few cents for every reusable bag of your own you bring along. These pennies add up over time!
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