We are always on the lookout for tips and tricks to help us save money when we’re at the supermarket. Because really, who wouldn’t love to save a few bucks (or uh, a lot of bucks) on groceries?
We all know about coupons and price comparing. But there are plenty of budget-conscious choices you can make while you’re shopping that you may not know. In fact, that’s something our sponsor ShopKick is all about.
The free, super popular shopping rewards app just launched a brand new grocery feature that can help you earn free gift cards just for shopping at your local grocery store for the items you’re probably already buying.
And if you want some more easy ways to save on your weekly food bills, we’ve got six smart tricks that you can use the next time you’re at your local supermarket to ensure you keep more of that hard-earned money in your pocket.
Yay for more money!
1. Look up and down before you choose any item.
It’s easy to get so overwhelmed with options in those vast aisles that a lot of us just select whatever product is right in front of our eyes.
Instead, train yourself to give the entire section a vertical once-over before making your purchase. This way, you can be sure you’re seeing all the available choices, and possibly finding comparable items that can save you money at checkout.
2. Be open to new brands.
When you do discover a brand that’s more affordable than one you might usually buy, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try it!
Now granted, if your kids are super picky (hey, we’re moms, we get it), it can sometimes be safer to stick with what you know they like. But for items like condiments, baking basics like salt and flour, or packaged items like garbage bags or paper cups, you may be able to find a similar option that’s more affordable.
3. Select the smallest shopping cart or basket for your needs.
We’ve probably all experienced the phenomenon in which you just go into a store for a few items…and end up leaving with a whole cart full of goodies. Guilty!
Psychologically, when we sense that we have lots of empty space left, we’re inclined to fill it up, which is why it’s a smart decision to select the smaller shopping cart or even a hand-basket as you walk in the door, particularly if you’re only stopping to grab a few items for dinner, or a short list of basics to get you through the weekend.
From our sponsor
You can now earn free gift cards just for shopping at your local grocery store thanks to ShopKick, a free app for iOS and Android users that you might already be using.
Once you download the app, register and enter your location. You’ll now have access to all the available points, or “kicks,” at your favorite supermarket, and the chance to collect them as you shop.
Eventually you can cash them in for awesome rewards, like gift cards from great retailers like Target, Starbucks, or Sephora (for real!) along with whole lot more.
Plus, ShopKick makes grocery shopping easier with features like easy-to-use shopping lists. You can even get your kids involved in selecting and scanning items to help keep those hands off the sugary snacks!
4. Know your grocery store’s sale policies.
If you’re not sure about how your store handles those 5 items for $5 sales or BOGO deals, stop by your grocery store’s customer service desk and confirm whether you need to buy all of the items to receive the deal — or whether the discounted price applies if you purchase just one.
In many stores, you may actually get the deal even when buying a single product. Yet often, we shoppers aren’t entirely clear about the quantity that qualifies us for that great deal, so we buy the number of items being promoted, all just to be sure.
So, take a few minutes to chat with the store manager or customer service representative and be sure you’re clear on the deal. It could help you make better shopping decisions on your weekly visits.
(PS: If you’re not at your regular store, like if you’re shopping on vacation, it’s also good to confirm whether you can get a deal even if you don’t belong to the store’s loyalty program, which you often can. Just ask!)
5. Eat first. Then shop.
You’ve probably heard the saying “never shop when you’re hungry,” and yet, so many of us break that rule all the time. And yes, we’re raising our hands here too.
A better decision? Eat a meal before you go shopping so that you don’t find yourself grabbing an extra box of cookies (or three) that you otherwise wouldn’t buy.
If you want to take it a step further, make sure your kids have eaten too, or at least pack a few snacks for them while they comb the aisles with you. Because the only thing more difficult to contend with at the grocery store than hunger, is hungry children!
6. Avoid the crowds. And the crowd mentality.
Did you know that overcrowding can actually promote an unconscious herd mentality? That means, you buy more that you ordinarily would because everyone around you seems to be stocking up.
Beyond that, you may feel a sense of urgency to get past those long checkout lines and out the door faster, which tends to make us all less thoughtful shoppers. However, when you’re able to take your time, you’re more likely to look at labels and do the calculations, likely saving yourself plenty of cash.
You can avoid crowds by shopping early on a Saturday or Sunday morning; or go later in the evening around 7 or 8 PM on a weeknight after most people are settling in for the night. Those tend to be slowest times at supermarkets. Bonus: You’ll get out faster too.
Thanks to our sponsor ShopKick for helping us earn rewards (Target gift card! Starbucks gift card!) for doing the shopping we already do and helping us save money. You can download their free app on iTunes for iOS devices, or on Google Play for Android.