Save Money Live Better: How To Save Money On Groceries

Save money live better is a short series on how to cut costs on your daily living expenses.

One way to ease any financial issues you may have is to save through your grocery shop. This is actually easier than you might think. From using a grocery budget calculator to not shopping hungry, check out the pointers below.

Save money live better with a weekly meal plan

Keeping your budget and reducing food waste can be achieved by shopping weekly. Plan out your meals throughout the week. By doing so, you’re only buying what you need.

Reduce packaging and buy bulk to save money and live better

If you want to save money, you should buy things like rice, uncooked beans, meat, and frozen veggies in bulk.

Shop with a list to save money and live better

Without a list, shopping at the grocery store is like gambling without a budget. When you don’t have a list, it is easy to buy things you don’t need. And make sure you’ve used a grocery budget calculator of some kind beforehand.

Save money live better by shopping cheaper

Shopping at stores like Aldi and Walmart makes a big difference. You can essentially get a lot more for your money.

Slickdeals.net ranked the best discount stores for groceries:

  • Aldi. …
  • Walmart. …
  • Smart & Final. …
  • Food4Less. …
  • Publix. …
  • Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. …
  • Imperfect Foods. Imperfect Foods. …
  • Misfit Market. Misfits Market.

And follow these tips for making a cheaper grocery shop even cheaper:

Dishes that are simpler are best

If you’re on a budget, simplicity is key if you want to save money and live better. Due to the number of ingredients it requires, a complex recipe can easily drain a whole week’s budget. You can save money on groceries by choosing simple, yet tasty, recipes that only require a few ingredients. 

Choose recipes that share some of the same ingredients when choosing the meals you want to make this week. 

Make at least one weekday meat-free

Buying meat can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to buy organic. The best way to deal with this is to go meatless at least once a week. 

Additionally, you may find it’s not as difficult as it sounds, saving you money and improving your vegetarian recipe repertoire. Ultimately, if you eat less meat, you’ll save money.

Make sure you count as you shop

Keeping track of how much everything in your basket costs will help you keep track of your spending. Using your phone’s calculator or rounding all the prices up will make it easier to add them up. You won’t overspend this way.

If you want to get a real grip on this, try a special grocery budget calculator. There are many online, but I’ve found this one to be particularly useful.

Save money live better: Take a look at the lower shelves

Some supermarkets put their most expensive products at eye level so you’ll spend more. The prices of the same types of food that are being sold below eye level tend to be lower. Start with the cheapest products.

Get a small basket instead of a shopping cart 

Supermarkets use oversized shopping carts and baskets to get you to stop saving on groceries. Because they don’t fill the space, it seems as if you have fewer groceries than you do. 

Choose the smallest cart you can, usually a basket, to get around this. If you’re buying a few small things, skip the basket and carry them yourself instead.

Save money live better: Compare prices

Supermarkets and independent grocery stores price their stuff differently. Stores will often charge different prices for the same thing.

Make a note of the prices for the groceries you buy most often as you go from shop to shop. It won’t take long for you to go to different stores depending on what you need. Prices can vary, however, depending on the season and any promotions a shop may be running.

Shopping when you’re hungry is a bad idea

You’ve probably done the same thing. When you shop on an empty stomach, you’re sure to overspend your grocery budget.

Here’s the solution: grab a bite before you shop. Simple, but it makes a big difference. Before you go grocery shopping, even something as small as a banana or a breakfast bar can save you $20.

Hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to save money and live better. If you need more advice, try Why you shouldn’t use your debit card to shop online. If you want to dig deeper, try How to save money on groceries.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Debit Card To Shop Online

Debit cards are used by many consumers for all purchases. Debit cards are better than credit cards for avoiding debt. In contrast to using a credit card, your bank account will be debited directly, so there’s little chance of spending more than you have.

Credit cards are a better option when shopping online, however.

The risk of fraud is higher when using a debit card for online purchases. Moreover, every time you pay with a debit card in a store or online, you’re giving up important consumer protections.

You may want to use a credit card instead of a debit card for all the reasons below.

1. Fraud may be a risk for you

When purchases are made with your debit card or checking account number, you are responsible for the purchases. Debit cards do not benefit from the same fraud protections as credit cards, thanks to rules in the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA).

You might lose all your savings if someone finds your debit card number. Money cannot be refunded if you don’t notice or report it in time. 

You are liable for fraud based on when you discover it and report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In such an instance, you will only be liable for losses up to $50 if you report the fraud within two business days of discovering it. Immediately after receiving your statement, you have two to sixty days to report fraud. Upon failure to report fraud within 60 days of receiving your statement, the FTC says that you could lose “all the money taken out of your ATM/debit card account, as well as money in accounts linked to your debit card.

2. Rewards aren’t available to you

Shopping online with a debit card puts you at risk for fraud as well as missing out on plenty of other benefits. When you make the same purchases with a rewards or travel credit card, you could earn cash back or travel rewards. You can use these rewards to see the world or spend on gifts, merchandise, and more.

A rewards or travel credit card typically earns 1% to 3% back, but you can also earn double rewards if you shop through an airline portal, cash back program, or travel rewards program. Debit cards are also accepted in some portals, but earning airline miles or cash back is more limited. 

3. Sign-up bonuses are not available

Debit cards don’t allow you to earn big sign-up bonuses when you shop online. When consumers meet minimum spending requirements within a few months, they can earn bonuses worth $500 or more on rewards credit cards.

You don’t have to pay an annual fee on a credit card to earn sign-up bonuses and rewards. Many rewards credit cards offer hefty bonuses, ongoing rewards, and more without charging annual fees. 

4. There’s a loss of valuable consumer protections

You may also qualify for valuable consumer protections and free insurance if you use credit instead of debit. It can include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, luggage delay insurance, and others. 

You can also get extended warranties, purchase protection, and guaranteed returns when you buy online. Using a debit card for online purchases will usually not qualify you for any of these perks. 

5. Your credit history isn’t being built

Finally, if you use your debit card for everyday purchases and online purchases, you are not building credit history. As opposed to debit cards, credit cards will have regular purchases and payments reported to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. 

It is important for your credit bureaus to report your credit usage and payments, as it proves your creditworthiness and provides them with the basis to increase your score over time. Your credit score won’t suffer from using a debit card, but it won’t improve either. 

Are you thinking about getting a credit card? A word of caution

Although debit cards are riskier and less rewarding online, you still need to determine whether you can use a credit card. The good thing about credit cards is that they offer better fraud protection, rewards, and valuable consumer protections, but they can also lead to overspending and debt. 

Using a credit card requires you to stay on budget and spend only what you can afford, which is why you need to be committed to spending only what you can afford. Credit cards with high interest rates may wind up leaving you in debt, which may negate any rewards and protections you receive.

Like this post? Try Is It Worth Paying Off My Debt Early? If you want a deeper dive, try You’re Not Broke, You’re pre-Rich.