15 Ways to Shop Smarter

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Jessica Fisher)

Even though it’s more cost-effective than eating out, cooking at home can still be expensive. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save money at the grocery store, farmers market, and warehouse club.

Here are some of the best tips we learned this year for shopping smarter every day.

  1. A food budget is powerful: It might be the most important part of smart shopping, and it can even get you out of debt.
  2. Prepared foods can save you time and money: We have eight go-to products that make more sense to buy ready-made.
  3. Make an inventory: It’s the first step to planning your meals and your grocery budget.
  4. Warehouse stores require a strategy: Yes, they can save you money, but they can also lead to impulse purchases. Buyer beware, or at least be smarter.
  5. Start with the little things: Even if you don’t have a food budget or a pantry inventory, you can make these small changes to your shopping routine to save money.
  6. Think about food waste, too: Saving money isn’t just about your receipt. You also need to make sure you use what you buy.
  7. Learn the ins and outs of your grocery store: Being familiar with your store can help you whittle down that grocery bill.
  8. Thanksgiving is expensive, but you can cut costs: When the holiday is all about the food, your grocery bill is going to be big. But you can shop smarter.
  9. Stop believing these grocery-shopping myths: No, coupons aren’t always worth it, and just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you should fill your cart.
  10. Host without blowing your budget: Yes, you can still entertain your friends and family without having to skimp on meals later.
  11. Preserving and canning can save money, but only if you plan for it: Don’t let that big batch of produce blow your weekly budget now in hopes of saving later.
  12. Sales are worth your attention: Not every sale is a good deal, but if it’s something you buy regularly, it’s always worth checking out.
  13. Grocery shopping on vacation is key: If you stay where you can cook, you’ve just made your trip much less expensive.
  14. A well-stocked pantry will save you money: Focus on long-lasting staples, and shop the sales to get started.
  15. Take the pantry challenge: Eat down your pantry. It really will save you money.