Sticking to your budget

woman shopping with coupons

Budgets help us understand how much we can afford to spend on various necessities. Meal planning can help you put together a shopping list, which then helps you stick to your shopping budget whenever you visit the grocery store or farmers market. There are a few other tips to consider in order to stay within your food budget.

  • Have a snack before shopping. When you go to the store hungry, you’re more likely to buy things that aren’t on your shopping list.
  • Look for deals. Read the price tags and calculate the discounts. This could be a good opportunity to stock up on certain items to save money in the long run.
  • Buy store brands rather than name brands. The prices are usually cheaper and the quality is just as good.
  • Pay attention to unit price. Unit price is the cost per ounce, quart, gallon, pound, or any unit of measure. Compare the unit prices of different products rather than the total cost to figure out what produce is the best value.
  • Shop the sales and use coupons. If you read the newspaper, check out the grocery store sales flyers and coupon inserts. Use these sales and discounts to help plan your meals for the week. Watch out for the temptation of less healthy options just because they’re on sale.
  • Join the store’s loyalty program. Many grocery stores offer shoppers the opportunity to sign up for their loyalty programs for free. As a loyalty member, the store may send you coupons based on your previous purchases, and discounts when you shop and scan your loyalty card. Some stores will even allow you to earn gas points.