The past month has highlighted that, no matter what is going on around us, no one wants to be in a position of not having enough food at home. Food doesn’t just provide us with nourishment and essential calories to thrive; it also ensures a sense of safety and security. 

Related Reading: Start Making These Dishes at Home to Save Money This Year

The cost of food, however, can invariably be a source of stress. A large portion of our paycheck goes to eating out and buying groceries. Being able to shop with confidence, and also with the ability to find savings in the aisles, is key. Become a prepared, budget-minded shopper with these simple tips that’ll help you save money on groceries.

Build a Recipe Plan

Before you head out, map out the week ahead. Look up recipes that are simple, straightforward, and don’t require loads of extraneous ingredients. Picking versatile recipes will also help you create more than one meal from one set of ingredients.

Shop with a Purpose

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Just like you shouldn’t shop hungry, you shouldn’t shop without a plan. Always have a list of the items you need and tick them off as they land in the cart.  By sticking to this list, you will avoid grabbing items you don’t need or aren’t part of this week’s recipe plan.

Go Big Box

If you have one local, heading to the large wholesale stores like Costco can really help you save some money. Buying in bulk will almost always save you on a per unit basis.  Paper goods, coffee, and even dairy can come at huge savings if you are willing to make the upfront investment.

Skip the Convenience Because It Costs You

While we all love time-savers and shortcuts, grocery stores most definitely charge you for the time they spend making things easier for you. Buy big blocks of cheese and slice it up yourself—rather than the pre-shredded kind. Opt for whole fruits and veggies instead of precut (this will help waste less plastic, too), especially when it comes to those big bags of lettuce. Some chopping and slicing at home will ultimately save you some serious dough.

Check Out Sale Items

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Grocery stores usually make big sales very visible so that the food they want to move, or have too much of, gets sold. Take a peek at the end caps as you enter each aisle. Even proteins or fruit that need to be moved will have big signs above them.

Bulk Bins Are Your Friend

Often overlooked, bulk bins have lots of items that are not only cost savers, but are also healthy and delicious.  Nuts, dried fruits, granola, dried legumes, and even rice and couscous all live in this section of the store and can be added to recipes for extra oomph or enjoyed on their own as a healthy snack. Bring your own reusable containers to cut down on plastic waste.  

Repurpose Those Leftovers

A versatile recipe will lend well to the next night’s meal, so if you were planning on tossing what wasn’t consumed tonight, think again. For example, a roasted chicken can become tomorrow night’s chicken pot pie

Always Keep the Pantry Well Stocked

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This is a lesson I learned long ago and lately has been paying me back in spades. Keeping a stocked pantry means you can always scrounge up something to eat. So before heading to the store, take a quick inventory. Are you low on peanut butter? Did someone just finish the mayo? Your pantry should also also house a few essentials; I always like to have beans, rice, pasta, and quinoa on hand because they can provide a meal all on their own in a pinch. Canned goods like tuna can also be used for pasta salad or a hearty sandwich. 

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