The pandemic has unfortunately taken a toll on our disposable income, and it is imperative for families to identify areas of monthly cost savings and implement a conscious savings plan. Monthly groceries is a big area of savings and judicious planning can save families 100s of Dollars in a year.
Mercatus’ 2020 study revealed that online grocery sales accounted for $106B (10.2%) of the $1.04 trillion grocery market. Meanwhile, the average food-at-home spending on groceries was $4,643 per household in 2019. According to the USDA ERS, this is a declining trend from previous years, i.e., 1960-1998. During this time, households spent a higher proportion of disposable income on food-at- and food-away-from-home.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us into our homes resulted in increased weekly grocery spending. LendingTree’s research revealed that average weekly grocery spending increased by 17% during the pandemic. It went from the previous $163 to $190 now, with multiple respondents visiting numerous grocery stores on every trip.
While this is the average number, several demographics, e.g., parents, overspent during every shopping trip during the pandemic. With the pandemic still all around us, we compiled a few easy ways to reduce spending on groceries.
5 Ways to Reduce Cost on Groceries
With these tried-and-tested, easy-to-implement methods, you can keep your monthly spending low. You can also buy more things while having more money for a rainy day. Therefore, these five handy tips keep you more financially secure for an increasingly uncertain future.
Make a Simple Meal Plan
Making a weekly meal plan is the easiest way to control spending. However, planning is the easy part; sticking to the meal plan is the real challenge. Here, online shopping can often come in handy. Unlike physical grocery shopping, which shows you a wide range of products, tempting you, online stores allow your one-track mind. You open your online grocery store of choice and buy only what you need.
(Source: Easy Budget Blog)
You can save up to 40% on your weekly grocery budget if you stick to a meal plan. This means that if you spend $190 a week on groceries, you can cut that down to $114 per week! You save nearly $80 per week, which becomes almost $4,000 in a year! Of course, you should also note that this kind of saving only works because you force your meal plan to fit in a stipulated budget.
Having a simple meal plan is also essential. While social distancing made everyone more experimental in the kitchen, this is an expensive lifestyle. A fancy meal once in a while does no harm. But you can rack up the bill by making every meal fancy. Therefore, having simple meal plans helps control spending. You can plan for a fancier meal once every week or on a bi-weekly basis.
Keep Inventory Checks
Another way of controlling spending is by knowing what you need. Letting things run out or come close to running out before buying more is important. Just because something is on sale or has an eye-catching offer does not mean you buy it. Keep an eye on your pantry and only purchase what you need. Online grocery stores often help you with this, scheduling necessities, so you get refills just as you run out.
Track Your Spending
Having a budget and sticking to it is often difficult. However, sticking to your budget is easier when you track your spending. As the USDA ERS revealed, “In 2019, households in the lowest income quintile spent an average of $4,400 on food (representing 36.0 percent of income).”
(Source: USDA ERS)
Therefore, tracking your spending is crucial. The share of income spent on groceries should not be exorbitant. Luckily, here, e-grocery shopping is beneficial – you can see precisely how much you spent through your payment history. You can also see how much the total bill is in your cart at all times.
For example, if your budget is $100 for a shopping session, you can stop yourself when your cart hits $100 or find cheaper, good quality alternatives for your products, instead of pushing your budget by $50. You end up saving $50 by using an online platform. At the end of the month, you can then easily calculate how much grocery shopping costs you.
Buy What’s on Sale and Utilize Offers
Sales and deals are your best friends. Whether this is a “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” or a “50% Off” tag, you should use them. Cashback offers are also ideal for such situations. You can save hundreds of dollars through such offers.
(Source: Credit Cards – US News and World Reports)
Online platforms like Ebounti even send you notifications when your favorite products are on sale or back in stock. Choosing such times to buy your groceries helps you save lots of money.
Buy Generic Products and Cook from Scratch
Brands often cost more due to their nominal value. When buying on a budget, you cannot afford to be a snob. Buy generic groceries and cook meals from scratch. This way, you stock your pantry and save money. Forbes found that ordering in from restaurants costs nearly $20 per person while cooking from scratch came up to $4 per person. That means you save $16 on every meal! They also recommended getting more expensive foods in meal kits while buying everyday items like bread, rice, etc., from grocery stores.
(Source: Harvard Health – Harvard University)
Using online shopping to buy generic products prevents you from looking at the more expensive brands during a pandemic. While they may show up in search results, they do not have the same pull as they do in physical stores. Therefore, e-stores can significantly help reduce your grocery spending.
You can find all your favorite e-stores on ebounti groceries. We help your small, desi stores reach you safely. Our delivery persons follow the COVID sanitation regulations, using no-contact delivery and other such safety measures. With such diligence and dedication to your safety, Ebounti ensures that you get all your groceries safely and with zero risks!