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5 tips for lowering your monthly grocery bill

When it comes to saving money in Hawaii, your food bill is a tough expense to lower. A whopping 90% of our food items are shipped from the mainland(1), making the price of groceries the highest in the nation.

Here in Hawaii, we take these costs in stride—paying more for groceries is just part of life. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to how much you spend at the grocery store. A good goal is to spend no more than 10-15% of your monthly income on groceries.

In this post, we’ll share five easy ways to cut back on your monthly grocery bill and save money.

(1) Office of Planning Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture State of Hawaii, “Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy,” October 2012

5 easy ways to cut back on your monthly grocery bill

Taking steps toward lowering your monthly food bill will go a long way toward helping you meet your financial goals faster. You’ll have more money to put toward paying off debt, investing in retirement, or saving for something fun like a trip to Las Vegas.

If you’re not sure how much of your money is going toward groceries every month, track your spending with our free online calculator. Or, if you need some extra help reaching your financial goals, contact us. Our team is here to serve you with personal attention

groceries

1. Make fewer trips to the store

It’s safe to say that the more you visit the store, the more you’ll spend. So try to go to the store less than you do now. Are you making a grocery trip two times a week? Aim to go only once, instead.

Not only will taking fewer trips to the store make you think about your shopping trips more strategically, it will help you avoid wasting food (and money). Instead of piling more items into your fridge, you’ll be forced to utilize what you already have on hand

Lists

2. Stick to a list

One of the easiest ways to overspend on food is to go to the store without a plan. Say goodbye to spontaneous grocery store trips. Instead, take time to think about what meals you want to make in the days and weeks ahead. Create a shopping list based on the ingredients you’ll need and buy only those items.

Another tip: don’t go to the store hungry! Sticking to your list will be nearly impossible if you’re strolling through the deli or bakery with an empty stomach.

Calculator

3. Use a calculator

If you really want to reduce your grocery bill, you need to know exactly how much you can spend every time you go shopping. For instance, if your monthly food budget is $300 and you visit the store once a week, then you can spend $75 each trip.

Stick to your budget by using your calculator while you shop. As you add items to your cart, punch in the costs on your calculator to keep tabs on your total bill. This will keep you within your budget and avoid surprises at the register.

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4. Choose generic brands

Don’t get tricked into thinking name brand items are always the best choice. There are many generic foods that taste exactly the same as those well-known brands. Often the only real difference is the cost! Whenever possible, choose cheaper generic brand items.

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5. Visit local farmers’ markets

A great way to both save on your grocery bill and support local farmers is to visit the weekend markets. Spend some time exploring your closest farmers’ market and identify some opportunities to save money on your monthly food bill.

While some farmers’ market prices may be comparable to what you’ll get in the grocery store, you’ll likely find many fresh items that are easier on your budget.

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