When you’re making your way throughout the grocery store, are you really thinking about what you’re buying? The cashier tells you the number, and you pay it mindlessly with a wad of cash or a swipe of the card.

But have you ever taken a moment to see how much you really spent, and how much you could have really saved?

Here are our top six budget grocery shopping tips that’ll keep the spending at bay and still scoring all the same swag.

Buy in bulk

Some items, such as herbs, spices, flours, and baking ingredients, are great to buy in bulk. You don’t want to load up on a year’s supply (spices, for example, can lose their potency), but it is far cheaper than purchasing them in the jar each time.

Bulk shopping doesn’t necessarily mean digging into those bins, too. Visit wholesale stores such as Costco and buy bigger packages of must-haves. It is easier to overspend at these locations, so buyer beware. But if it is food items that you eat all the time, go home, separate them, and freeze them… and you’re good to go for awhile.

Support local goodness

Stepping away from the large grocery chains takes away the temptation of extra items you might not need. Local and smaller grocery stores, delis, and shops carry the essentials, without extra mish-mash that aren’t necessary. Even better? Hit the market for all of your produce, getting what you need right in season.

Start clipping coupons

Get out those scissors and fire up that printer, then store the coupons inside an envelope for your weekly purchases. Sure, 25 cents might not seem like a lot, but clipping $2 worth each time can deliver a savings of over $100 each year.

Read the flyers

If there is more than one store in your area, check out which ones have the best deals. Certain chains have amazing sales, such as scoring certain items for a dollar. It might be a good time, too, to stock up on certain things, like dish soap.

Make it from scratch

Some items cost a lot less than to buy out of a can, jar, or in the frozen food section. Frozen kale, for example, is about $5 for a small bag, and you can get a whole bunch for usually about $2. Other items, such as tomato sauce, cost an arm and a leg to buy ($3 to $6 for your average jar!). But instead, pick up a 79 cent can of tomatoes, some dried herbs, and a scoop of tomato paste.

Plan it out

Write your grocery list in order as it goes around the store. And, even better, make sure you make that grocery list. This will, then, not allow for frivolous buying, and instead, you’ll stick to exactly what you need.  When you’re shopping, stick to the edges of the of the store. That way, you’ll skip all the packaged items… most of which are way overpriced.

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