Woman customer paying at the supermarket after buying groceries

Tips for Shopping on a Budget

Welcome back! This month we’re sharing tips on ways to save money while grocery shopping. Being a smart shopper will not only save you time in the long run but you can feel good that you are making healthy choices for yourself and your family! Read on.

Compare Unit Prices and Brand Names:

Make sure to compare the unit price of food items across brand names and store brands. The larger size isn’t necessarily the best value. Unit prices will provide the most accurate information about what an item costs. For more tips to save money at the store, click here.

Checking price of item in supermarket aisle

Buy Store Brands:

Did you know that store brands are frequently made by the brand names we recognize? Store brands have the same nutritional value as brand names. There is no difference. Go ahead, save money, and buy the store brands. For more tips, click here.

Buy in Bulk (or Not):

Buying larger sizes if you have the space for shelf-stable products can save money; however, make sure you purchase something you know your family will use. Buying a large amount of an item your family doesn’t likely won’t save you money regardless of what a great price it is, to begin with.

If your store has food dispensers for dry goods like oatmeal, popcorn, nuts, and grains, use them! This can be a great way to get as much as you need for you and your family bypassing all the extra packaging and saving money. It’s also a great way for your family to try new foods by just buying, literally, a few to taste (like dried fruit) or more to save (looking at you oatmeal and brown rice!).

Portrait of an adorable little girl buying a big bag of carrots at a grocery store

Make a Shopping List:

Plan your meals! Know what you have so you know what you need. Make a list and stick to it. If you can, try and shop at a time the store is less crowded to give yourself space to take your time, check prices, and make sure you’ve gotten everything on your list. Reducing the number of grocery trips limits impulse buys; another reason to make that list. For more tips check out our blog post on meal planning. For a video on making a shopping list, click on the link here.

Other Food Resources

Online Shopping

There are many states including right here in Massachusetts that have retailers accepting SNAP   for online purchasing through a pilot program. This is a great way to get your shopping done when schedules are tight and to give you some time back to spend with family and friends. Make sure to check with the participating stores for delivery fees because there could be an additional cost associated with the purchase. For a list of participating retailers see Stores Accepting SNAP Online | Food and Nutrition Service (usda.gov)

School Meals and Meals for Older Adults:

In Massachusetts, if you have school-aged children, their meals are free for the school year. Breakfast and lunch are provided across the state at no charge to parents or guardians. School meals are better than ever as school districts incorporate recipes that reflect their students’ preferences and cultural backgrounds making for a wide variety of foods being served. Participating in your school’s breakfast and lunch program can help your family’s food budget.

If you are over 60 or a person with a disability and living in certain senior housing, you may qualify for meals that are provided by congregate meal sites. You may even qualify to have meals delivered directly to your home. To find out more click here.

There’s more! Check out the link here to find a food bank or pantry near you. Reach out to them for food assistance and they will be happy to help.

For more shopping tips, check out this blog, and thanks for stopping by!

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