Here's how to stretch your dollar without pulling out the coupon binder.
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Grocery shopping today looks a lot different than it did, say, five years ago, let alone a decade ago. While giant grocery vending machines, grocery delivery services, as well as online grocery options have all given grocery shopping a face-lift, there is still a common goal linked to grocery shopping in the past as well as the present: saving money.

Due to recent food and gas price upticks, many are trying to save on their weekly food bill while still buying items they love. If you too are hungry for grocery shopping tips and tricks, Colleen McCreary, Chief People Officer at Credit Karma has a few food shopping ingredients to add to your (organized) grocery list. The outcome will hopefully save you big at checkout while ensuring your fridge is still stocked with all of your favorites.  

Audit Your Recent Grocery Shopping Runs

When it comes to grocery shopping, the hardest part isn't adding items to your buggy, it's budgeting. McCreary says, "Sometimes, the hardest part of budgeting is just getting started. The best time to create a budget is now, so you can shop for necessities—like groceries—without spending beyond your means."

In order to stay on task as well as in budget, she suggests auditing your recent grocery runs to see how much your typical bill is, the items you buy, and then adjust from there. Pro-tip: Saving your receipts will simplify this process. Tallying up your must-have purchases as well as purchases that may have gone to waste all equates to you reassessing your grocery shopping strategy as well as adopting a new budget.  

Cut Out Unnecessary Purchases

Sampling the new box of seasonal blend coffee or stocking up on paper products you don't quite need yet may all be unnecessary purchases you discover during your audit. If this is the case, go through and make cuts to items that you don't need. McCreary shares this is a great way to cut costs. Opting to buy the store's brand over name brand can also be a wallet-friendly choice that can lead to grocery savings.

Cut Out Other Expenses

If you're a hard-core grocery shopper or shopping for a family who needs a lot of groceries, McCreary suggests looking to cut costs in other avenues of life. "Think things like recurring subscriptions or any nice-to-have purchases. Finding pockets in other areas of your finances where you can cut down can help you prioritize the most important necessities, like groceries."

You might opt to switch gears and cut out other lifestyle expenses if you're finding your overall budget is tight, but your shopping list is reasonable.

Create a Meal Plan

Stepping into a grocery store with a list sometimes isn't enough. Here is where curating a weekly meal plan helps stretch your dollar as well as set you up for a grocery shopping game plan. While this strategy takes more planning, it can be worth it in the end.

McCreary says that the key ingredient in this plan of action is to create a list that minimizes waste and maximizes the number of meals you can get out of it. After all, leftovers always taste better the second time around, right?  

Shopping for your meals allows you to only shop for the ingredients you need. Perhaps, the easiest method to save on groceries is to shop on a full stomach rather than an empty one to avoid overspending.

Shop Around

While hitting one grocery store and calling it a day is convenient, shopping around can be a money-saving move. Weekly deals occur at various grocers and it's best to make a list of what's on sale and where to go from there.  

Shop For Items That Give More Bang For Your Buck

McCreary shares that, at times, bulk buying is a money-saving move. Prior to bulk buying, check that you'll use all of the purchase. Opting to purchase food that has a longer long shelf life or can be frozen will stretch your meals as well as your dollar.

Shop With Cash Or A Pre-Paid Debit Card

"If you're worried that you'll be tempted to overspend once you get to the store, bring a certain amount of cash or put that cash onto a prepaid debit card," says McCreary. It only makes sense that you won't overspend if you budget for cash purchases only.

Don't Forget To Take Advantage Of Coupons

Today's coupons come in both physical and digital formats with apps as well as websites dedicated to couponing. Researching what coupons are readily available after your list is made is an easy way to save money on groceries.

McCreary says, "It only takes a few minutes and it can really end up saving you each month. Many stores even have an app [for] your phone so you can look up items while you're in the store."