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Some of our bills are fixed and there is not much we can do to adjust them. You might think about your mortgage or perhaps your car payment when it comes to bills that are steady from one month to the next. On the other hand, there are many household expenses that can be adjusted so we can save money and more easily budget what is left over. Perhaps this is best seen when it comes to our grocery budget. By making just a few simple adjustments, you can cut down on your monthly expenses in profound ways.

The first thing you need to understand is that grocery stores will try their best to trick you into spending as much money as possible. As a savvy shopper, however, you can avoid the pitfalls and take advantage of the savings. It’s time to fill your basket for less. Consider these 10 things you can do today to change your monthly grocery budget.

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1. Buy Bulk

Don’t overlook the bulk section at your grocery store because it is a fantastic way to save money. Buying as much as possible in bulk, such as grains, spices, and even coffee, can save you a considerable amount of money at the register.

2. Say No to Frozen Dinners

The lockdown is the perfect time to get familiar with the kitchen and how to use it properly. If you are purchasing premade items and prepared foods, you are wasting money. You also may be choosing a less healthy option when you purchase prepared foods.

3. Do the Cutting at Home

If you purchase fruits and vegetables that are already cut up for you, it may save a little time but it is going to cost you in the long run. Purchase the items whole and take them home, where you can cut them up yourself within a matter of seconds.

4. Swap out Ingredients

Purchasing that one expensive item for a recipe you want to try can put you over your budget quickly. Learn how to swap out items so you can choose something that is less expensive or better yet, on sale! You might also consider purchasing frozen instead of fresh.

5. Frozen Produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables look good in the basket but they can be expensive. If you just do a little comparison between the prices of frozen fruit and vegetables and what you would pay fresh you may be surprised by how much you can save.

6. Avoid Name Brands

There are going to be times when you want to buy something specific but if you don’t have your heart set on it, you can purchase a generic item. More than likely, it will taste close enough to the real McCoy, and the savings can be significant.

7. Read the Tag

Comparing prices is one thing but it doesn’t always mean you are getting the best deal. Most supermarkets will now put additional information on the tag hanging on the shelf that allows you to get the price per unit. You may find that buying more does not always mean saving more.

8. Go Plant-based

Everybody is talking about protein these days, but you don’t need to load up on meat to get the protein you need. Adding some plant-based protein to your diet, such as beans, chickpeas, and even tofu, can provide all that you need at a lower price.

9. Go Reduced Price

There may be some special items that can really lower the price of what you are buying. These may be in the form of a buy one, get one free, or perhaps a lower price because the item is nearing the end of its shelf life. They are still safe to consume, but you will have a shorter amount of time to do it.

10. Go with a List

If you just go to the store and think you will buy whatever looks good to you, you will likely spend a lot more money. Make a list of what you need before you go to the store and don’t deviate from it.