One of the best ways I have found to save money is actually to use those reusable bags that stores sell at the registers.
I am not talking about the paltry 10 cents that stores give as discount either – while this is nice when they do it, and does add up over time, that isn’t really where the savings come in. The savings come in because the reusable bags means I have to plan in advance and stick to it because impulse purchases won’t fit.
Without the impulse purchases, I noticed we save $50-60 dollars a month on our grocery bills. We also don’t end up with anything going bad, because every meal is planned in advance. So in total, we probably save more like $70-80 a month, and waste a lot less. We only buy what we need, what has been planned in advance.
I had no idea how much I was wasting every month.
I’ve tried to use reusable bags on and off for several years. Most of the time I remember. But a few months ago, we had gotten really busy with life and had forgotten for a while. So I started to keep compare receipts for the times I remembered and the times I forgot. The savings were pretty significant.
I think psychologically the physical limits help. If it doesn’t fit in the bag I can’t buy it. I plan out according to the space in the bag, and plan to buy that much for the week.
I remember reading that the original switch to disposable “free” bags was to get customers to buy more. Psychologically, disposable bags encourage impulse purchases because there is no space limitation. It makes impulse buying much easier.
Impulse purchases are much more likely to go to waste. If we haven’t consciously planned to purchase and eat something, it often gets forgotten and then wasted.