Food costs are a big chunk of any household budget. You’re essentially planning 21 meals each week along with in-between snacks. That’s a lot of shopping and money being spent. Using coupons and meal planning are great ways to save on your grocery bills but you don’t have to stop there. The following grocery shopping hacks can stretch your food shopping money even further. Are you ready to start saving? Then get hacking!

Shop the Sales

Obviously, you want to keep an eye out for the sales. Many of those sales are based on multiple purchases. For instance, the store might advertise five items for $10. Does that mean you have to buy all five? Maybe not and that would mean you could still get the sales price of $2 per item (or whatever). Check the fine print of the sale or ask a clerk. More importantly, don’t buy more than you need of anything!

Shop Amazon

There are plenty of items that you are always buying such as paper towels, toilet paper, tissue, trash bags. Over at Amazon, you can subscribe and save those kinds of items. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime (which you should be), then they will also be delivered to your front door once a month or however many times you want them to without paying for shipping/deliver costs. You might be pleasantly surprised at the discounts you get with a paper towel subscription.

Find Out About Markdowns

As fresh produce and meat get close to their expiration dates, grocery stores will often mark down those items. They are still perfectly good. In fact, they often can survive the expiration date by several days. This is your chance to swoop in and get the discount. Ask the store butcher and/or produce manager what the store’s markdown policy is and then plan your shopping accordingly.

Learn To Debone

If you eat a lot of chicken, then you probably prefer it without the bones. We all do. It’s also more expensive that way. You could almost save up to $2 a pound on chicken that is still boned. A few clicks on YouTube will reveal simple ways to debone a chicken. That extra effort can translate into real savings.

Don’t Shop for Convenience

Many stores sell packaged items like fruits, berries and other produce that has been carefully sliced and diced. Convenient, right? Sure but also costly. Once again, you might have to step up your kitchen skills but the five minutes it takes to carve your own fresh pineapple can save you. Plus, it will always be fresher!

And a bonus tip…

Freeze More!

The more you buy on sale or bulk and freeze, the better off you’ll be. A smart investment would be a vacuum food sealer. This will let you freeze all kinds of meat, veggies and other fresh foods. It’s also great when you’ve got a lot of leftovers like sauce or stews.