Have you ever put together a household budget? You would probably discover that right below mortgage or rent payments the biggest item you spend money on is groceries. Being the primary grocery shopper for your family also means you are the first to notice when prices go up. Much like gas, the cost of milk, bread, butter, and bread can tick up from week to week. Those items might occasionally go on sale, but once the price is high, it rarely comes down. That doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to save on your grocery bill. All you have to do is avoid these grocery shopping mistakes:

Not Planning

Everyone knows you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. It also helps to plan for your meals. You might find that your local grocery store has a special “price break” day when there are more discounts. That should be the day you do your weekly grocery shopping. It will also help to know what the bulk of your meals are going to be for the week. That requires thinking ahead not to just what you’re making for dinner tonight but how that dinner might become leftovers for a second meal during the week. You should also plan for lunches. It will be more cost effective to make your own lunch than buying a frozen meal to heat up in the microwave every day.

Not Shopping For Staples On Sale

You probably have a list of grocery staples that you buy each week. That list doesn’t change. It means those are the items that you should pay close attention to with regard to coupons and sales. You might discover that those sales are also recurring. That is the time to buy.

Not Thinking Outside The Meat Box

Not every meal needs to feature meat as the “star.” Protein is indeed important for the diet but it can come from other sources, too. There might be a sale on seafood for a particular week that you could take advantage of. There is also nothing wrong with switching things up for a vegetarian dinner.

And here is a bonus mistake…

Not Stocking the Freezer

Some of the meal planning that you do doesn’t have to be for the coming week. It can be for the coming month. That is where your freezer comes into play. When there is a good deal on a product that can be frozen, then scoop it up. Before putting it into the freezer, be sure you label it with the date. And before grocery shopping, take the time to conduct a freezer review. You don’t want to buy something you already have.