We normally do not have much wiggle room when it comes to the living expenses in our budget. Your rent or mortgage is set, you already eliminated cable or have the cheapest package, and you’ve shopped around for the lowest car insurance. If you are looking to squeeze extra money out of your tight budget, have you considered auditing your grocery bill? Many people do not realize that they are wasting a lot of money in the grocery store. Here are a few ways to start saving more money without actually buying less quantity of food.

Have a Plan

You are your own worst enemy in the grocery store. Going food shopping without a list is almost as bad for your wallet as going in on an empty stomach is. If you’re doing both of these things, we need to have a serious chat. Planning out exactly what you need to get allows you to avoid unnecessary purchases. Those extra items you throw in the cart along the way add up quick. Make a plan and stick to it.

Buy in Season

Fruit and vegetables are always cheaper in season. Nowadays, it’s easy for a grocer to order fruits and veggies out of season. They simply have the items shipped to the store from all over the world. If you think that charge is not passed onto you, you’ve got another thing coming. Brush up on what is seasonal in your area and only buy what you can get locally. It will be cheaper and you’ll be supporting local farmers. It’s a win-win!

Purchase in Bulk

Disclaimer: Bulk purchases are not always the best option. Do your homework first.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s talk about bulk purchases when they make sense. Items like potatoes and grains will be cheaper in bulk. They last a good while too. Non-perishable items are fantastic items to buy in bulk – when sales are available. The items don’t go bad, so it’s okay to pick up a whole case of tuna fish if the price is right. You may come home with all the canned tuna you’ll ever need, but savings over time will be worth getting creative with storage.

Stay Away From Convenience

Convenience items almost always come with a higher price tag. Pre-cut veggies, boneless chicken, and individually packaged items are among just a small portion of the convenience items. Sometimes it’s worth the extra money, but more often it really isn’t. You may be taking on some extra meal prep time, but your savings will be through the roof.

Freeze It!

The freezer should be your best friend. It’s especially handy for sale or bulk perishables. If there is a great sale on meat, it’s probably worth it to take advantage of the sale and freeze the extra meat you won’t get to right away. The freezer greatly increases the life of perishable items, so you’ll end up throwing out less and saving more. What’s better than that?

Store Veggies the Right Way

Odds are there’s at least one fruit or vegetable you’re storing the wrong way. For starters, you should not be storing fruits and veggies together. Most fruits give off a high volume of ethylene, which is a ripening agent. Storing veggies with fruit is the reason why your vegetables seem to spoil so quickly. Most people also incorrectly store tomatoes in the fridge. Tomatoes should be left out on the counter at room temperature to continue to ripen and develop flavor. Do some more homework to make sure all fruits and veggies are where they should be to increase their lifespan. There’s nothing worse than throwing out untouched, spoiled fruits and veggies.