Everything is getting more expensive today. From gas to groceries, our hard-earned dollars are challenged to stretch further. Now, we may be able to ride a bicycle around town if we can’t put gas in our cars. But, we have to eat. There’s no getting around that. So, we have to find ways to spend less on groceries while still getting the things that we need to feed ourselves and our families. Here are six money saving tips to try the next time you go grocery shopping.
1. Clip coupons. They put those in the newspaper for a reason. If there are new items you want to try, use a coupon to get it at a discount. If you like it, you have saved some money. On the other hand, if you don’t take a liking to it, you didn’t pay full price. For me, coupons save an average of ten or more dollars per visit. That’s money in my pocket that I can put towards gas for the car. For some great coupons visit my friend Lauren’s site Mom’s Budget Plan.
2. Buy more staples than prepared foods. It is easier to buy a box of macaroni and cheese, but is it more economical? A large box of macaroni and a block of cheese will make more servings for your family than one box of prepared macaroni and cheese. The next time you go shopping and pick up a box or bag of an already prepared item, ask yourself if you can make that at home for less. If you can, then put that item back in favor of less expensive staples.
Obviously this is a poor example because it’s not the healthiest option either. But look towards how you make gravy, stuffing, rice, and even your mixed seasonings. There are usually no reason to buy one of those packages of seasonings at the store, you can make all of them with supplies in your cupboard already.
3. Buy in bulk. Consider the food items that you use most often. Cereals, meats, vegetables, condiments, juices, and paper products can be bought in bulk usually at a lower price at food warehouses like Costco, BJ’s, and Wal-Mart. If you have a coupon, you’ll save even more money. Again, we’ve stepped away from this step. We were Costco freaks for so many years (too many reasons why) but now we shop and are aware of all the sales going on. The box stores are not cheaper or even close to cheaper. They are looking for that cost leader to bring you in and then you shop the rest of your stuff knowing it’s close in price.
4. Don’t shop when you are hungry. This is a definite no-no. Shopping on an empty stomach means that you will pick up more things than you need. You are more likely to pick up that bag of chocolate chip cookies or that box of donuts when the growling gets underway.
5. Take a grocery list with you. This is another protection against picking up things that are too costly. Check your cabinets and the fridge to see what you need and write them down. Remember, the goal is to stick to the list as much as possible. If I shop without a grocery list it’s budget suicide for me.
6. Shop at the same stores. This is more of a frustration reliever. In a new store, you spend most of your time looking for things and walking up and down every aisle, which often times leads to forgetting an item or two. Going to the same store each time makes you more familiar with the prices so you can estimate your bill as you write your grocery list. You’ll also spend less time there as you can write up your shopping list to where items are located.
Rising prices don’t have to mean a lean dinner table. There are ways to make your food dollar go further and if you take the time to implement the ideas listed above as well as others of your own, you’ll see savings each and every time you shop. Remember that planning your menus will save you a lot of time and money.
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
Please be aware that some links used are to affiliates. They are almost always to products I use and love.