Remember the days when you could buy a loaf of bread for $0.25 and a carton of milk for $0.10? No? maybe that was ancient history to you, but the truth is, the cost of groceries have skyrocketed to new levels. Very rarely can you come out of the grocery store without spending more than $100.00 and you were only shopping for 2 people. Well, there are quite a few things you can do to save tons of money each year on groceries.
Make a list of items as you begin to run low on them. Don’t let yourself run out of any necessities. Keep your running list nearby so that you can add to it when you remember something that you need. Plan your meals for the week and add to the list before you go shopping and then buy what’s on the menu. Start with planning for 3 or 4 days if all week seems too much. Think about the portions needed for the family and buy about 10% more than you estimated.
Eat Before You Go Shopping:
Eat before you go shopping. This will help you to control ‘impulse buying’. Clean out your fridge and cupboards once a month. Use up what you bought before buying more. Organize your food storage cupboards and drawers. If you don’t know what you have or can’t find what you bought, you’ll end up buying more of the same unnecessarily. Use the older packages before the new stuff. If you stock up, watch expiry dates and package the food to preserve it as long as needed.
Go online and compare prices on non-perishables. Look for stores that offer ‘free shipping’. Check out online discount sites such as Greatdealscity.com to compare prices and get the best deal. Amazon.com is a strong competitor of Walmart’s and is well worth checking it out.
If you don’t know how to cook, take a class at the local community center. It will pay off itself many times over. Don’t buy juice, soda or water. Drink filtered water. Buy a PUR filter with jug (around $20) it will pay for itself many times over. Make iced tea by the gallon. You can get a box of 100 teabags for $1.00 at the dollar store. Buy only enough milk for cereal and buy oatmeal instead of boxed cereal. It is not only healthier, but also cheaper.
Bake Your own deserts:
Buy baking supplies and bake your own cookies and cakes and pancakes and waffles. You could make baking a family project that the whole family could enjoy. Don’t buy lunch meat buy a half ham instead. Bake it and slice it into portions that you can freeze. Tuna fish or left-over turkey and chicken are great for sandwiches. Shop at the local farmers market. You can get 1 day buy fresh fruits and vegetables at great prices while helping out your neighbor.
Fresh Produce VS Frozen:
If fresh produce is still out of your budget, frozen or canned fruit and vegetables are just as healthy and cost effective. Check your fridge every few days to use leftovers or to freeze them. When cooking meats set aside some small pieces, and when deboning the meat leave some flesh on the bone.
Freeze Leftovers For Tomorrow’s Lunch:
Freeze the meat pieces and bones and just add some vegetables to make a delicious soup once a week. Buy pasta beans and lentils on sale to add to your meals. Buy dried beans and peas. They are cheaper than fresh or frozen, and you can soak them overnight when you are ready to use them. Keep onions garlic potatoes brown rice and spices on hand for your meals. Eggs are great for breakfast and dinner dishes with that ham you bought on sale. Buy canned tomato sauce rather than made up spaghetti sauce and add spices and sugar to taste. Pack simple lunches for your children if school lunches aren’t free for you. A sandwich a piece of fruit and a cookie that they baked is a healthy inexpensive meal.
When you get to the store, buy only the items on your list. One popular marketing practice is to place the more expensive items at eye level. Cheaper items are placed on the lowest shelves. So when you find the product you are looking for, check the prices on the lower shelves first. Also, buy only the items that are on your list. Look for BOGO items (buy one –get one) and stock up on non-perishables such as toilet paper and laundry detergent and toiletries. Shop with a calculator and add things up as you put them in your cart. If you’re shopping with kids, give them the job to tally what’s in the cart. It will help you stick to your spending plan. Buy non–food grocery items like detergent or garbage bags at a discount store.
Shop Around For Best Deals:
Price check and shop around for discounts on items you buy regularly. Use store and manufacturer coupons when you can. Consider using one of these grocery apps on either a smartphone or tablet. Save money on groceries with coupons and discounts. Don’t automatically overlook generic or store brands. Many are made by the brand name companies, just with a different label.
Keep your receipts and once a month, add them up and check how much you have spent on groceries. Realistically you should not spend more than 15% of your income on food. Also, look at the items that you bought. Could you cut your budget even lower? This is a good question to ask yourself. Answer yourself honestly. Put the money you saved in a savings account. You will be amazed how quickly it will grow. This could be your ‘rainy day’ stash – emergency money for when you need something in a hurry. Or, you can just let it grow! Happy shopping!
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