For most people, the biggest reoccurring expense of the week is food. When you are trying to stick to a budget and reduce your spending you tend to lay off eating out and try to cook more at home. But your grocery bill can get very expensive very quickly. So, in order to help you save money on groceries, here are a few tips.
SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES WITH/BY:
When one starts thinking of ways to save money on groceries, coupons invariably come to mind first. Coupons can be given by the store or the brand and can save you small amounts here and there. Now, of course, most of us have heard of extreme couponing where people get hundreds of dollars’ worth of groceries for practically free. However, I will caution you that this practice takes a lot of time to plan and, usually, the items you are buying are not necessarily item you need or want. But, if you find coupons for things you are already buying, clip them out and use them. You may not be able to retire on the savings, but even small amounts can be impactful in the long run.
Most grocery stores have a circular they send out every week and keep in the front of the store. Make sure you are on your grocery store’s e-mail list or go by and grab one while you are out one day. The circular will show you what is on sale that week at the store. If you get one before you make grocery list, you can meal plan around the sales and cut your spending quite a bit. A lot of meat goes on sale each week in order to make room for the fresh meat coming in. Same for some produce. If you know that pork chops will be on sale this week, then you can plan some of your meals around pork chops rather than spending more for another kind of meat.
DROP THE NAME BRAND
If you really want to save money, drop the name brand groceries. Name brand items can cost almost double what store brand costs. And store brand items are, many times, made by the same company that makes the name brand item meaning you are paying double for the exact same product. While there are a few exceptions that I have found where the name brand does actually seem better, these are the exception and not the rule. Especially items that you will be using for cooking or that will be mixed into other foods and not eaten alone. Even if these did have a slightly different taste or quality, you wouldn’t be able to tell since they are mixed with other ingredients.
PRICE COMPARISON SHOPPING
Now, if you are like me, you probably don’t want to go to multiple stores for your groceries each week. However, if you want to save money, it may be beneficial to do so. I tend to shop at two stores. Although, this is more about quality than saving money. I get most of my items from Walmart as their prices have been the cheapest. I then go to Publix for some of my meat and produce as I like the quality better. However, I do try to buy items according to which store is cheaper. I order my groceries ahead of time at Walmart in order to save time and so I don’t have to go into multiple stores with a toddler. A lot of stores offer this now so it can be a easier to shop based on pricing than it used to be.
BUY IN BULK
Buying in bulk can save you quite a bit over time. You will feel like it is costing more when you first buy them but then you’ll realize that you are not having to buy those same things as often. This works really well with household items like paper towels and toilet paper and food items with a long shelf life or that can be frozen like meat. It can be especially cost effective to buy meat in bulk and freeze it in individual or family size portions.
Finally, meal planning can help you stick to a grocery list and not overbuy things you don’t need. My grocery bill went down when I started to plan our meals out for the week. Further, if you plan weekly meals around a few similar ingredients, you can save even more. If every meal involves the same spices, meat, etc., then you don’t have to buy as much for the week. As I mentioned above, you can save money by buying meat in bulk so you could have a week that revolves around different types of pork chop recipes or the more versatile ground beef. If corn is on sale that week, create a plan that involves corn as your vegetable for most meals that week. You get the idea.
PLAN PLAN PLAN
Any one of these tips can help save you money on groceries. But, in order to really save, a combination of the above will do the trick. All it takes is a little planning each week but, fortunately, most of that planning is probably already being done in one way or another so it shouldn’t add too much extra time.