The Best Ways To Save Money On Food And Groceries
According to Women’s Health, the average American spends nearly 10 percent of their annual income on food. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy ways to cut back on how much you’re spending on food and groceries every month.
You’re more likely to overspend on unplanned purchases at the store if you make small trips throughout the week. Instead, keep a list going and try to limit your grocery store trips. After all, splurging on an unnecessary item at the store each time you visit isn’t as bad if you’re only going once a week or once every other week.
Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. This will help you make fewer trips to the grocery store while also helping you avoid high-cost food alternatives, like going out to eat or ordering take-out.
Search For Savings
Clipping coupons can be a hassle, but fortunately there are countless websites devoted to making it easier. Just do a search for “grocery coupons” and you’ll find numerous sites which aggregate coupons from various stores. Find one that lets you choose your coupons and print them out before going to the store.
Think about which products you buy most often and visit the brand website for those items. In some cases, you can get great coupons for those products, and you can usually go back and get more coupons for future trips to the store.
Pick up a membership card at your local grocery store. These are often free and give you access to major savings. Plus, you can usually log on to the store website before shopping to check for sales or load coupons and discounts onto your card.
Shop at more than one store. If you really want to save, keep track of the sales and discounts at several nearby supermarkets and grocery stores.
Remember to shop for sales only on the products you really use. Don’t buy an item simply because it is on sale. Often, big name brand sale prices still don’t beat the off-brand price, so make sure to compare prices.
Organize your list so that you move from one end of the store to the other. By eliminating trips back and forth through the store, you’ll finish your shopping faster and avoid being tempted to buy other products.
Eat before you go grocery shopping. It may seem simple, but you really are more likely to overspend on groceries if you go into the supermarket hungry.
Find inexpensive ingredients and look for recipes you can make with those foods. For example, rice, beans and eggs are all fairly inexpensive ingredients that can still be very satisfying and filling.
Buy In Bulk
If a store with bulk products is located near you, consider signing up for a membership there. You make have to pay an annual fee, but if you have the pantry or freezer space at home to store the extra items, you can save much more than you spend over the course of a year.
Even if you are single or have a small family, buy enough to make big meals and then freeze the leftovers into portions. It will help you avoid constant trips to the store, and you’ll waste less than if you are trying to cook for just one or two people. As an added bonus, you’ll avoid the take-out trap by having convenient meals ready to go on a hectic day.
Unhealthy foods, such as frozen dinners or boxed meals, are often quite expensive. Cooking with ingredients is usually cheaper and will result in a larger meal as well. Instead of buying instant meals, look up simple recipes that are easy to make and involve a handful of ingredients.
Check out your local farmer’s market. Though some of the products may be more expensive, you can often get produce at great prices since you’re cutting out the middle man. Plus, you get to support local farmers and get fresher produce than you would find at the supermarket.
Consider growing your own food in a home garden. It’s healthy, fun and can really cut back on your expenses at the grocery store. Figure out which vegetables grow best in your garden then look for lots of recipes that you can make with those foods.
Other Frugal Tips
Obviously, eating out or ordering take-out will really start to add up if you do it regularly. Set a goal that helps you cut back on these expenses. For example, only go out to eat once a month instead of once a week.
If you work outside your home, bring your own lunch instead of going out to eat. In addition, consider stocking your desk with a few healthy snacks to avoid frequent trips to the vending machine.
Drink water. The amount we spend on soda, coffee and alcohol can be astounding high, so try to cut back on these drinks and drink water instead. Don’t fall into the trap of buying plastic water bottles either. Purchase a durable water bottle that you can wash and reuse over and over.
By using these tips, you can make serious reductions in your weekly grocery bill. It may take a little extra time to cook rather than head to the drive-through, but once you get into a rhythm of spending less, you’ll find that the benefits extend beyond a flush bank account to include healthier eating habits and better cooking skills.