Rachel asked us the following question:
“I’m seriously into saving more money these days, and one of my targets is to cut my groceries by half. If I can accomplish that every payday, wow! that’s additional money in the bank. Right now my food shopping eats about a quarter of my paycheck. I know we’re buying a lot of food stuff that my family can do without, but do you have any specific tricks to help me save more on groceries?” -Rachel
Food is important. That’s why, if you’re like me, you don’t feel too bad spending money on it. When I go to the mall and spend a lot of money on clothes, or if I spend too much of my monthly budget on beer, I feel guilty and usually regret those purchases afterwards. Yet, I rarely feel this way about food.
While it’s true that you shouldn’t feel too bad about the percentage of your budget that you spend on groceries every month there are some tricks that you should be aware of to bring down your monthly budget.
Check out these tips for saving money at the grocery store! I’ve been following these rules religiously for the past couple of months, and the drop in my grocery bill has helped significantly in saving for my summer vacation fund!
This is a somewhat slower way to get started on saving at the grocery store, but certainly a significant way. Pay attention to the prices of your favorite product every time you go to the grocery store. If you have a short term memory gaps, write down the prices. Over time you’ll start to notice a trend in sale prices and changes. Sometimes even when things are on sale they’re not nearly as cheap as they will be next week.
After you start to notice the fluctuations you’ll be able to pay closer attention to when prices are at the lowest. You’ll know when the price of your favorite pasta sauce has hit absolute rock bottom– and that’s when you pounce. Simply by keeping track of these fluctuating sale prices you can plan your schedule and budget accordingly for the best deals.
This is especially important for staple household products. Buy items when they are at their cheapest price, and save them in your home. This means that you’ll be buying foods that you probably won’t need at the very moment that you’re at the grocery store, but by saving this food for when you do need it you’ll be saving money. Buy your favorite cereals when they’re on sale, buy canned goods when they’re at their lowest, you can even buy meat and store it in a freezer if you have one.
Of course, this tip only works for foods that can be stored in your home for long periods of time. If lettuce is on sale and you know that you won’t be needing lettuce within the week then it’s not worth buying even when it’s dirt cheap.
Always go to the grocery store with a plan and a full stomach! One of the worst mistakes that you can make while you’re grocery shopping is to let your hungry urges run wild. If you don’t plan ahead, you could end up coming home with a cart full of food that you’ll never eat and an empty wallet.
Get even more organized before heading to the supermarket by planning out your week’s meals ahead of time. Write down all of the ingredients that you’ll need to successfully make a week’s meals and stick to that list unless, of course, you encounter some non-perishables that you can save for later (see tip #2).
Cutting dollars off of your grocery store may not seem like the most obvious place to start saving money because food is a necessary expense. But cutting dollars wherever you can will help you save money in surprising ways, and groceries are a great place to start.
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