For families trying to save money, one place to target is the grocery bill. This doesn’t mean buying less food, but rather to shop smarter. TLC’s reality show Extreme Couponing made popular the concept of using coupons to pay almost nothing at the grocery store. Though this is one way to save money, these extreme couponers spend equivalent to a full time job to strategize their haul. Who has that time?
For the average person, it’s the little things you do that can add up to saved dollars. Here are tips to save money on your grocery bill that are both practical and easy to implement.
Stock Up on Meats When On Sale – Meats tend to be higher cost items on grocery bills. When they go on sale, purchase in bulk and freeze the extras.
Check the Circular – If there are items that you use often or know you’ll always need (sugar, flour, etc.), purchase more than one when on sale and store. Circulars also sometimes print coupons, like “Get $5 off your purchase of $20 or more”. Some retailers even offer discount days for senior citizens or veterans.
Use Coupons – Though getting $1 or less off of an item may seem small, it all adds up. This is especially true if you use the coupon when the item is already on sale. Manufacturers often time coupon distribution with sales promotions at stores. If you don’t get coupons through the Sunday newspaper, try going online to the manufacturer’s website or sites like coupons.com or smartsource.com. And Verified Coupons is the only coupon & deals site to offer 100% verified coupons and they even have a section dedicated to 50 percent off deals that are updated every 10 minutes.
Make a Grocery List and Stick to It – If you have a list, you’ll be less likely to stray. Just make sure you stick to it and avoid impulse purchases. Don’t shop when you’re hungry or you may end up buying more than you planned.
Ask If You Really Need It Now – For items on your grocery list, ask yourself, ‘Do I need this right now or can I wait until it goes on sale?” Many items eventually go on sale. But if you really can’t wait, then try this next one…
Buy Generic – Nowadays the quality of generic brands is often on par with national brands. You can save a lot of money by forgoing the fancy packaging and marketing. If in doubt, compare ingredients between the generic and national brands to see if they’re similar.
Buy Foods in Season – Foods that are in season are more plentiful, therefore their prices tend to be lower. As a bonus these items are also likely fresher and may be locally grown.
Don’t Buy Prepared Foods – Unless you absolutely need to, don’t buy prepared foods like items that are pre-sliced or pre-season. You’re paying a premium for these.
Shop in Your Own Cabinets – There may be a lot of food already in your pantry, freezer and refrigerator that you’ve forgotten about. Shop in your own cabinets and use what you have instead of buying new items.
Plan Your Meals with Ingredients on Hand – Instead of using a recipe where requiring you to buy all new ingredients, find recipes that use what you already have. The internet is a great resource for recipes. For example, if you have tomatoes and ground beef in your refrigerator, search for “tomato and ground beef” recipes.
Use Leftovers – Don’t waste food; instead use leftovers. Eat leftovers as is or use in another dish. For example, use leftover chicken the next day in a salad, casserole or sandwich. You can also save a lot of money by cooking in bulk over the weekend and then using the leftovers through out the week instead of buying meals.
Buy in Bulk – Whether you buy in bulk at the grocery store or at wholesale clubs like BJs, Costco, or Sam’s Club, purchasing larger quantities will lower the per unit cost.
Implementing these practical and easy-to-do tips will help to cut your grocery bill.
If you have your own tips, please share in the comments.