How to reduce grocery bills
With the economy as it is these days, more and more people are looking for ways to cut their monthly expenses. One place that we can easily reduce spending is at the grocery store. As a mother of five young men, I have always looked for ways to reduce the cost of their endless appetites. Like many mothers I don’t have the time to spend endless hours searching for and clipping large amounts of coupons. Saving money at the grocery store can be accomplished with or without coupon clipping. Below are some useful tips that I have discovered along the way.
Plan your meals for the week ahead of time. Search the current sale ads and design your meals around what is on sale for the week. Search your pantry before you leave for the store for those items that you already have. This will eliminate unnecessarily buying items that you don’t need.
Consider joining websites that will assist you in designing your meal plans and with creating your shopping list. One of my favorites is Hotby6. This site has lots of recipes that are kid tested and approved. You pick what recipes you want and it will create your shopping list for you. The idea behind this website is that you purchase and prepare everything ahead of time, so on the day you are planning it for dinner all you need to do is toss it in the oven. This concept is even more fun when you include a couple of girlfriends and you all work together. There is a nominal monthly fee for this service but it is worth every penny with all the time and money you will save.
Eat before you go shopping. It has been proven that you spend more money at the grocery store buying impulse items and snack food when you shop hungry. Along those same lines, shop alone if at all possible. This will help you stick to your list and maintain your budget if you don’t have others adding items to your cart.
Buy the Sunday paper and clip out the coupons that you will use. Pay attention to stores that offer extra savings by doubling or even tripling your coupon’s value.
Buy in bulk. Most stores today offer a wide variety of items that you can purchase in bulk for less than the prepackaged products. I have found that buying items likes spices, rice, pasta, cereal and assorted baking items in bulk can save you quite a bit over the course of the month. In addition, you can purchase family pack sizes of meats, divide them up when you get home and put them in your freezer.
Whenever possible purchase fresh produce instead of buying canned or frozen, especially when it is in season. Consider shopping at your local farmer’s markets. Not only will you save money, you will be eating healthier. Prepackaged salad mixes may be quick and easy to fix but can cost you more in the end. Buy your salad items separately and make it yourself. It takes a little more effort but the reward is you get more for your dollar.
When you see items that you use regularly and they are on sale, stock up on them (within reason). It may cost a little more for the week but over the course of the month you will come out ahead.
Search the Internet for coupon saving websites. There are many out there that offer free coupons. Some will even clip and mail your selected coupons right to your door for a nominal fee. A couple of my favorites are:
Don’t just shop at one store. Expand your options when it comes to saving money. It is more convenient to do one stop shopping but you will spend more. Shop the ads, find a local grocery outlet store or a "dollar store" in your area. You can save a lot of money especially on cleaning and toiletry products at these stores.
With a little advance planning and some practice you will soon discover that your monthly grocery bill will go down, starting with your very first trip to the store. Remember to be creative and have fun!