Within the economic recession, budgets are tight for nearly everyone, but with a little time, planning, smart decision-making and organization, the amount of money you spend on your grocery bill can seriously deplete, and here’s how.
1. Fill the Pantry
Write a list of essential household items and have that list on hand as you shop. It may include basics such as toilet paper, pasta, flour, soups and any other common items that will, over time, always get used. Even if you already have plenty of a given product in stock at home, it never hurts to bulk up on certain items when the sale’s price is right.
2. Organize Meals
Before you do your grocery shopping for the week, take the time to plan a menu of your daily meals. Based on that menu, generate a shopping list of your specific weekly needs in order to decrease the likelihood of buying splurge items. Don’t be afraid to freeze leftovers and use them for meals the following week.
3. Study Sales Fliers
By researching the sales within the weekly fliers of all supermarkets within your area, you can find and compare the best prices for the items on your lists of both essentials and weekly needs. For example, Friendly’s ice cream may be on sale for $4.99 at Stop’n’Shop the same week that the Big Y is promoting it as buy one, get one free. Although seeking out the best sales may eliminate the convenience of one-stop shopping, the extra time spent making multiple stops can truly benefit the amount of money left in your wallet.
4. Cut Coupons
Cutting coupons may seem like just another chore, but when every dollar counts, it’s well worth the effort. Coupons can be found easily on the official websites of name brand products as well as in both newspapers and supermarket fliers.
5. Eliminate Pre-made Foods
Although it’s convenient to pick up a fully-cooked rotisserie chicken on the way home from a long day’s work, you are not only paying more to have a food service clerk do the job of preparing your meal, but you are also stuck paying taxes on such items. Similarly, limiting the number of times you eat out at a restaurant each month can save a significant amount of money.
6. Buy in Bulk
Purchasing food in bulk at stores such as Costco will reduce your overall monthly food bill, for the larger the quantity of your purchase, the cheaper the cost you pay per unit. The only precaution with bulk purchases is to make sure that you have enough storage space for all the product.
7. Purchase Seasonal Produce
The key to purchasing produce all depends on the season. In New England, you’ll be confronted with outrageous prices on berries and citrus fruits in the winter months simply because they are out of season. Make your produce choices based on the vegetables and fruits currently available in your area. If certain must-have items are not in season, consider canned or frozen fruits and vegetables as an affordable alternative.
8. Try Different Products
Even though its convenient to grab some paper towels or a disposable sanitizing wipe, taking the extra few minutes to use a spray bottle disinfectant and sponge will not only produce the same results but will also save you money. After all, a sponge can be used multiple times; disposable products can not. Similarly, don’t be afraid to try store brand products instead of name brands such as Kellogg’s or Coca-Cola. Since the ingredients are comparable with most of these items, the only real difference is the cost.