During this trying economical time, many families are searching for ways to make their money stretch. For most families, a big monthly expense is the food bill. As a mother of two kids, on a budget, I am always looking for ways to save at the store. Everyone knows that money can be saved using coupons. Getting the savings though, takes a lot of time and effort. If the items you usually buy are hard to find coupons for, couponing may take too much effort to make it worth it. I have tried using coupons numerous times. I always seem to come to same conclusion, too much work, for too little savings. Here are few money saving tips I have picked up over my ten years as a mom. These tips will show you how you can save without having to resort to clipping coupons.
Meal Plan (Make a Menu): Set a certain day each week as your menu writing day. Get your family involved, and take suggestions on what everyone would like to eat that week. After you have made a menu, write out your grocery list based on the ingredients needed for those meals. In doing this, you will save, mainly because you are only buying what you will use. When you have a plan you tend to stick to what you should be buying instead of just going through the store haphazardly. Also as an added benefit meal planning will help out on those days that you don’t think about what to cook until 5:00, just look at the menu and you are set.
Stick to your list: Once you have your list -that consists only of what you need-stick to it. Doing this will require some getting used to. Most of us fall prey to impulse shopping while in the store. However, if you are diligent, you will see savings by doing this. Stay away from end cap displays, and checkout line purchases. These tend to be where the highest priced items are. If you make very detailed list, there should be no reason to deviate from your plan.
Go grocery shopping alone: I know there are times that shopping with our children or spouse just cant be avoided. However, if you can arrange it, going to the store alone will save you money. I have found I always spend more money when I have someone shopping with me. Think of how many times your children ask for those cookies, or crackers that you had not planned on buying. All those little purchases added up can make a big difference in the final cost of your trip to the store. Also, sometimes just trying to rush can result in bad decisions, or not looking closely at the prices of items. I always tend to be in much more of a hurry when I have children with me who are anxious to get home. So, all in all going alone to the store can save you some money.
Invest in a warehouse club membership: Spending the money for a family membership to a warehouse club will more than pay for itself. In using this form of store though you must be careful to mind your purchases. All the savings you might have obtained from the club, will disappear if you don’t pay attention to items you buy. For example, don’t buy 4lbs of strawberries if you wont eat them. If you throw away half of what you buy, it really isn’t saving you anything. Also, check the individual prices on items to make sure you are actually saving buying in bulk. If you buy a pack of 24 drinks for $8, but can get them elsewhere for $3 a 12 pack, that isn’t savings. The biggest area I am able to take advantage of my club membership is through purchasing meat. You can usually find meat at the warehouse club for a whole lot cheaper per pound than at a regular store. You can find many items that are a very good deal at a warehouse club. If you are careful to be aware of what you are spending, a warehouse membership can really be a good investment.
These few tips might not save you millions, but in this day in age every little bit helps. If you meal plane, stick to your list, shop alone, and use a warehouse membership you will soon see your grocery bill decrease.