Owner of MommyDaddyKids and mother of two, Meagan is passionate about her family and sharing real-life advice with everyday people.
How Can I Save Money on Groceries?
There are millions of people each year forced to live on strict budgets. In order to survive, they have to find places where they can save money. There are some things—like luxury items—that can be chopped from the budget. Food is not one of those dispensable things.
From the year 2000 to 2016, the amount of money spent on groceries per household has steadily increased. In 2016, it was estimated that each household was spending approximately $7,000 a year on food alone.
A walk through any grocery store will prove how expensive food has become. It can be hard to find enough money to feed just one, but most families are feeding multiple mouths. What can you do when you don't have enough money to buy groceries?
Luckily, there are some simple tricks that could help you find the extra couple of hundred dollars a month for groceries. Take a look below and start saving money today.
Never Go Into a Grocery Store Without a List
If you walk into a grocery store without a list, you better expect to spend significantly more than you needed to. Teams of people pour over extensive amounts of data just to determine the best way to make consumers spend more money while they are in the store. How can you compete with that? You make a grocery list.
If the thought of preparing a grocery list makes you groan in agony, you can keep a running one right on your refrigerator. When you notice something is low, add it to the list. If someone uses the rest of a food item, have them add it to the list. This will greatly reduce the amount of time you will need to spend making a list from scratch.
Plan Daily Meals
Making a grocery list is a daunting task when you have no idea what you need. Planning a menu ahead of time can help with that. Once you decide what meals you want to have all week, you can figure out what items you need to make those meals.
You don't have to follow a weekly menu to the letter. If there is a night that you don't feel like cooking, but the menu calls for a complicated dinner, just swap days.
The purpose of the menu is to help stick to a grocery list. It's not supposed to add more stress to your already hectic life.
Another wonderful thing about a menu plan is leftovers. The amount of money that can be saved by simply eating leftovers is amazing. When you make food items from one meal stretch into another meal, you are cutting the food needed for the month almost in half.
A quick Internet search reveals thousands of recipes that can be transformed into another meal the following day. For example: if you have roasted chicken one night, you could make chicken salad the next day.
Planning two meals from food items is easy, and it cuts a big chunk out of the grocery bill.
You know those racks of flyers you walk by at the front of each grocery store? They have a purpose besides starting a fire. Those flyers hold the key to saving money.
Plan your meals around what's on sale that week. If chicken is on sale, plan meals that include chicken. If they are having a big produce sale, plan a vegetable soup or casserole.
When you're having trouble thinking of different meals that include the sale items, hop on recipes.com. You can search for recipes by ingredient. Plug in a couple of the sale items and watch the menu unfold.
This idea is said with larger families in mind, but there's no reason single folks can't take advantage of it as well. When something is on sale for a really unbeatable price, buy more of it for later. Especially if it is a staple item.
Many things can be frozen or stored for months without going bad. It might seem like you're defeating the point. I mean, we are supposed to be saving money not spending more, but you will save money in the long run.
Stores are set up in a way that ensures they always come out on top of the profit game. When you believe you're getting a deal, the chances are good you're still paying for it somewhere else. Shopping around and comparing the prices of multiple grocery stores will help you get the best price on everything — not just some things.
Don't Shop Hungry
Walking into a store full of delicious food while you're hungry is financial suicide. You'll end up buying a ton of junk you didn't need and ignore the items you did.
The best time to go shopping is after a meal while you're still feeling full. You'll be less interested in snacking, and won't feel the need to buy items that would satisfy your hunger quickly.
Enroll in Saving Clubs
Many of the top named grocery chains are joining the technological age and have apps available to their customers. It's a good idea to download multiple apps and browse through them each week to ensure you don't miss a great deal.
Some stores offer free items weekly/monthly for loyal customers. Others use a point system where a customer can earn points for each dollar they spend and can redeem the points for money off their bill. Almost all of them offer coupons that can be clipped and stored in your profile.
I know, the thought of carefully sorting through papers, delicately clipping each coupon, storing piles of them in the bottom of your purse, and riffling through them at the register does not sound worth the couple of dollars you might save. It really can be though.
In fact, some people take couponing to the extreme. These dedicated coupon-ers can walk out of a store with a cart full of groceries and money the grocery store owed them. Insane right?
You don't have to go to that extreme to save a large chunk of money. If you have a smart phone, or tablet, you can even register for couponing sites that allow you to clip and save coupons for easy use at the store.