10 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

 

On the first paycheck in January, we all found our household income reduced by quite a bit. The end of the payroll tax cut has affected paychecks for everyone. It’s impossible not to feel the crunch when you see such a big bite out of your income. It is necessary to find ways to reduce costs in other areas in order to make up some of that difference. The grocery bill is one way to save a few dollars and feel the pain a little less. Here are 10 ways that I found to save money in the grocery store.

1. Plan a menu and make a list

I’ve always found it useful to make a list before I head to the grocery store. It helps me to remember to pick up everything that I need. Planning a menu for the week helps me to make my list more useful. As you plan your menu, mark each item that you need for each meal. Being prepared eliminates last minute trips to the store for forgotten items.

2. Shop sales papers

Use the weekly sales papers that the grocery stores put out to help in planning your shopping trip. These sales can sometimes add up to great savings for you, but you must be smart about the trips. Spending your day driving from store to store in order to take advantage of each one’s sales will end up costing you more when you consider the gas involved and your time. Combine your errands so that you are near a particular store in order to stop in at it for the sales item. Stopping by a store on your way home from the gym is a good example.

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3. Use coupons wisely

Coupons can save a bit of money when used properly. If you buy something that you wouldn’t normally buy, just because you have a coupon, it would defeat your purpose. Sometimes you might see a coupon for a name brand item that you would normally buy the generic version of. If the coupon brings the price down to the amount of the generic form or less, then it is a good idea to use it. Be sure to compare the prices carefully.

4. Buy Generic

Some items can easily be purchased in generic form to save money. It takes some sampling to learn which items you are willing to buy generic of. Some over the counter medications are perfectly fine in the generic form. Some foods taste just as good as the name brands. Other things are not quite so easily replaced with generic. Try the generic form of something one time, and if you find you are content with it, then that’s an item that you can save some money on.

5. Saving on your meats

In recent years, the cost of beef has sky-rocketed. It saves money on your grocery bill if you limit the amount of beef that you consume and eat more chicken and fish. Pork is also a good alternative. Reducing the amount of red meat that you eat will not only improve your budget, but also your health.

6. Make meals that use less meat

There are many meal ideas that use little or no meat, and that are just as satisfying. Explore cookbooks and the internet to find recipes that appeal to you. Some examples would be a stir fry, or stews and soups. A chef salad with chicken added is also a satisfying meal without using much meat. Use your left-overs to save even more. Use this article on how to re-heat any left-over meat to avoid drying it out.

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7. Buy Bulk

Items that you use regularly can be purchased in bulk, and save you money that way. Compare the price that each item would cost you individually and you will see how much you will save. If you have space for storage, buying from a club pack store would help.

8. Don’t buy prepackaged meals

The frozen section of the grocery store is your worst enemy when you are trying to save money. Those meals that you just pop into the microwave or the oven may be easy, but they are a big unnecessary expense. The disadvantages to your health are also a concern with these. Eating healthy will actually save you money. Avoid these prepackaged foods and buy more fresh fruits and vegetables. Buy fruits in season to save money on your produce.

9. Non-food items

There are many non-food items that we add to our grocery bill. Soaps, shampoo, deodorant, laundry items, lotions, and cleaning supplies are a large part of the grocery budget. Buy these items from a department store and save a little money that way. Evaluate each purchase and compare prices. Perhaps you can use a less expensive brand, or maybe even a generic form.

10. Impulse buys

Impulse buys add much to the grocery expense. If you planned your menu carefully, and wrote your list accordingly, then say no to impulse. You don’t really need that candy bar at the register. Stick to your list and avoid the impulses and you will be amazed at how much you will save.

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Sources

http://www.oprah.com/money/How-to-Save-Money-on-Groceries

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