by Sara Lundberg
In today’s economy, you will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t think they spend too much money on groceries. For many people it’s one of their top budget categories for their household. And for many it’s the one they feel they have the least amount of control over.
Whether you are just too busy to cook every night, so most of your budget goes to eating out, or you don’t take the time to shop for deals so you end up paying full price, everyone has room to makes changes to how they shop and eat to help cut out a portion of the food budget. There are many tricks and tips you can use to help your grocery bill get smaller. Some may work for you and some may not. Here are 10 tips to get started slashing your grocery bill:
1. Menu planning
Planning your menu in advance allows you to take your shopping list and locate the best deals on the items you need, instead of paying full price the day you need it. It can also save you money on gas as you normally can make less trips to the grocery store if you plan out meals at least a week in advance.
2. Buying in bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money at the grocery store. Learn how to properly store the excess and how long it will last in your pantry, fridge or freezer and plan accordingly.
3. Make a budget
Make a food budget and stick to it. It seems simple but so many people have a problem sticking to their projected dollar amount they have to spend at the grocery store. If you are running low toward the end of the month your last week of meals may have to be some of the less expensive ones on your list.
4. Don’t buy convenience foods
Don’t buy premade what you can easily make yourself. This is a tough one for people with not a lot of time on their hands, but you’ll find once you start doing it, it doesn’t feel like you are spending any extra time at all.
5. Buy generic
Buy generic when possible or a brand you don’t normally use if it’s on sale. Even though you have been brand loyal for years you may find there isn’t a lot of difference once you try another. If there is, go back to your favorite next time. But you will find many items you can substitute for.
6. Shop the clearance section
Don’t be afraid of the clearance or manager special items at the grocery store. Things like meat that have a short shelf life will go on clearance daily. But you can snag it up and use it that night or freeze it with no issues.
7. Shop around to get the best deals
Don’t shop at just one store. Know which stores have your basic products priced the lowest and plan trips to each throughout the month as needed. Also keep an eye on the weekly sale ads from each store to stock up on items you use a lot when on sale.
8. Use coupons
Using coupons is a great way to save a few extra dollars almost every time you go to the store. Find out where to find coupons for the items you use the most and pair them up with the next sale that comes up for even bigger savings.
9. Keep easy meals on hand
Keep a few easy meals on hand at home for nights when life just doesn’t allow time to make the meal you had planned. That will stop you from spending money going out to eat or ordering in. Making meals ahead of time and freezing them so you just have to pop them in the oven are great for this.
10. Don’t always buy fresh
Buy frozen or canned vegetables instead of fresh produce. Most people think fresh is the best way to go, but frozen and canned veggies are picked at their peak. In many cases it will save tons of time also to buy, for example, frozen diced onions instead of cutting one up yourself.
So now you know the best tips to lower your monthly grocery bill, figure out which will work for you and get started! Try to tackle one or two items to get started. You can add on more as you go. Before you know it you will have cut your grocery budget in half!
Sara Lundberg is the author of “Budget Savvy Diva’s Guide to Slashing Your Grocery Bill by 50% or More.” Visit her online at www.budgetsavvydiva.com.