Did you know the average family of 4 spends between $722 and $1107 per month on groceries? Yikes! That’s a lot of money, but your grocery bill is actually one of the easiest places to save a few bucks. Here are some simple ways to save on your family’s grocery expenses.
1. Plan Meals
Yeah, this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear, but planning meals is one of the best ways to save money. Why? Because you’re not running to the store for deli takeout or prepared foods at the last minute. Plus, when you plan meals you have a dedicated list when you go to the store — instead of just buying whatever strikes your fancy. $5 Meal Plan is a handy tool to help you plan ahead.
2. Use Coupons & Weekly Ads
When you receive coupons in the newspaper or get the weekly ads from local grocers, use those to plan your meals. Find the best deals on foods you like, and plan dinners accordingly. Just beware that not every item featured is a great deal, so you’ll want to do a little comparison shopping.
3. Buy Seasonal Produce
By sticking with fresh fruits and veggies that are in season where you live, you’ll avoid the up-charges that come from shipping stuff in from Timbuktoo. If you’re into canning or freezing, use the lower seasonal prices to stock up and preserve for winter. When you do buy out-of-season, frozen fruits and veggies are usually cheaper.
4. Use Pantry Items
With a selection of pantry staples, you might be surprised at the kinds of meals you can plan — especially if you maintain a stocked freezer with meats. Even at the last minute, you can whip up a tasty dinner.
5. Stock Up on Sale Items
Find pasta for 69 cents? Jars of spaghetti sauce or tuna on a case lot sale? While stocking up now might cost a little more this week, it’ll save you over the long haul, because you’ll save yourself from buying the same stuff at higher prices a month later. And as far as bulk buying goes, it’s a great idea…but keep in mind the warehouse stores aren’t always a great deal. Do a price check before buying.
6. Shop Alone
If you pride yourself on your willpower, go to the store alone — just not when you’re hungry. When I take the kids or even my husband along, I tend to spend more because they make “suggestions.” To save money, go by yourself and stick to your list.
7. Don’t Let Leftovers Lie
You’ll have to plan fewer meals if you plan leftover nights. Either make enough for two meals for your family, eat leftovers for lunch, or plan a leftover smorgasbord once a week, where everyone chooses what they want from the fridge. There are even ways to repurpose “boring” leftovers into different meals on following nights.
8. Eat Breakfast for Dinner
If you didn’t plan well this week, or something in the kitchen didn’t go as it should have (oops), you can usually have breakfast for dinner. Keep pancake mix and syrup in your pantry, and buy eggs before you think you need them. As long as you have those things on hand, you can call it a breakfast night. And more than likely, nobody will complain. Plus, it’s super cheap!
9. Rice, Beans, Potatoes, and Pasta
These 4 things are super cheap. Pair them with a little protein, veggies, and pantry staples or canned goods (think spaghetti or a baked potato bar) for a filling meal that only costs a few bucks. One of my kids’ favorite meals (especially when camping) is “Spaghettio Hash.” A few cans of Spaghettios and a pound of ground beef…voila!
10. Use a Cash Budget
When you budget for the month (you do plan a budget, right?), decide how much you’ll send on groceries and keep that cash in an envelope. Only take the money with you when you go grocery shopping. Using cash helps you think before you spend.
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