Your food budget is something that can easily get out of control in no time. When you go shopping, everything is designed to work against you saving money. Retailers are smart and if you think that they do anything by accident, you are wrong. Luckily, you can combat their tricks and save big on your home grocery bill. Here are some Tips From Tina that can help you save money on your food budget.
The number one thing that you can do to save money on groceries is to plan out your meals. Most people go to the store without a list or even an idea of the food that they will serve over the course of the week.
Be smarter than that by planning the meals that you will be making. You can then buy exactly the ingredients that you need. This will lead to less wasted money on ingredients that you do not need. It will also lead to less food waste in general which is a huge problem in this country. Americans lead the world in food waste, wasting as much as 150,000 tons of food per day according to The Guardian.
Make A List
This brings me to my next tip, make a list. This works in two ways.
First, it let’s you buy just the things that you need. It goes hand in hand with meal panning in that regard. When you have a list, it keeps you from straying and having to guess what you need to buy.
A second way it helps you is by preventing you from forgetting items. Think about what happens when you forget to buy something. It means that you will have to go back to the store later to get it. This is another chance for retailers to work their magic and get you to buy things you do not need.
Retailers are begrudgingly succumbing to our laziness. A lot of big words their but basically, they are letting us be lazy and shop online. Online shopping has taken off and it is incredibly easy. Just order your food online and they will bring it to your car when you arrive.
This is horrible for retailers but great for you. Not only is it convenient but it could allow you to save a lot of money. When you shop online, you are not subject to the same level of merchandising that you are at the store. Sure they can suggest that you add things to your cart but you do not have to pass by busy end caps or check out lines stocked with toys and candy.
Use online shopping as a cost cutting tool by ordering just what you need and nothing more. I estimate that I save 10 percent or more by shopping online over in person, especially when I take kids shopping. On an average shopping trip in person, it is easy to get $10 to $20 of things that are just not needed. On a 200 dollar or less shopping trip, that is a good chunk of the budget. Online, cookies are not as tempting nor is that snickers bar, ummm nougat.
Shop The Door Busters
Every week, grocery stores put something on sale to get you to come in. This is more typical of the grocery only stores. Stores like Walmart tend to be more consistent with their pricing, offering overall generally better prices on staples.
Where the grocery only stores shine is on door busters like meat. Almost every week, they pick a different meat and heavily discount it. It could easily be 25% to 50% or more off what it would cost at Walmart. When they do this, I stock up, buying as much as I can conceive using in the next month or so. I of course, have a deep freezer, and you should too.
The trick to making this work is to avoid the trap of buying extra items. Complementary items are almost never on sale as well. For example, they may put hot dog buns on sale but not the hotdogs. Buy just what is on sale.
Add Cheap Staples
There are staples that you can use that are super cheap and can make dozens of different meals. The big ones are white rice, pinto beans(dry) and potatoes. With those three ingredients, you have the basis for dozens of different meals and they cost just pennies a serving.
The trick is to buy them in bulk. Rice and beans can be found in huge bags at the warehouse store. You will have to buy dry beans and make them from scratch but it is not that hard, it just takes a little more time. They will taste better too. Potatoes can also be bought in bulk although they do not last as long as the other ingredients. Keep them in a cool, dry location away from the sun. Only buy what you can reasonably use in 7 to 10 days to prevent waste.
Coupons are one of the most neglected ways to save money. If you want to take your food savings to the next level though, you should make them a part of your routine. Depending on the size of your family, you could save hundreds. Look in the paper and also go directly to the manufacturers website to get them. Sign up for their email lists and get them sent directly to you.
Using coupons has also become much easier these days with self checkout. You don’t have somebody tapping their foot behind you when you pull out that stack of coupons. In addition, you also have electronic coupons that you can take advantage of. These are usually from grocers that have savings cards. Sign up for and download their apps and the savings will be tied to your card in most cases.
Join A Warehouse Club
No matter what size your family is, you can probably save big with a warehouse club.
The idea of buying in bulk might not be appealing but If you have a large family, you could easily save $400 or more in just a matter of months. That makes it well worth the average $50 yearly fee.
Besides the grocery savings, you also have to consider all the other perks of a warehouse club. Cheaper tires, deals on vacations and sometimes rebates on new cars.