Knocking $200 off our monthly food bill could mean the difference in the type of car we drive, how much we can safe for our children's future or where we go on vacation.
Making a few basic changes to how we approach shopping for food can make a big difference in how much we spend. The following tips are designed to simplify the process of saving money on groceries.
Planning - The Key to Saving on Food
An important thing to remember about lowering our food bills is to plan meals before going into the store. Dedicating time to grocery shopping and meal planning will cut our spending by up to 50 percent, if we stick to our list. Impulse-buying is the thrifty shopper's enemy, so we should try to avoid picking up items that are not on our list.
How Much Do We Really Spend?
It is hard to plan on saving money on something when we really do not know how much we are spending. One easy method to determine how much money is going towards groceries each month is to put all of the grocery receipts in one envelope for a month and add it up.
Analyze the Spending
How much are you spending on just food? Remove the cost of toiletries and miscellaneous items to really find the answer. Hint - Be seated when you add it up. The total can be staggering.
Eat Before You Shop
It has been proven that going to the grocery store hungry can increases our food bills by up to 15 percent. This is due to impulse-buying.
All too often we leave work, tired and hungry, and stop at the grocery store to pick up something for dinner. This leaves us wide open to temptation and we end up coming home with food we really do not need.
Play it safe and fill up yourself before you fill up your grocery cart.
Avoid Shopping in Convenince Stores
Convenience stores thrive on the principle that our quick trip in for a cheap coke will result in us making a purchase of at least two other items. Those two items will most likely be marked up by 60 percent or higher over grocery store prices.
Good rule to follow - If you do want a coke or a quick cup of coffee, bring in only the exact or near to exact change to help control the impulse to buy that Twinkie!
Do Not Buy Toiletries at Grocery Stores
Grocery stores generally mark up toiletries 25 percent or higher, compared to discounted drug stores. It is worth a quick trip into Wal-Mart or your favorite discount drug store to stock up on your toiletry needs. Plus many national drug stores offer great customer loyalty programs which include rebate checks and savings for future purchases.
Become a Spicy Mixologist
Food items that include added sugars, spices and sauces are often up to 50 percent higher in price, compared to buying the basics and doing it yourself. Sugar-coated cereals and seasoned frozen dinner mixes are a good example.
Plan your meals in advance to avoid the temptation to buy expensive frozen and pre-mixed seasoned meals.
Concentrated Juice Offers Big Savings
Most cartons of juice offer the buyer the opportunity to spend up to 60 percent more compared to the cost of purchasing the frozen concentrated equivalent. That is quite a big difference for the same amount of product.
Don't Be Shy About Shopping the Discount Baskets
Often times you can find food products that manufactures want to clear off the shelves to make room for the newly designed packages of the same product. Browsing the sale baskets in the stores is an excellent way to stretch your spending.
Shop Store Brands and Generic Products
A super large can of store-brand spaghetti sauce is a perfect example of saving through store-brand buying. You can break it down into reasonable proportions and freeze it for later. Not only do you increase you spending power, but you save on an extra trip to the store.
Don't Leave Money on the Table
You do not have to be a coupon junky to enjoy thrifty savings from bringing your coupons with you to the store. Just thumb through magazines and newspapers and clip out the coupons on products you already enjoy. Your savings will add up fast without investing tons of time into clipping and organizing coupons.
See Also: Free Grocery Coupon Resources
Have fun saving money while you shop!