Reddit Is It Wise To Put Two Weeks Personal Finance You Can Save Money on Your Grocery Bill

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You Can Save Money on Your Grocery Bill

When I tell people I can buy a month’s worth of groceries on $300 (or $200 in a pinch) they ask how do you do that?? Well, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. The key is organization and planning. Here are some tips for newbies in the world of thrift grocery shopping.

Stock up! Your first grocery trip on your way to savings is actually spending a little more than you’re used to. Items that are staples in your pantry should be purchased in bulk if possible. This includes items such as flour, sugar, pasta, dry beans, rice, oatmeal, and canned goods.

Plan your menu. Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of the meals you plan to prepare. If you shop every two weeks, make a list of two weeks worth of food. Check weekly circulars from grocery stores to see what you have on hand and what’s on sale before you plan your meals.

Use a coupon. Always look for coupons if there is a special item. If an item is on sale and you have a coupon, buy that item. Don’t use coupons because something is new or trendy, only use coupons if they will save you money.

Buy store brands. It’s true that all the ads on TV and in magazines make name brand items look very glamorous, but often store brands are just as good, if not better. In fact, many store brands are manufactured by the same name brand companies that we all know and recognize.

Shop on sale days. Our local grocer offers specials every Thursday. They range from one-day meat sales to Pillsbury brand sales. No matter the theme for the week, the prices are always great!

Don’t buy convenience food. It’s very easy to load up a grocery cart with frozen meals, instant boxed dinners, individual serving size juices, pre-packaged lunches and junk food. However, these items not only provide little nutritional value for your family, they are a huge waste of money. This is why I almost always…

Cook from scratch! The more you can prepare food from scratch, the more money you’ll save. Home cooked meals are also higher in nutrition and you know exactly what you are eating, unlike many pre-made meals. From scratch doesn’t mean a lot of time and cleaning. Simple meals like baked or grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and rice can be prepared in less than 30 minutes with minimal cleanup.

Freeze things. I always try to prepare a double batch whenever I cook something. It saves me time and effort for future meals and on those days when things get really busy I don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner. I also freeze my own bread crumbs (which I store in the freezer), leftovers to use for future lunches, bananas for bread and muffins and anything else that might otherwise be thrown out and wasted.

Keep a price book. When you shop, take a few moments to write down what you buy and how much it costs. Make a master list of items and prices (include prices from every store you shop at). When you take the time to do this you will know if it is worth going to a different store to stock up on the sale item. It’s a great way to calculate how much you’ll spend before you even get to the grocery store. I actually use a software called Home Cookin to keep my price book.

Just plan what you spend. If you use a debit card, take your withdrawals from an ATM when you plan to spend on groceries. Then leave your card at home. This way you won’t be tempted to spend more than you budgeted for.

Eat your leftovers. Keep the beans, make fresh beans. Stale bread can be made into bread pudding. The chicken from last night’s dinner becomes the chicken salad. Leftover pasta sauce can top the pizza. Do not prepare new food until all is left.

Forget junk food. My theory is if you don’t buy it you can’t eat it. We rarely buy soda, chips, cookies, ice cream, pastries or any other junk food. I feed my kids healthy snacks and we drink a lot of water. I make them Kool Aid, lemonade and tea but they don’t remember junk food because they are not used to it.

By following these simple guidelines I have been able to keep our budget low and our nutrition levels optimal. It’s really not that hard once you give it a try!

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