Going to a grocery store often means that you will end up spending more money than you had hoped. This means that your monthly cost of food is going to be higher than you wanted it to be. You can learn how to save money on groceries if you follow these simple steps and keep practicing them.
Know What You Already Have
Reports indicate that as much as 30 to 40 percent of food in many American households is thrown away. This often happens because people are not aware of what they already have in the refrigerator and end up buying more of the same foods than what they can use.
Develop a Food Budget
Know how much you can afford to spend each week on groceries. Take a calculator with you when food shopping and stick to your budget. You can also save money on groceries by comparison shopping, but consider distance as well. It does not make sense to go to another store 10 miles away to only save a few cents. Buying generic foods – canned vegetables – will also be less expensive than brand names.
You will want to add some money to your budget for eating out or special treats once a week or a couple of times a month. This will also help to allow for unexpected purchases.
Start Regular Meal Planning
Before you go to the supermarket to do your grocery shopping, plan what meals you will have that week. Then, check your food cabinets and refrigerators to see what food you already have to avoid duplicate buying. You may see some food items that you can use in your planning. This may lead you to alter a meal and save money.
Look for Specials
Food stores often have special deals on certain foods. Focus on buying those foods and use coupons when available. You can also sign up for a special food store card that lets you earn points toward other discounts – such as reduced fuel costs. These cards, which are scanned when you make your purchase, can save you a considerable amount of money each month.
Make Multiple Meals at the Same Time
You can save time in meal preparation in the future by doubling and even tripling the size of your meal and then freezing part of it for the future. Again, you need to know what you put into the freezer and plan on when you will pull it out for another meal. Many foods can be frozen, which will also help you to reduce your food waste.
Eat Frozen Meals Regularly
On certain days of the week, you can pull out some of the frozen meals and other food from the refrigerator to avoid throwing it away or getting a freezer full of food. If a frozen dish was not what you expected the first time, you can spice it up the next time you eat it.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk often means you will get a discount with a larger quantity but this is not always true. Compare prices per unit and be sure that you can consume the larger size or freeze what you cannot use right away. If you are only buying for one or two, it may not make much sense to buy many items in larger sizes.
Pay with Cash
Although buying with credit cards may offer points, you are not saving money if you keep a balance on those cards. The monthly interest will eat away at any savings you managed to get. It will help you stay within your budget if you only carry enough cash to cover your budgeted amount.