How to Buy Groceries Inexpensively on a Budget Essay
When looking at your personal finances, most people find that they overspend on groceries. The typical family of 4 spends around $500 per month on groceries.
You may be wondering how to save money on healthy food at the supermarket. I have been researching this question ever since I became a stay-at-home Mom 5 years ago.
How can we save money on healthy meals when shopping for groceries? I have found several tips to save money at the supermarket and save money on your monthly family food budget. Some ways are to watch for sales, use coupons, stay out of grocery stores, make a weekly meal plan and make food at home instead of eating out at restaurants.
Make A List!
Keep a magnetic notepad on your refrigerator. As you run out of items, write it down on the grocery list. Bring the list to the store with you and only buy what is on the list.
This will help you get in and out of the store faster since you don’t have to think about what you may need once you are in the store.
The less time you are in the supermarket, the less temptation you will have to pick up extra items you see. By using a list, you will also be able to cut down on the number of supermarket trips you need to make.
Stay Out Of The Supermarket
Try to cut down on the amount of trips you take to the supermarket each month. If you go to the grocery store a few times a week, try to cut it down to once a week. If you go once a week, see if you can stretch it to once every two weeks.
The less times you go into the supermarket, the less you will pay throughout the month. Each time you go to the store, there are usually a few extra items that make their way into the shopping cart. If you cut down on the amount of trips, you will also cut down on the amount of extras that are bought.
One way to cut down on the amount of trips you take to the grocery store is to try wholesale clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s. Since you are buying in bulk, it is easier to skip a week or two in between trips to the store. They usually have lower prices too because you are buying in bulk.
Never Go Grocery Shopping On An Empty Stomach
Make sure you eat something before you go into the supermarket. If you are hungry while you shop for food, everything will look tempting and you will end up putting more items into your shopping cart which will increase your grocery bill. After you get home and eat something, those extra items may not look as tempting and may end up getting forgotten and wasted.
If you are not hungry when you walk into the grocery store, you will be less tempted to put extra food into your cart and you will be able to focus on your list a bit more so you can get out of the store quickly.
Extreme Couponing: Sales & Coupons
Start looking at supermarket weekly sales circulars and coupons. Also, find a store that doubles coupons. Every once in a while, stores will triple coupons for a week. Watch for these promotions and take advantage of them. This is a great way to get grocery items for free.
You can find your stores weekly sales circulars in the newspaper or online on the stores website. You will find the best sales on the very front and back pages. Try to find coupons for these items. You can normally get an item for free or nearly free if you can match a sale with a coupon.
Most grocery coupons can be found in the Sunday newspaper. You can also find coupons online at sites like Coupons.com, Redplum.com or SmartSource.com. Coupons can also be found in front of the item in the store in blinkies.
When you do find a great sale and coupon combination and you can get the item for free, make sure you get to the store early in the week to get this item. A lot of other couponers might also see this deal combination and wipe out the shelves. If this happens, ask an employee at the store if they will get more in before the sale is over. If not, ask for a rain check. You can use a rain check for a few months after the sale. This will ensure that you get the sale price even after the sale is over.
Try to stock up when there is a sale so you have these items in your pantry. Instead of paying full price for that item later, you will already have that item in your pantry at the sale price. Just make sure you can use it before it expires.
Homemade Food Recipes: Healthy Food For A Healthy Budget
One great way to save money on your grocery budget is to bake from scratch at home. Buying basic ingredients is usually less expensive than buying processed foods at the grocery store. It’s also healthier for you and your family.
If you are short on time, find a few quick go-to recipe’s you can make each week and rotate the menu regularly. You can add quick recipes as you find them for more variety.
Meal Planning: Save Time And Money
Another great way to save money on groceries is to start a meal plan. Start slow and only do a week at a time. Look through your sales circulars to see what is on sale. Come up with dinners you can make from those sales items.
Look through your refrigerator and pantry to see if there is anything that needs to be used up soon. If there is, try to incorporate it into your meal plan for the week. You will have less waste and you will end up buying less food at the supermarket.