The raising cost of food can eat (pardon the pun) into anyone's budget.Â While we can't stop eating, we can lower our monthly grocery costs.Â Below is a list of ideas to get started.
If your local grocery store has weekly ads, check out what the specials are this week. See what meals you can have with the items that are on sale.Â Write a list of what you want to get, and most importantly, stick to only what's on that list!Â Make sure you don't go to the store hungry.Â Studies show that people who are hungry when grocery shopping tend to buy on impulse more than those who are not hungry.
Many items have a generic version of the same thing. These items are usually rightÂ by the brand name items on the grocery shelf, but are often cheaper than the ones with the names you recognize. Once in a while you'll find the generic items are not as good and maybe not worth the savings, but in my experience 90% of the time, the generic is just as good as the brand name item.
Look at the price per ounce or pound.
Often times on the prices on the grocery shelves they will include a price per ounce (or pound).Â Take a close look at that.Â Sometimes the brand name item may be on sale and is actually cheaper than the generic item.Â Also, sometimes it's a better bargain to buy the larger item than the smaller, but sometimes the smaller item is actually the better deal.
Combine coupons and sales.
Whenever possible, try to use coupons when the item is also on sale.Â If a $2.00 item is on sale for $1.39 and you have a 50 cents off coupon, then you can get that $2.00 item for only 89 cents. You can still get coupons in the Sunday newspapers, but I've found you can often get great coupons online. I've found a website that is even better than coupons.com, and that is Swagbucks. They have the same coupons as coupons.com, but you also get 10 Swagbucks back for every coupon used (1 Swagbuck is worth approximately 1 penny depending on what you redeem your Swagbucks for). I usually redeem my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, and since Amazon has groceries, I can get free groceries by using my gift card.
Buy cheaper foods.
Some foods are just always cheaper. Avoid over priced items like cottage cheese and frozen stir fry in a bag.Â Instead of getting steaks and fish, try getting your protein from eggs and dry beans.Â Other cheap staples are potatoes, pasta, rice and bananas.
Don't eat as much.
If you're trying to lose weight, just cutting back your portion sizes can save you money and shrink your waistline.Â If you prepare a meal that usually give you 2 large portions for you and your spouse, try dividing it into 3 and saving the left overs for lunch the next day.Â It's like getting a lunch for free!