In a time where many people are facing tight economic situations
learning to save money can be a great thing for almost everyone. With
some simple tips you can save a lot of money on your regular grocery
bill. You don't have to sacrifice flavor or healthy options, you just
have to make a few good plans.
Make a Budget.
Sit down and figure out how much you can afford to spend on groceries as well as how much you think you have to spend in order to eat well. Be prepared to make a few adjustments to this amount in the first few months, after all the goal is to save money and byimplementing a few good tips you can save a lot of money. You may also want to consider your adding your household needs to this budget so that you can get everything at once fairly easily. Household needs should include things like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, and personal items such as shampoo and shaving cream.
Make a Plan.
Many things work out best if you have a plan. Keeping yourself within a budget for your groceries and household needs is definitely one of them. Sit down and make out a menu for the period of time that you are shopping. It may be one week, two weeks, or even a month. Include in your menu plan meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as some snacks. You may also want to include a small amount of flexible meals and snacks which aren't assigned to a specific place, but are available if you don't feel like having what is originally planned.
Limit Junk Food and Processed Foods.
Junk foods and processed foods (boxed, frozen, or prepared) are the most expensive things that most of us buy. Because of this it is a good idea to limit them. It is hard to eliminate them altogether, but having only a few things on hand can cut how much of them you eat (they aren't good for you anyway) and it can save you a bunch.
Make a List.
Once you have your plan and you have made sure that you have cut expensive junk and processed foods it is time to make a list. Go through your cupboards and see what you have on hand that fits with your meal plan. Then make a list for you to get the things that you need to fulfill your meal plan. Add a few snacks and extras to make your life easier and to make sure you have those things you might like instead of one of your planned meals (for the day you just don't want spaghetti even though that's whats on the menu).
Check It Twice.
After you have your list made up it is a good idea to check it again. This is so that you can eliminate the things you don't really need. Check to see how much junk food you have and how many extras. Cut where ever you can to help you save money.
Be Prepared To Go.
Shopping is a dangerous task for many people. It is best to go shopping when you can go quickly so go to the bathroom before you go, wear good shoes, and make sure you have eaten a good meal before you go. Eating well before you go will help you control impulse shopping because you won't want everything in sight.
Avoid Impulse Shopping.
Store displays, sales, and signs are all there to get you to buy more. Many stores make more of their money from impulse buys then from traditional sales. Because this it is important that you work on avoiding impulse shopping. Evaluate your weaknesses and avoid looking at things that you might be tempted to buy. The more things you buy that aren't on your list, the more money you spend.
Give Yourself Wiggle Room.
While it is important to avoid impulse buys as much as possible, it isn't always possible to do. Because of this it is a good idea to give yourself a little wiggle room. Choose a dollar amount and a number of items that you are allowed to buy. For example, let yourself have $10 to $20 and 2 to 3 items. This way if you see something you have to have then you can get it.
Choosing Your Shopping Location.
It is always a good idea to choose where you shop. One place might have a better price on certain items where another might have different items that are cheaper. While you shouldn't go way out of your way to get good deals, it is a good idea to shop where you will save the most money. You may even want to shop at different stores each week (rather then more then one store in a single week where you are more likely to make more impulse buys).
Additional Shopping Tips.
While not all of these tips are something you can do every time. However, when you can get the chance to use these tips you will save some money.
- No Name Shopping. Brand names are often more
expensive and they are often similar or the same as store brands and no
name brands. Choose the no name over the name brand whenever you can.
If you try a no name item and don't like it, you can always go back
later. However, many times you will choose a product that you either
like just as much or more then the more expensive item. You can save a
lot by being willing to try these brands.
- Buy In Larger Quantities, BUT Check Your Prices. Usually food and other products are cheaper in larger quantities,
but this isn't always the case. It is a good idea to check your prices,
figure out how much you are spending on a single unit (Walmart does
this for you already) so you can choose the one that is actually
- Hit Sales. Sales can be good. Make sure
you buy only what you would buy other wise. However, you can plan out
your snacks and meals according to whats on sale. For example you can
choose "fruit" as your snack and make selections according to what is
cheapest. You can do the same with side dishes. You can also check out
any ad papers when planning your meals so you can hit up meat sales.
The other option is to buy your meat for next week this week and plan
to use it in your menu then.
- Be a Wise Coupon Shopper. Coupons are produced because they often entice us to buy things we wouldn't other wise buy. Be careful when you are clipping coupons and only choose those things which you would other wise buy or those things that would be cheaper then what you planned on buying.
- Make It Harder To Spend Money. Most
of us have become accustom to some sort of plastic. Because of this it
is easy to buy things, even when we shouldn't. We simply slide the card
and have what we want now. Make it harder to spend money by carrying
cash (only what you have budgeted) or by carrying a small notebook in
your purse where you write down the amount that you spend each time you
go to the store and balance it out with your budget in mind. Only spend
what you have budgeted!
Be Careful With Perishables.
Most of us have a hard time with food that can go bad. Whether it is left overs, fruits, or vegetables it is easy to forget about them or not desire to eat them until they are bad. Because of this be careful in how much you buy and plan on eating them right away so that they don't go bad on you. The less food you throw away the more money you save!
Saving money is something all of us can do when we are shopping. It just takes some planning, some self control, and some good tips. Armed with those things you can save hundreds each month and still feed your family well.