Saving money on groceries can cut down on your day to day living expenses. One of the first things that financial experts tell you to do is to stop eating out. You'll save money in the long run but your monthly grocery bill will go up. Here is how to save money on groceries without going hungry.
Get fresh vegetables. It might seem like it's a lot cheaper to eat sugar and flour based products. However, fresh vegetables keep you healthy which cuts down on a lot of other costs. There are a few ways that you can cut down on the high cost of healthy food. You might want to try your hand at growing your own. Plus, the kids can help you tend the garden so it's a fun learning experience for the whole family.
Another option in the summer and autumn months is a farmer's market. This can really save you money especially if you are looking for organic foods. Ask the farmer to see if it just hasn't been stamped organic; this will save you a lot of money while still getting pesticide free food. Implement a storage system with Tupperware or try out different versions of green bags until you find something that helps you preserve your fresh food longer.
Find ways to make your stretch. There's been a thought around for a long time that soup is the perfect food on a budget. If you have more people over for dinner you just have to add a little more water to the pot. The same rules can be applied to food storage. Plan meals that are practical for your purposes. You can get a great deal on something but it doesn't matter if you don't like it or won't eat it. Look at expiration dates. Often when food is on sale that's because it's close to its expiration date, so don't buy more than you can use in the allotted time. If you're really on a budget you may have to experiment with casseroles and pasta dishes. This will stretch meat further to help cut down on costs.
It doesn't matter how inexpensively you get items if you don't end up using them. You may be tempted by a lot of different deal forums and coupon sites. Before you start making purchases ask yourself "Do I really need this?"
Plan ahead. You might not be into coupon clipping, and that's ok you can still save money on your grocery bill. Make out a menu for one or two weeks and then figure out exactly what you need. If you do everything at once then you won't have to make unnecessary trips back to the store. You can also just glance through sales circulars before you go so you know what is on sale. This can be the base for your menu and you won't have to clip a single coupon.
Use what you have. It seems like people are always saying that they "have nothing to wear" and "nothing to eat". Really they just don't have anything they want to eat. Look through your cupboards and pull out all the items that you haven't used in awhile. Eating from the pantry can lead to adventurous experiments but it will help stretch your dollar. You'll have to spend more time on food prep and cooking in general to save money. Convenience foods cost more and usually aren't as healthy.
Cut down on how many times you visit the store. You most likely pick up a few extra items whenever you go shopping. Multiple trips cost more for gas and also rack up the unneeded items. When you do go to the store, stick to your list. It's easy to just throw a few items in the cart and then once you start you just can't seem to stop. If you are really having trouble with your grocery lists then it is best to carry cash and leave the credit cards at home. This way it will be impossible to overspend.
Switch to store brands. Sure, sometimes they have wacky names and you won't see them on commercials. Check the active ingredients to make sure that you're basically getting the same thing. The brand name is usually at eye level so the more expensive items will get your attention. Often you'll save a lot more money by buying the store brand than you would with a coupon on a brand name.
Be realistic. You need to put aside a fair amount of your budget for food, it is one of the most important things in life after all. If your budget is too tight then you will get discouraged. Then you might just want to forget the whole grocery budget and just go back to your old ways. You should put aside a little extra money every night for birthday and holiday meals so you don't feel like you are deprived.
Get your family in on the act. This is the only way that sticking to a grocery budget will work long term. Your kids may complain when they see a cereal on the table that doesn't have the usual cartoon on it. If everyone is on the same page your shopping trips will be a lot easier. You can always compromise and let them get one of their favorite items as long as they let a few of their regular, unnecessary purchases go.
Stop snacking or switch to healthier snacks. Chips, cookies and fruit snacks can seem cheap but all those little boxes add up. If you just eat three times a day and forget about desserts and snacks you can lose weight and also cut down on your budget. If you can't kick the snacking habit then try popcorn. A single bag of air pop kernels could last you all month.
You can get carried away when you try to save money grocery shopping. It might even take up as much time as a part time job. Try a variety of tips and tricks to work out the best fit for your family and budget.