Food prices shift and fluctuate due to raise in fuel prices, biofuel, inflations, and various other natural disasters like droughts. However, even without dramatically raising food prices a trip to the supermarket can be a bank breaking affair for some families. Even if you have a big family there is almost always a way to cut down on the food bill.
Make a List
Going to the store is a common rookie mistake. If you only have to feed yourself, you may think that making a list is unnecessary. However, the thing about grocery stores is that they are all scheming evil masterminds. Grocery stores are organized to trick you into buying things that you don't really want or need. You may think their trickery will not work on you, but they have gotten pretty good at it over years of fine tweaking. making a list ensures that excess spending does not happen.
Making a list should also pair with making a menu, which we will talk about later. Put down everything you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks and you should definitely cut down on your spending. This also helps you see where you could cut some spending. If you are, for example, having a few meals with ground beef, buy the big tube instead of several little ones.
Make a Menu
Before making your list for the store, you should create a menu for the week. A popular money saving tip is to make a core menu with meals that stay the same week after week. However, I personally get bored with meals quickly and feel the need to switch it up each week. After you make your menu, write down all the ingredients you need then eliminate ingredients that you already have. Why both buying oregano again when you already have it in the cupboard, right? Try to plan a strategic menu as well. If you bought a sack of potatoes last week and only used half of it, plan another potato meal so that it does not go to waste.
Taking inventory and using what you already has prevents waste and will cut down on your shopping list. It is surely going to save you more than a few bucks and you will not have multiples of each spice in your cabinet.
Cook from Scratch
Pre-packaged meals are all fine and dandy if you are in a hurry, but they are incredibly expensive. Think of this way, every process that has to go into preparing food is just an addition to the cost. This is why skinless boneless chicken is more expensive than the chicken with skin and bone left in. In cases like lasagna, the prepackaged stuff is not even saving you that much time, it is just less work. You can have a lasagna made from scratch and cooked by the time it takes you to cook a prepackaged on in the oven, and it is significantly cheaper.
If you are not a confidant cook, start off cooking every meal from a recipe. However, you should throw that recipe card out after awhile. Not strictly adhering to a recipe can leave in room for using whatever you have left over. If you have a bit of leftover chicken, toss it into your lasagna. That is just one example. Who knows, you could accidentally create something uniquely delicious and your own recipe.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can be a double-edged sword. If you buy things you use, you can save a whole lot of money. If you buy things you rarely use, than you are just wasting money and risking letting it spoil. You should only buy things that you use regularly. If you eat cereal every single morning without fail, buy it in bulk. If you buy a huge sack of flour, but rarely ever bake, then it is probably a waste of money. A lot of terrible things can happen to flour when it just sits around your house for months.
Most often when you buy things in bulk, you are almost always buying store brand food. You do not always have to buy in bulk to buy store brand food though. Store brands are a great way to save on money. More often than not, the store brand will contain the same thing as the name brand as well. Though people often trick themselves into thinking this store brand food tastes a bit off. Though in the case of store brand cola and other items, it is not a trick. Buy the store brand as often as you can to cut dollars and cents off your shopping bill.
Use your Leftovers
For some reason, things like meat are always packaged in strange numbers. For example, I can only buy pork chops in packs of five at my grocery store. Of course, I only need one pork chop, but I still use the five. Don't let that meat just sit around in the freezer though. Cook all five of the pork chops and make two meals out of them. You can also make a nice lunch out of it as well. If you take one pork chop out, it is more than likely you will forget about the rest in the freezer and they will be freezer burnt and wasted by the time you get back to them. If you have cooked food sitting in the refrigerator, you are more likely to eat it before it spoils.
If you have ever worked at a supermarket like I have, you may groan at the thought of being "that person' who walks up to some poor checker with a fistful of coupons. However, as they have been since their invention, coupons are still a viable way of saving money. Many stores use coupons to market certain items down to price or less than that to lure customers in. In reality, they will not lose money because of the evil scheming layout of grocery stores that trick you into buying things. Just like with buying in bulk though, you should not buy things you will not use just because they are cheap. If it is something like a soap or shampoo, then that is alright, but if it is something that will spoil, make sure you can use it.