Savings 101: 8 Easy Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill
In the current economy, it is of paramount importance to watch every dollar you spend. In today’s world, there are several websites that will show you how to find sales and coupons at your favorite stores, which can help you save big bucks if you play your cards right. One area of spending a lot of people don’t pay attention to is their grocery bill. It may seem insignificant when compared with other bills like car payments or mortgage payments. Still, in reality, your grocery bill makes up one of the three biggest line items on many peoples’ household budgets.
A good rule of thumb is that no matter how much someone earns, they should try to keep their grocery bill below 20% per month (assuming the person pays for all of their food, not just groceries). For example: If your monthly income is $3,000, then you should aim to keep your grocery bill less than $600 per month (or 20% of that amount). If you are buying your groceries from online stores, lets say amazon, try to find out promo code for amazon that will help you save money.
Below are eight quick tips that will help any family lower their grocery bill each month.
1) Start a Meal Plan
The easiest way to reduce your grocery spending and still eat well is by making meals at home. It may seem difficult or time-consuming at first, but it will be easier once you get into the habit than you think. Plus, if friends or family want to come over, they can just bring a side dish or dessert.
2) Make Your Sauces
This is another big money saver that takes some extra time upfront, but it will pay off in the long run. To make your sauces, all you need to do is cook up many vegetables and then puree them in a blender (preferably with an immersion blender). Then store the extra sauce in ice cube trays so when you are ready to cook, all you have to do is thaw out some sauce and add it to your meal! If you have excess vegetables still lying around, try making vegetable broth. Vegetable broth does not keep as long as sauces, so freeze this one if possible.
3) Plan Out What You’re Eating
Yes, this means you need to sit there and write out your meals. You can do this on a computer or even in the back of a notebook. This will help keep costs down because your food won’t go bad before you eat it, and it will save on gas if you already know what meals you are making during that upcoming week! If you will be eating at home, then take some time upfront to plan out every meal for the week.
4) Stick To A-List
Only buy items that are on your shopping list. Too many times, I’ve seen people run into stores just planning on buying whatever looks good. That’s how empty shelves mysteriously appear overnight! If something is not on your list, don’t get it!
5) Don’t Use Your Car
If you live in an area where there are no grocery stores within walking distance (or close to your house), then try to take the bus or ride a bike instead of using your car. Try to make as many trips into the store as possible so you can save money on gas, AND it is good exercise. Plus, after a few weeks, you will start noticing all of the other people who get around without driving, and that may influence you to change your ways too!
6) Buy Groceries at Discount Stores
Yes, every time I recommend this, someone always writes to me about how they shop at one of these places and that their food goes bad quickly. First off, if this happens, it’s more a product of improper storing technique than any fault with the store. Secondly, if you shop at places like Aldi or Save Mart, you can quickly tell what will go bad and avoid buying these items (i.e., no bread, fresh poultry, etc.).
7) Focus on Buying In Bulk
If you live in a household where there are three or more people, then it is definitely worthwhile trying to do all of your shopping at one time. This saves wasted trips back to the store and saves money because stores offer deeper discounts for families who buy in bulk. Like I said above, don’t buy food that goes bad quickly unless it’s something you eat a lot of (for example, pasta). Also, try to take advantage of coupons at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. This is another reason why you should stick to your shopping list!
8) Buy Groceries on Sale
Just because it is “on-sale” doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. Sometimes that discounted price is the regular everyday price, and all they do is put a sticker on it that says “Sale.” If something looks too good to be true, then check out the unit price (the bottom number of the price tag). The item I am referring to has a $10.00 shelf price, but when you look at the unit price for one pound, it comes out to $3.25 per pound ($2.52 if you have five pounds or more). Obviously, this isn’t a real bargain. So check the unit price first!
These “8 Easy Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill” are not revolutionary new tips, but they can make a huge difference in your monthly budget. One month I calculated that we saved $300 by just following the above eight things.