Grocery prices seem to be constantly be on the rise, making your budget hard to control. However, there are few simple things you can do that will help you get control — and stay there!
Make It At Home
First things first — do you really have to buy those box mixes, packets and frozen foods? No! Make what you can at home and stick to buying the basics from the store. No more worrying about what is in your food!
Shop Less Often
This one goes hand in hand with the first tip — go to the store less. If you’re not in the store then you won’t be tempted to purchase things you might not actually need.
When you do go shopping, leave the debit cards and checks at home and commit to paying with just cash. You’ll find that you purchase less and only get what you need.
Shop Loss Leaders
Loss leaders are the items that grocery stores deeply discount in order to get you in the store. Typically they can be found on the first and last pages of the sales ad.
Use coupons on items that are already on sale to maximize your savings!
Create Meal Plans
Create a meal plan so you know exactly what ingredients you will need from the store — saving time, money and helping life be less stressful!
Compare Unit Prices
Those big packages aren’t always the best buy! Be sure to compare the unit prices before assuming the biggest package is more economical.
Create a Price Book
Keep track of the prices of the items you buy the most, so you know what is a good price, and which store has it. You can either use a spreadsheet on your computer or traditional pen and paper.
You might find it easier to implement just a couple of these tips at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. Once you’ve used to your new changes, add in some of the other tips. Even if you choose to just do a couple of these tips — you’ll find that you will be controlling your grocery budget, instead of it controlling you!
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My brother used to always tell me that when at first you don’t succeed, sky diving is not for you. While I firmly believe he was right about sky diving, that doesn’t make it true about money saving methods. In fact in spite of these ideas may not work out for you the first time, in the long run they can still save you money using them.
Let’s take the money saving idea of cooking your own meals from scratch rather than buying fast food, meals in a bag, and bagged bread. Cooking is a skill and like all skills, has a learning curve. Your first loaf of bread may not turn out the way you hoped. If it makes you feel any better, mine didn’t even look like a loaf. You may discover you only skimmed the recipe and you have tried to stick two loafs worth of bread dough into one pan. It happens. It’s just a learning experience to help you avoid future mistakes.
Time In Life
Clipping coupons may not be something you would pursue while living single with the belief you can live off of cup of noodle soups and peanut butter sandwiches. You don’t have the storage space to build a coupon fueled food storage. You don’t have the gas to go to six different stores and the time to hunt down the smallest product size in each. Besides, the generic brand is usually less expensive even with a coupon.
When you become a married parent trying to fuel that formula and diaper bill with no expanded income to make ends meet (and they were barely touching to begin with) you may want to revisit that whole coupon thing, or cloth diaper idea. Where it wasn’t helpful before, it can be vital now.