Grocery costs continue to rise even as many of us loose our jobs or see our wages frozen. In today’s economy, we need to pinch our pennies and save money in any way we can. This means we need to save money on groceries.
There are, of course, the basics. We should all be making a shopping list before purchasing groceries. We should all be planning our menu and clipping coupons from the Sunday paper. We should never enter a grocery store when our stomachs are growling louder than the music playing over the intercom.
Here are some easy tips that go beyond the basics of how to save money on groceries.
Tip #1 to Save Money on Groceries – Portion Sizes
This may seem obvious, but the more we consume, the more often we must buy. America is in the midst of both an economic crisis and an obesity epidemic. I’ve been guilty of eating half a package of Oreos in one evening. In reality, that package should have lasted at least a week.
Take a look at how much food you are eating. According to the USDA, a man between the ages of 19 and 30 should only eat 6 ½ ounces of meat. This would equal about 1 ½ cans of tuna per day.
When you eat proper portions, you will find you have left-overs from your meals. These can be put into the refrigerator or frozen for later use. Suddenly, the meal that originally cost $8.00 to prepare now costs a mere $4.00 per meal. It’s free food!
Tip #2 to Save Money on Groceries – Freeze your breakfast for cheaper and quicker meals
My parents were constantly looking for ways to save money on groceries. One thing they did was freeze homemade breakfast food.
Frozen pancakes and waffles are definitely convenient when you are rushing to get ready for work and the kids are starving. They can be popped into the microwave or toaster and you have a ready hot breakfast.
However, for a fraction of the cost, you can make pancakes, waffles, or even french toast ahead of time and freeze them in individual servings. It’s the convenience of frozen food without all of the preservatives since you are making everything from scratch.
This tactic did not only save money on groceries because expensive frozen french toast sticks weren’t being purchased. We were also able to save money by using up stale bread as well as milk and eggs that were about to expire. Food that normally would have been thrown away became a quick and easy hot breakfast!
Tip #3 to Save Money on Groceries – Use the internet
There are many websites out there that you can visit and print free grocery coupons. However, that is not where your internet sleuthing should end.
Many grocery stores have websites. Here, customers can view the weekly grocery ad. Look up all of the grocery stores in your area and compare their sale ads. Some stores even include coupons on their website.
If possible, use coupons for the items that are on sale already. This will net even more savings on your food bill. This is where the online sales ads come in handy. You can compare throughout your area to see which sales match up with your coupons.
Tip #4 to Save Money on Groceries – Don’t get too attached to your coupons
Although coupons are definitely a good way to save money on groceries, they can also be a pitfall. Often, the name brand item is more expensive than the generic brand, even when a coupon is used.
Manufacturers aren’t altruistic. They aren’t giving away coupons just to be nice. They want to entice consumers to try their product in the hopes that they will get hooked and continue to purchase the product at full price. It’s just good business sense. However, consumers must be just a savvy as these businesses in order to save money on groceries.
If the coupon is for an item you use anyway, it can be a great way to save money on groceries. Just don’t assume a coupon must be used because it’s a good deal. Even an item that is free isn’t a good deal if you have no need for it. All this does is take up valuable real estate in your pantry that could instead be used to stock up on a sale item that really is needed.
Tip #5 to Save Money on Groceries – If possible, leave the kids at home
There have been countless times my husband or I has come home with junk we didn’t need (or want) just to avoid having our two year old throw the mother of all screaming fits in the middle of the grocery store. Sure, she should be taught she doesn’t always get what she wants. However, after battling her all day and getting up with our infant all night, we’re a little worn down.
I am also rushed when I have my daughter with me. I don’t take time to compare unit prices on items. I want to throw the groceries into the cart and race to the check-out as quickly as possible. Saving money isn’t the primary concern on my mind when I just want to get home.
When the little bundle of energy is left at home, I am able to focus on finding the best deals in the grocery store. I can compute unit prices more easily. In order to save money on groceries, customers need to tune out distractions and tune in to the cost of their grocery purchases.
United States Department of Agriculture, MyPyramid,gov