Grocery shopping. Some people love it. Some people hate it. But no matter what, we all have to eat. Whether you are on a tight budget or just want to save some money, here are ten ways to reduce your grocery bill this month.
Plan Your Grocery Shopping
Plan out when you are doing your grocery shopping; weekly, every other week, etc. Say for example you choose Monday to be your grocery shopping day, do not waver from this. No midweek trips to pick up a couple of things. Those couple of things can turn into a cartful, in turn costing you more. Unless you absolutely love grocery shopping, the idea of minimizing trips is probably appealing to you. You might be thinking, but I could never anticipate well enough to avoid the unscheduled shopping. But you can with enough planning.
Plan Your Meal
Say your grocery shopping day is Monday, for the purposes of this example. On Sunday, sit down and plan out meals for the upcoming week of Monday through Sunday. The easiest place to start is with dinners. This can often be a family affair, by allowing each family member a chance to say what they would like to have that week within reason. Next, work down to breakfast and lunches.
Breakfasts and lunches are easier, as you can plan a loaf of bread that can be utilized for sandwiches, toast, etc. Just making sure you have the basics for what everyone anticipates for breakfast or lunches for the week.
Once you have a meal plan for the week, go through your pantry and fridge and figure out what items you have for the meals you plan to make and what items you will need to buy.
This isn’t to say you can never waver from a meal plan. Some families like to be spontaneous. And you still can be with a meal plan that is a little more flexible. You don’t have to necessarily know Tuesday will be Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry every week. Maybe Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry doesn’t sound great to everyone that night, but maybe grilled chicken with veggies does. Many of the same ingredients can be utilized.
Keep a List
The next step is creating and implementing a shopping list. Your meal plan has by now already let you know what items you will need to make the meals for your family for the upcoming week. If you have 4 eggs in the fridge, but nothing on your estimated meal plan calls for eggs, you probably don’t need it on your list.
Utilize Sale Circulars and Coupons
You can check in advance to see if any items on your list are on sale. If it’s an item you buy often, and anticipate needing the following week, too, maybe stock up a bit while it’s on sale. Do not buy an item that you don’t plan on needing just because it’s on sale though.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Once you get to the store, try to avoid buying impulse items. Set yourself an allowance of say one or two “not on the list” items, to keep your extra purchases to a minimum. Sometimes you will see a great deal you just can’t pass up. Or maybe its coconut gelato and that just sounds amazing for dessert. Either way, you can keep grocery shopping remotely “fun” by allowing the one or two extras.
Don’t Shop Hungry
You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s true. When you go shopping hungry, all of a sudden everything in sight sounds good and you buy far more than you intend to. Try to plan out your shopping trips in between meals.
This may sound like a no brainer, but many people throw out leftovers that could make perfectly good lunches. Say you cook a little extra Monday and Tuesday night at dinner, maybe make Wednesday “leftover” night to make sure to eat up what is left, instead of letting it go to waste.
Don’t Let Food Go Bad
Make sure to check your produce and meats throughout the week. If something is nearing being too ripe or is near to its expiration, try to work it into your meal plan as soon as possible to avoid wasting money on throwing it out.
By opting to drink water with at least 2 meals a day, you can greatly decrease your grocery bill by not purchasing soda, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages and so on. And water is healthy, too! Don’t like the taste of water? Brewing a pot of coffee, making your own sun tea, lemonade, etc are relatively inexpensive options in comparison to soda and soft drinks.
Avoid Buying Pre-Packaged Food
Instead of buying snack size packages of crackers, buy the larger box and separate them into zipper seal sandwich bags yourself and put them back in the large box for storage. Buy a brick of cheese then slice up some for sandwiches, shred some for tacos, etc. You get the idea.
With some time and a little effort, you will be slicing away at your grocery bill in no time.
Ricki Pritchett is a wife, mama and full time corporate workin’ woman. She has a passion for writing, crafting, nail polish and good microbrews. She is also the designer and owner of The Rogue Baby and a regular contributor to the CareOne blog, a community that provides debt consolidation and money-saving tips.
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