Aside from your house payment, your biggest monthly expense is likely food. But unlike most of the rest of your bills, you actually have some control over how much you spend at the grocery store.
How To Keep Your Food Expenses Under Control
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Discover 5 Tips You Can Use to Cut Your Grocery Bills Now!
1. Make A Grocery Budget
Ok, I know it’s pretty lame to start off by telling you to “make a budget,” but this is seriously a game changer! Just start tracking how much you’re spending on food (groceries, meals out, sodas…) for a few weeks.
Additional Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any injuries that occur from fainting once you see these numbers!
Once you have recovered from the shock, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. It doesn’t have to be perfect, remember – every single penny adds up! In these days with our debit cards, it seems to add up even quicker. Set an amount to spend on groceries & money for eating out (because you know you will) but whatever you do, don’t go over.
After you are used to staying within a predefined amount, try cutting back your budget by $20 per week or month.
Keep it going & see how low you can go. Try making it into a game with your family.
2. Keep A Price Book
Who doesn’t love a bargain or a good deal? They are all OVER the store, but do you know if what they advertise as a good deal is actually saving you money?
Keep a little notebook in your purse or keep a text document on your phone with the regular prices of the items you buy most often. Not only can you see if that “deal” really is a deal, you can also determine what kitchen staple is cheapest where & adjust your shopping accordingly. You can just walk right by those deals that aren’t really deals.
Your price book will also come in handy when you browse through weekly grocery flyers. You can decide if a loss leader deal is worth driving to the store long before you ever set a foot out the door.
It also helps if you keep a record of what staples you actually need. If you are already packed to overflowing with noodles, you may not need to purchase more no matter what the price. Where would you even put them?
3. Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes
You don’t have to make drastic changes & eat nothing but rice and beans all week. Or ramen noodles, anyone? Instead, think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys. They may happen to love rice & beans. Or how about a big pot of soup or chili. Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet or you can simply use meat in smaller portions on frugal dish days.
Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month combined with using up any and all leftovers will make a big difference in your grocery budget. Try to include these frugal dishes in your meal planning.
You could make “Frugal Friday” a game – who can create the cheapest recipe? Try it with your kids if they are old enough, or as a contest between your mom friends!
4. Cut Out The Extras
Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. All those little extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the candy you grabbed at checkout start to add up.
Get in the habit of skipping those extras unless there’s a good reason to buy them. If they happen to be marked down for quick sale, then you have permission to stock up. Otherwise, stick to your list & you’ll cut your grocery bill by quite a bit each week.
It’s amazing how all those little extras add up.
5. Plan Ahead to Prevent Last Minute Trips
The biggest grocery bills you will run into are the ones where you run to the store several times in a week to “just grab one thing.” It is never just one thing that makes it home with you!
This can snowball even quicker if you stop by the corner drug store or have to purchase something when it is not on sale because you accidentally run out.
By planning ahead for everything you will need to replace ahead of time, you can avoid paying full price or worse – higher prices due to convenience.
Give these tips a try & see if you don’t start to see big savings on a weekly basis in your food expenses.
What you do with all the extra money each month is up to you!
Save up for a fun summer vacation, pay off those credit cards or start building your financial safety net.
What other tips do you have to quickly reduce your food expenses and make extra room in your budget?