Your Grocery Budget: General Tips
As an extreme couponer wannabe, I’m very excited to roll out this new blog series; Your Grocery Budget. I want to dispel the notion that healthy eating is expensive, while providing ideas on how to save money at the grocery store. I'll be covering a new "Your Grocery Budget" topic on the last Tuesday of every other month, so be sure to check back!
To introduce this series, I’m just going to go over some general tips for keeping your grocery bill down. You’ll be saving money in no time!
Learn where you spend your money. Before you can truly solve a problem, you have to really assess it. Where does all your food money go? What items are really adding up? Maybe you buy a lot of prepared foods instead of buying unprocessed foods to prepare from scratch. Maybe you find good deals at the grocery store, but then blow a lot of money eating out. Once you zone in on 1-3 issues, focus on those.
Decrease your portion sizes! My number one diet tip that SAVES money is to decrease your portion sizes. If you are eating less food, you will obviously spend less money. There is no need to have a whole 10 oz chicken breast at dinner. Split that baked potato or save it for tomorrow’s dinner. Bring home leftovers from the restaurants and make another meal out of it.
Shop around. Shops sales and don’t be married to just one store. Ever shop at Aldi? They have great, high quality items at reasonable prices. Even if you just pick up some essentials there once in a while you will most likely save.
Save money by stocking up. If you look at your grocery receipt, you may notice that you’re spending a large percentage of your money on things that aren’t even food. Luckily, these shelf-stable items aren’t going to go bad. If there’s a sale on shampoo, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc. – stock up! You can even do this with some food items that last a while; think canned foods, cereals, crackers, etc. Make sure you follow the FIFO (first in first out) method at home to make sure you don’t end up throwing out expired foods. When putting away new canned goods, put them behind the ones you already have in your cupboard, so you’ll grab the oldest ones first.
Don’t be brand loyal. If you refuse to buy store brand items, you’re definitely going to spending more. Did you know that store brand and private labels products are often produced by the same manufacturer? Crazy, right? If there are some products that you just NEED the name brand, that’s fine, but the more you switch the more you save. An exception may be if the name brand is on sale and you have a coupon. Be sure to do the math though!
Get organized and prepared. Create a shopping list when going to the store and try to stick to it. Make sure you think about everything you need before going to the store. This will limit trips to the more-expensive convenience store when you run out of milk or need one more ingredient for a recipe.
Get creative. Some non-grocery stores like the Christmas Tree Shop and Big Lots have good deals on foods. Always keep your eyes peeled for savings!