We're all feeling the pinch these days. Something I've mentioned more than once the last couple of months. So here come's my frugal ideas for saving some money in these rough times.
Let's face it, we all need to eat. It basically comes down to our survival. Do we need to spend a fortune doing it? No. Families need to become shopping savvy in order to keep their grocery bills down.
Prior to the birth of my first child, I was a D.I.N.K. Yup, double income no kids. I never had to worry about an, ugh, budget. Three children later and down to a single income, a budget is more than a necessity in our house. It could literally make or break the proverbial bank.
Here are a few simple tips that helped me to get my grocery bill down to under $100.00 a week.
1. Comparison Shop: If you have time for this, it is a great way to see what the local grocery stores offer in the way of products and pricing. Over three weeks, I went to each of the three stores in my area and purchased an average week's work of groceries. I then compared the cost and quality of the products. I found that although one store may have been the cheapest it also had poor quality vegetables. They would literally rot before the week was out. So in this case going with the second cheapest store was more cost efficient in the long run.
2. Coupons: Nothing new there. You all know how to use coupons. However, I have found that at times coupons can entice you to purchase items or multiples of items you may not usually buy just because it's a deal. Make sure you put coupons you'd actually consider using in your wallet so you have em when you need em. Scanning the weekly fliers do help you to make a note of sales and if you can, split your trip up between two stores that offer the best deals. If one store only offered a couple of low savings, it's really not worth the extra gas to drive around just to save a dollar or two.
3. Buy Bulk: Wholesale clubs are great for getting good deals on meat. Stock up when items are on sale then split up the contents into smaller family sized portions and freezing. By buying your meat bulk and freezing it every so often, you will not have to shop for meat on a regular basis, thereby not only cutting down on your shopping time but also cutting down on your weekly expenditure. Keep an eye out for sales on canned goods. However, keep track of the pricing. Often it may seem like a good deal but it's not. Also considering in going directly to the source. Often farm's will sell you the cow (literally) and provide it to you in your choice of cuts. A whole cow too much, go in with another family.
4. Shop on the Outside Aisles: The typical store layout consists of produce on one end, meat on the other and dairy at the back. By shopping these aisles and staying away from the center aisles containing all the tempting prepackaged foods, you will be amazed at what you will save. Stick to the fresh fruits and vegetables. All the other stuff is really not that good for you anyways.
People say they cannot afford to eat healthily on a small budget. I disagree. By cutting out a lot of the junk from our diets, it will actually free up the cash to buy nutritious foods. Whenever my grocery bill starts to creep up, I stop and take a look at what I have been buying. Most often it's because I've begun to allow chips, cookies, pop etc back into my shopping cart. While these items are okay once in a while, they really shouldn't be consumed on a regular basis.
To summarize, stick to the outside aisles. You will be surprised what you save.
5. Never shop on an empty stomach. You've heard this for years but it's true. People actually will purchase more on impulse when they are hungry than at any other time. Everything suddenly seems appetizing.
6. Buy only groceries at the grocery store. Items like toothpaste, shampoo and diapers are usually significantly more expensive at a grocery store than at a department store. It doesn't hurt to watch out for specials and coupons available but most of the time, you'll be paying more for the convenience of one stop shopping.
Please... share some of your tips with us.