Six Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Next Grocery Bill
Bethany Kosten is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online colleges for the Guide to Online Schools.
According to the USDA, a family of four on a low-cost monthly food plan spent as much as $758.90 per month in 2010. On a more liberal food budget, the same family could have also spent $1052.10 per month. Either way, these figures are excessive and easily represent sufficient funds for a mortgage or car payment. Whether revamping your grocery budget out of necessity or simply deciding it is time to put excessive spending on food to a stop, you should know that the grocery bill is one of the easiest areas to cut down on living costs.
1. Consider Generic Brands over Top Name Brands.
All food manufacturers are required to follow certain procedures to provide healthy and safe food products for consumers. Compare labels to see that there is little or no difference between the ingredients of a name brand product and a generic product. However, the difference in cost is often significant.
2. Create a Weekly Menu for Your Family.
Planning ahead is one of the easiest ways to save money on a grocery bill. Take the time to plan a menu for your family and make a specific list of foods needed to fulfill the menu. Sticking with a meal plan will help reduce unnecessary purchases and more frequent trips to the store. Those who have a hard time getting motivated should try using other resources for inspiration. For instance, Dinner Spinner is an iPhone app that can help you find menu ideas based on a specific ingredient.
3. Eat Before You Shop.
Many impulse buys are a result of a rumbling tummy. Those who walk in the store before dinner usually end up spending much more than originally planned. Avoid this scenerio by planning your grocery trips around meal times.
4. Stock Up on an Item at Rock Bottom Price.
Start taking note of prices on certain food items that you consider staples in your household. Most people simply make a list of food items that they need and head to the store. However, smart shoppers realize that all grocery items go on sale at some time. Most stores generally follow a six week cycle. This means that you need to buy enough of an item at its lowest price to last for six weeks when it will go on sale again.
5. Use Coupons on Sale Items for Maximum Savings.
Everyone knows you can save a few dollars on your groceries by clipping coupons. However, the way to truly benefit from coupons is to use them on sale items. If you know the rock bottom price for an item at your store, wait until the item is at this low price before you use your coupon. In many cases, using a coupon at the right time could mean getting a product for free or very close to free.
6. Use Technology to Make Saving Money on your Grocery Bill More Efficient.
Anyone with a Smartphone should know about a number of apps that were created to help individuals plan their shopping trips even while on the go. There is the Shopping List Free app for iPhone and the Grocery List for Android. You can also go online to find and print coupons, search for new recipes, and browse weekly shopping ads.