The money you spend on groceries is an area of your home budget that you can really save some money on. In our situation we are a family of four and our budget is $125.00 per week. I would not say we are pinching pennies, and by no means are we being extravagant. We also live in the Pacific Northwest. Prices do vary somewhat according to where you live.
There are many of you out there spending twice this amount. Even in our situation which many of you may find on the average or low side we could easily tighten our belts and lower this bill by 30%. Yes, 30%
For the amount we spend, a 30% savings amounts to $1950.00 a year. If you are spending twice the amount we are, that 30% savings can amount to a budget savings of almost $4000.00 a year. That is a nice chunk of change for that big screen TV, or to pay down your debt, or whatever other means you want to use it for.
Before we get into some details I want to add that a key element to managing and reducing any aspect of your budget is having the right attitude. Also, you need to have some discipline and be able to stick to your guns. Set goals that are attainable.
Six quick tips to save money on your food budget
* Buy the store brand.
* Buy fruits and vegetables that are on sale.
* Read the flyers that in the newspaper, clip coupons.
* Shop more than one store.
* Buy less prepared foods.
* Go to the store after you have eaten.
* Avoid impulse buying on quick trips.
* Buy the store brand
Some folks are brand loyal. But, buying brand names can cost you a lot more money. The reality is that in a blind taste test most of us could not tell the difference between the store brand and the name brand. In some cases the only difference between the name brand and the store brand is the label they put on the can.
Read the flyers
In reading the Supermarket flyers there is one general theme I have noticed. Between two or three stores there are typically enough items on sale to make some substantial savings. It is typical that most of us do a “big shop” a week and then do 2-5 quick runs to the store during the week. Change this pattern. Instead, spend 10-15 minutes a week reading the flyers and planning your list to shop 2-3 stores. Most grocery stores are in the same general vicinity. Sure you might be adding about an hour to your shopping a week, but if that hour is worth saving a few thousand dollars on your food budget then it is well worth it!
Buying fresh fruits and vegetables on sale
We just spent .88 cents a pound for Fuji apples. They normally are $1.49 a pound. That’s a pretty good savings. We just love Fuji’s. We like a lot of other fruits and vegetables as well. My point here is that there is always going to be some fruits or vegetables that you like that are on sale. Buy what is on sale and you will save money.
Shop more than one store
Do this in conjunction with shopping the weekly flyers. Whether you do one big weekly shop at three stores or some other plan that works for you, a sure fire way to save money is to shop more than one store.
Buy less prepared foods
Most people buy prepared foods because they are convenient. They are also a lot more expensive. A bag of noodles, and a few cans of store brand cream of mushroom or chicken soup is a lot cheaper and goes a lot farther than a box of Hamburger Helper. And, it really does not take any more time to cook up you meal using the ingredients I named.
Shop on a full stomach
Nothing more really needs to be said about this.
So how do I pull all this off?
– Set a plan and stick to it
– Get the food money in cash for the week and put it in an envelope. This is your budget. When the money runs out you are done.
– Never (ever) go to the store without a list. Stick to the list!
– Treat yourself to an inpulse buy once or twice a month. Hold out money in your budget just for this. You will have something to look forward to.
Even with all of this good information some of you may be looking for a plan that is a bit more structured and disciplined. My spouse subscribes to a service called the “Grocery Game” (http://www.thegrocerygame.com/) which is essentially a formalized approach to everything I have discussed. Click here for their website. It will cost you a few bucks to join, but is well worth it as they provide you with information on sales that you will not find in the flyers. Note: this service is not available in every area.
You will find more budget saving ideas at Every Dollar Matters