During this past year it seems that food prices have been rising. You might be asking yourself, “Where can I cut back to save money?” Begin with a spending plan at the grocery store. This is one place where most people can save some extra money. It just takes time to practice and to develop a spending plan for the grocery store if you haven’t done it before.
Know how much you’re spending. When you spend $60 at the grocery store one week and $100 the next, you may not realize that your monthly grocery bill is one of your biggest expenses. Save your receipts and analyze them regularly. You will be surprised at how much you spend on groceries, and how much you can save by shopping more carefully. Take time to create a food budget. This will help assure that you spend only what you budgeted.
Plan to have more family meals at home. Have meal planning be a family affair. Write up a menu of the meals and snacks you plan to prepare for the week, while making sure they are affordable and fit your food budget.
Plan every shopping outing. Experts say that planning meals in advance and making detailed shopping lists can cut your grocery spending by 20 percent or more. Before you go to buy groceries check to be sure of what you need. Review the store flyers and build your plan around what’s on sale, and the best coupon deals. Buying in bulk when possible can help you save in the long run.
Stick to your list. Grocery stores are designed to entice you to buy more with their irresistible marketing. By sticking to your list, you will only purchase what you need and “get in and get out” of the grocery store quicker.
Do not shop on an empty stomach. If you go to the store hungry, you will most likely purchase more food than you need, including expensive items as well.
Avoid buying impulse items because they’re on sale. While 10 items for $10.00 can be a good deal, it can be costly if you only use a couple of the items.
If possible, leave the young kids at home. Young children naturally want all of the products that are marketed to them and conveniently placed at their “eye” level. Save the battle, extra food dollars and try to shop alone. If you have to take them with you, involve them in the shopping experience by having them help you find items you are looking for.
Break yourself of “brand” habits. Generic or store brands are generally better buys. Commodities such as sugar, flour, tomato sauce and paper towels are often indistinguishable when the label is removed. Some store brands are different from their national-brand equivalents, so buy small amounts at first to test quality and flavor.
For more information, contact Sherri Halsell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Clay County agent, at (940) 538-5042, for more.
Source: Rutgers Cooperative Extension