When it comes to the family budget, groceries can be one of your largest line items after shelter. This is especially true for families with dietary restrictions or growing children in the home. If you’re hoping to shave down your food expenditures, here are some tips to help you rack up the savings.
Plan Meals Around Sales
Grocery stores send out fliers each week, detailing what items will be on sale. Sit down and plan your meals to include discounted items. If the store you usually shop at offers competitor price matching, circle sales at other stores you want to match. You can save plenty of money by taking advantage of sales and it may even encourage you to try out new recipes.
Get a Sunday paper and clip out coupons for items that you’ll need in the coming week. You may also want to search online for manufacturer’s coupons that can be used in conjunction with sales or store coupons. Once you’re in the store, make sure to compare the price of the name-brand item with coupons and the store brand. Sometimes, the store brand is still less expensive than a discounted name-brand product.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
If you go to the same grocery store every week, you can save a lot of money by signing up for their rewards program. These cards give you access to special deals, sales, coupons and other money-saving programs, like fuel points. Some stores even send out emails alerting you when your favorite products go on sale, while others will mail you members-only coupons. If you own a car, fuel points programs can save you a lot at the pump.
Join a Gift Card Site Like EarningStation!
Sign up for a website that offers you an incentive that you can then use to purchase groceries at no cost to you. For example, EarningStation offers gift cards for filling out surveys, shopping online or watching videos. If you spend a lot of time online anyway, making ‘free’ money this way is a great way to slash grocery costs in your spare time.
Buy in Bulk
Another great way to cut your overall grocery bill is to buy staples in bulk. Everything from baking supplies to chicken breasts can be stockpiled in the pantry or freezer, and larger amounts are cheaper in the long run than buying items on an as-needed basis. Watch the per-ounce or per-pound prices, however, as sometimes buying a lot of smaller containers of a product is cheaper than buying several large containers.
Make Meat a Side Dish
It’s undeniable that meat is likely among the most expensive items on your grocery list. The health benefits of eating less meat are also scientifically proven. To really chop your grocery budget, consider making meals where meat is an enhancement to the main course or is a side dish. For example, crumbling some seasoned ground beef into spaghetti is much less expensive than making hamburgers. Get creative and look for recipes online to inspire you.
Slashing your grocery costs is just one way to trim down the household budget. By keeping these tips in mind, you can cut costs at the checkout every trip, leading to large savings over the course of a year.