As inflation and mortgage rates are rising you may be searching to cut your grocery bills. This article can help you do just that or at least give you some ideas!
Are you looking to trim your expenses? By following two simple strategies, you can easily trim your food bills by 30 to 50%.
Strategy 1: Prepare more food at home
For every dollar that the average American spends on food, 50 cents is spent on food prepared outside the home. That includes restaurant meals, fast food, and the cup of coffee and muffin purchased on the way to the office. It includes the ready-to-eat meals your grocery store offers, such as fully cooked rotisserie chickens and prepackaged deli salads. Simply reduce or eliminate these types of purchases, and you’ll see a dramatic drop in your food bill.
If you usually buy your meals on the go, developing an alternative strategy will save you big bucks. Planning ahead is key. Don’t have time to eat breakfast at home? Pack yourself a bagel and cream cheese, or a muffin or an energy bar, so you can grab it from the fridge in the morning and go.
Pack a lunch the night before, too, so you won’t have to purchase it at work. A lunch prepared at home costs less than $2; a purchased lunch can cost five times as much. Packing your lunch instead of eating out three times a week will save you $750 to $1200 a year. If you pack your lunch five days a week, you’ll save $1250 to $2000 a year.
If you’re too tired to cook dinner after a day of work, find ways to make dinner easy without calling for pizza delivery. Keep ingredients on hand in the freezer and on the shelf for quick, easy meals. Put dinner in the crockpot in the morning before you leave for work, and it will be waiting for you when you get home. Prepare casseroles ahead of time and freeze them. Have a selection of canned soups and stews on hand.
Strategy 2: Buy on sale and stock up
It’s time to change the way you grocery shop. Most of us shop every few days, thinking ahead just two or three meals at a time and buying accordingly.
By carefully watching the grocery sale ads, you’ll find that most items you use go on sale every six to twelve weeks. When something on your list goes on sale, buy enough of it to last at least six weeks. You can even track sale prices in a notebook or on a computer spreadsheet. Some sale prices are good, but others are truly outstanding. Only by tracking prices will you discover what’s really the best deal.
Make a list of everything you and your family like to eat. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Now divide that list into categories – meats, vegetables, side dishes, snacks, and so on. Of those items, a great many of them can be stored on the shelf or in the freezer. By stocking up on those items when they’re on sale, you’ll find your grocery bill will drop dramatically.
Here’s an example. If you want to eat spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (for a family of four), you’ll pay $1.89 for a pound of spaghetti, $2.89 for the sauce, and $3.59 for the ground beef to make the meatballs. That’s $8.37. But if you had stocked up on spaghetti and sauce when they went on sale for $.69 and $1.49, and put ground beef in your freezer when it was on sale for $1.49, you’d save $4.70. At first glance, that doesn’t look like very much, but if you save that much daily it amounts to over $1700 a year. Apply the same principle to breakfast, lunch, and snack foods, and watch the savings add up even more.
Make just one weekly trip to the grocery store to buy perishables such as milk, produce, and bread, and to stock up on whatever sale items you can store. When it’s time to make dinner, you simply turn to your well-stocked pantry and freezer. By eliminating mid-week trips to the store, you eliminate impulse buys. Shoppers who run to the store just to buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread end up, on average, spending another $10 in impulse buys.
Trimming your food bill can yield savings of $200 a month or more, amounting to several thousand dollars a year. It takes a little planning, but the rewards are well worth it.