WORK-LIFE BALANCE / NOV. 12, 2014
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10 Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bills

Between rising gas and food prices, your grocery budget might be through the roof. But you have to eat; therefore, you have no choice but to pay crazy prices at the checkout. Although you can’t reduce the price of food, there are several tricks to make sure your budget doesn’t get off track. Here’s a rundown of 10 ways to lower your grocery bill.

1. Combine coupons with store discounts

I know, clipping coupons is a tedious task. Admittedly, it’s my least favorite part about grocery shopping. But if you clip coupons and search for store discounts, this can translate into big savings. The secret with couponing is combining a manufacturer’s coupon with a store discount. For example, if you purchase an item that costs $2, and you have a manufacturer coupon for $.50 and a store coupon for $.50, you end up only paying a $1 for the item.

2. Participate in meatless Mondays

Preparing a few light meals during the week is another way to save on your grocery bill. I personally know a family who started meatless Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The mother didn’t think she would notice a difference in the grocery bill, but after a month, this simple adjustment saved about $75.

3. Buy fresh and chop your own veggies

It’s convenient to buy foods that are already prepared or chopped for you, but you’ll pay a premium for this convenience. To reduce your grocery bill, skip the canned or frozen aisles and buy fresh produce.

4. Shop with a list

This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people actually go to the grocery store without a list and shop off the top of their head. Although these people may get everything they need, they might also grab a few items they don’t need. When you grocery shop with a list, it’s easier to keep your shopping on track and only buy what you need.

5. Use cash for groceries

Don’t buy groceries with a credit card or a debit card. With these methods of payment, it’s easier to go over-budget. Instead, bring only cash when grocery shopping. This way, you’re forced to stick with a particular budget, which reduces the temptation to buy extra.

6. Take a generic challenge

Brand loyalty doesn’t help your wallet. To reduce your grocery bill, take the generic challenge. For an entire week, buy only generic products. This can include canned goods, cereal, medications, dairy products etc. You’ll discover that many generic versions taste just as good as their brand counterparts – but cost much less.

7. Buy ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes

Prepare dishes that require some of the same ingredients. This doesn’t mean cooking the same foods each week. But if you must buy a specific ingredient for a certain dish, make sure you can also use this ingredient with other dishes during the week. Thus, you’ll buy less and have a cheaper grocery bill.

8. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Going to the store hungry is one of the fastest ways to increase your grocery bill. When your stomach is empty, everything looks appealing and you’re more likely to purchase things you wouldn’t normally buy. On the other hand, if you go to the grocery store after a meal, since eating is the last thing of your mind you’re less likely to stock up on junk food and things you don’t need. 

9. Shop in a hurry

Consider grocery shopping when you’re in a rush. Being rushed doesn’t allow a lot of time to browse the aisles. Since your mind is set on getting in and getting out as quickly as you can, you’re forced to focus only on the items you need to purchase.

10. Swap disposable for reusable

Another approach to reducing your grocery bill is purchasing reusable items. For example, you can purchase reusable microfiber dish cloths instead of paper towels. Or use glass plates and drinking glasses to avoid buying paper cups and paper plates. Additionally, Tupperware is a better, cheaper alternative to aluminium foil or small plastic zip bags.

A tight budget requires a savings plan; and fortunately, grocery shopping is an area where you can get what you need, but spend less.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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