Food is essential to life, but too many folks think that means it’s a fixed expense that can’t be reduced. The average family of four can spend up to $1,276 per month on groceries, according to the Department of Agriculture, and that’s enough to put anyone’s personal finances under duress. The truth is, however, that there are plenty of ways to slash your grocery bill, and they’re really not too difficult to perform. Here are seven ways to cut the cost of your grocery purchases while keeping your pantry – and your checking account – fully stocked.
1. Get Multiple Copies of the Sunday Paper
There’s no law against picking up an extra copy of the Sunday paper, and doing so can double your savings by way of coupons, a tried and true cost-cutting technique. Get the kids to help you do the clipping to save on time, and focus on the foods your household regularly consumes.
2. Use Smartphone Apps
There are a whole bunch of grocery apps that can boost your coupon savings. Many major chains offer their own unique app, while there are others that can price compare as well. Research which ones apply to you based on your preferred location, stores, and food types, and download those that can give you the most savings.
3. Shop with a List
Shopping with a list can save you serious money. Before you leave the house for any grocery shopping trip, take an inventory of your fridge and pantry. Write down what you need, and stick to your list. Don’t be swayed by items at the checkout counter. They’re placed there for the explicit purpose of playing on your temptations.
4. Only Visit Necessary Aisles
Don’t need anything in the canned foods aisle? Then don’t go down it. Stick with your list and only visit the aisles where you truly need to buy items. If you don’t, you’re simply opening yourself up to unnecessary temptation.
5. Never Shop Hungry
This is somewhat elementary, but bears mentioning: Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Eat a meal before you go shopping, or at least make sure you’re not starving when you’re at the store. It’s a recipe for grocery overspending.
6. Use Coupons Wisely
Got a coupon for $1 off an item you’ve never bought before? Unless it’s something you’ve wanted to try, discard it and move on. The impetus behind grocers offering certain coupons is to get you to try new products, but if it’s not for something you currently use or are curious about, you’re just spending money rather than saving it.
7. Find a Local Farmers Market
Look for a local farmers market where you can get your produce. There might even be a nearby farm that sells fruits and vegetables. You get fresher produce of a higher quality, and much of the time at a reduced price. Even if it involves a modest drive, give it a try. The savings can easily outweigh the extra gas and time you spend.
Let’s say you employ several of the above tips and end up reducing your monthly food bill by $100. That’s an annual savings of $1,200. So, in December, deposit your extra savings into your 401k program or your emergency fund, or boost your college savings program balance for your kids. Saving money on groceries is great, but putting that money to its best use is even more satisfying.
What other ways can you think of to save on groceries?
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.