For most people, the quickest way to see a tangible difference in their pocket book is by examining personal food expenditures, and attacking that aspect immediately.
Because unlike other fixed income expenses that are consistent every month, such as a mortgage or insurance bill, monthly food bills can vary widely within each household. One month you may be holding strong at $300 for the month, and then the next month, it’s $500, but you can’t figure out from where the increase came.
As painful as it is, the most important tool in lowering your grocery budget is by tracking your expenses for at least one month. (Groan…feel free, I feel your pain.) The necessity behind this horrible task is so that you can see where all those missing fives and twenties are disappearing (and they do disappear, don’t they?). You can then take an honest look at how you’re doing in the food department. Now remember, keep all those receipts, and get the other family members on board with you. Recently, we’ve had a chit chat with our teen sons about the additional beverages being purchased when they fill up the car with gas, not to mention the fast food wrappers hidden between the seats. That’s all part of it and that adds up quicker than one realizes. Those kind of purchases completely kill my grocery shopping on a budget.
I am going to continue tackling this topic in more detail, since it’s so necessary. I am slowly working on some great printable PDF files to help us in the planning process, but sometimes it’s a reminder of the little tips that make a difference.
Here are some of my top money saving grocery tips that I have touched on in past posts:
- Examine the unit price before you buy (bigger is not always better or cheaper).
- Keep a price book for the items you use most often, and include the unit prices (PDF will be coming).
- Be observant and look for hidden deals (hint: colored stickers, and this trip was the BEST!)
- Cook from scratch as much as you possibly can. This one we know, but difficult to always implement.
- Easiest to implement: Plan your shopping trip and menu/meal plan AFTER you see what’s on sale for the week
- Combine coupons with sales (and only for items you will use, but if they’re free, just donate them.)
- Stockpile when the price is right
- Look for unadvertised sales (and know when your stores markdown meats, dairy and bakery items (ah….Krispy Kreme)
- Don’t waste anything; get creative
- Eat from your pantry – you’ll be amazed what is hiding down deep.
Some of you have your food budget under control, and I’d love for my readers to glean some wisdom from you. Let’s see if we can get to the top fifty money saving tips. And if some of you have questions, these Tasty Tuesday ladies are a wealth of information, so ask away.
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