Even the most frugal of folks might find a grocery store to be the bane of their existence. The rising costs of goods and services has made grocery shopping a budget killer, and in the most serious of ways. However, if you can stick to a list, cut the junk food and go back to basics, it’s possible to feed your brood on just $100 per week.
No. 1: Proper planning pays off.
Don’t just create a dinner menu before heading off to the store, account for all of your meals. Plan your breakfasts lunches, snacks and dinners for each day of the week. Write it all out before you head to the grocery store. Then, use your meal plan to craft your list. In doing this, you will find it much simpler to stay away from those costly impulse buys and it will prevent you from buying things that will sit unused and go to waste – which will also waste your hard-earned cash.
No. 2: Buy (healthy) in bulk.
It’s a myth that it is more expensive to eat healthy than eat unhealthy. In fact, processed, sugary snacks often mean you’ll eat more of those foods, faster. Instead, stock up on healthy snacks in bulk. Buy things like raisins, dried fruit, in-season produce and yogurt. Prepackage your snacks in Tupperware and stock your fridge for the week. This way, when someone in the family wants some healthy grub, they can snag what you have readily available, without reaching for the goods that aren’t so good for you. When you see sale items, grab them up too. Bulk buying to stock your larder saves you big in the end.
No. 3: Be sales savvy
Create your meal plan based on the coupons and sales available from your grocer for the week. By planning your meals backwards, you put more green in your wallet, while making your shopping trip that much easier. When you are writing your menu, make sure to notate the quantity of items you need to purchase in order to get the coupon savings.
No. 4: Know your unit price.
If you want to know whether or not you are really getting a “deal” at the market, check the unit price of an item, not just its price tag. The unit price is the amount you are paying for each ounce, liter or pound of something, and it is usually printed to the right of the price label on the shelf. Many times, stores will “trick” you into thinking you are saving money on a bulk purchase, which that item actually has a higher unit price than its smaller counterpart.
No. 5: Don’t buy into the “brand”.
Just because you always buy a certain brand of something, doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal. Read the nutrition labels for a more accurate comparison of the items you are adding to your cart. Many times, the less expensive store brand has the same nutritional content as the more expensive national brand, and will be oodles cheaper to boot. Items like sauces, condiments, frozen vegetables and canned goods taste almost identical, regardless of the manufacturer. Why pay more for something if you don’t have to?
There is no real “trick” to saving money at the grocery store. With a little planning, a bit of coupon cutting and by remaining cognizant of how much things cost as you add them to your inventory, you can find yourself shaving some serious dollars from your grocery bill, without sacrificing healthy foods.