During the poor economic times, individuals and families everywhere are looking for ways to lower their budget and save some money. The best way to do this is to sit down, draw out your budget, and decide which of the items can be lowered. Many people often overlook the expense for groceries, but that’s a mistake. Simply going to the store aimlessly, looking for the food you want is the worst way to shop. By being more organized and having a plan, anybody could save up to $70 per month or so. Here’s a look at how to do it:
1. Always have a list when you do your grocery shopping. When you don’t have a list, you buy more than you need and you’re more prone to impulse purchases. These two mistakes that come from shopping without a list can cost a lot of money. If you plan your meals for the week, shop for only what is needed for those meals (and maybe a few snacks for the week), you’ll spend only what is needed. Organization is the key to this step. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $20
2. Shop for the best price-per-ounce. Maybe you’re shopping for a box of cereal. The small box is $2.99 (for 12 ounces) and the large box is $3.99 (for 19.5 ounces). Your instinct would tell you to buy the small box and save $1.00. But the small box of cereal is 25 cents per ounce while the large box is 20.5 cents per ounce. You don’t need to be a whiz at math to find the best deal. The price per ounce or price per unit is listed on every price tag. You end up paying 33% more ($1.00) more for the cereal, but you get 62.5% (7.5 ounces) more cereal. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $10
3. Never shop while you’re hungry. Everyone has heard this saying, but not everyone understands it. When you are hungry, everything looks good and you put more food in your cart that, once you’re home and fed, you won’t find that desireable. Three months later that item will still be in your cupboard. Shopping hungry also leads to people rushing their shopping trip to get home and grab a bite to eat. It takes time to look for the best deals and the prices per ounce, and if you rush, you’ll miss the best deals. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $15
4. Don’t be afraid of generic brands. Imagine that you need peanut butter. A 32 ounce jar of JIF is $3.99, Skippy is $3.99, and the store brand is $3.29. It might not be a huge savings, but if you do that throughout the month, those 70 cent savings will add up very quickly. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $15
5. Don’t fall into the trap of sale items. Even if an item is on sale, it still might not be a better deal than the alternative. Remember to compare those price-per-ounce deals. Let’s look at the cereal scenario again. 12 ounce box of cereal for $2.99 or 19.5 ounce box of cereal for $3.99. We’ve already decided that the big box is the better deal. But what if the 12 ounce box goes on sale for $2.59. The price-per-ounce is now 21.6 cents per ounce while the big box is still 20.5 cents per ounce. Although it’s much closer, the big box is still the better deal despite the sale. ESTIMATED MONTHLY SAVINGS: $10
As you can see when you add up the estimated monthly savings, you can save up to $70 per month. Many people have already been following one or more of these rules, so the full savings might not be possible. But with up to $70 per month, the annual savings could be $840! That’s enough to keep a closer eye on your spending, right?