When families begin to examine their spending habits, one of the first things they look at is how much is being spent on food. Typically the first thing to go is all the eating out they have been doing. Next on the chopping block is their monthly grocery budget. When money is tight parents want to know how they can save money on groceries and we all know how expensive it can be to go to the grocery store every week. Often you feel like you’ve spent a small fortune and walked out of the store with not much to show for it.
This feeling hasn’t changed in decades. In fact, I was recently reading to my Grandmother from one of her old Reader’s Digest magazines and came across the following quote that still resonates true today. One woman says to another as they leave the supermarket: “I’ve always wanted to spend money lavishly, but I certainly never thought it would be on sugar, milk, bread and mayonnaise” – Frankling Folger, Field Newspaper Syndicate ~ Reader’s Digest August 1975
Families have been struggling to fill their shopping carts for over 40 years to feed a hungry family and not to broke at the cash register. Thankfully there are several easy things we can do to help limit what we must spend and reduce our overall monthly budget.
How To Save Money On Groceries
Shop The Sales ~ I vividly remember my mother every Sunday afternoon going over the grocery sales ads. It was her weekly ritual as she planned our meals and decided what to add to our stock pile that week. As I got older she would have me help her come up with a meal plan, match the coupons to the sales, and then go with her to the grocery store.
While clipping coupons and using apps will help save you a little money, most of your savings each week will come by shopping the store sales. These are the items they put in their flyer, also referred to as lost leaders. They often make these sales a little extra enticing to bring you into the store hopping you will spend extra money on the things you hadn’t intended on purchasing. Remember, the better the promotion the bigger your saving will be.
It’s also important to remember that if you want to save money on groceries you need to learn your stores sales cycle. Almost everything will go on sale every twelve weeks in a rotating cycle. Now and then you they will changes things up a bit such as baking supplies going on sale more often around the holidays. However, throughout most of the year you can time a when an item will be on sale.
But just how do you know if a sale really is a good deal? I’m glad you asked! That brings me to point two.
Create And Use A Price Book ~ I have a grocery price book that I created a couple of years ago and keep updated so that I always know when a sale is a real sale. I then try to always purchase food when it is on sale at or near its rock bottom price. If it is at the rock bottom price I try to pick up a couple of extra for my stock pile. Which is a simple list I keep updated at the back of my price book that way it is always easily accessible when I am at the grocery store.
I have literally saved hundreds of dollars over the past couple of years by simply knowing the difference between when something is an okay deal and when something is a must buy now deal. While it does take a little work in the beginning to get setup it is worth the effort to my families bottom line and I know it would be for yours as well.
After creating a grocery price book your goal should be to only ever buy a product when it is at its lowest price. And if you take the time to create a stockpile then you should never have to pay full price again!
Use Coupon Apps ~ Using your coupon apps and paper coupons are a great way to save a little extra money at the register. However, I don’t build my budget around these savings. I know there are lots of “coupon queens” out there who have a system down and can save hundreds, bring home free items and create a stockpile to feed a small country on $10.00 a week. I however am not one of those women and I bet you aren’t either.
I do however have my favorite coupon apps including Saving Star, and Checkout 51. And there are those apps that save or make me money after I have left the store like Wal-Mart Saving’s Catcher, Receipt Hog and Receipt Pal. I use these apps every time I go grocery shopping and it never fails to put a little money back into my pocket.
Stockpile To Save Money ~ One of the many lessons my Grandmother taught mom was the importance of having a stockpile. Not only does it help you save money, but it provides an extra measure of security for your family during a layoff. By purchasing extra of the products your family uses the most when they are on sale at their lowest price you will be saving money in the long run.
In order to begin building a stockpile you need to know how often your family will eat a specific food item during the time between its lowest sale price. For example, my family uses Prego sauce to make both spaghetti and lasagna. At my local Wal-Mart the “everyday low price” is $2.00 for the 24oz jar. I know that the lowest price I can purchase it, by taking advantage of the price match policy, is at 4 for $5.00 or $1.25 a jar which saves me $3.00 on 4 jars of Prego sauce. I also know that my family will use 4-6 jars of the sauce during a 12 week cycle. By buying 12 jars of sauce at $1.25 each I have spent $20.00 and saved $12.00 and I will have put away 6-8 jars of sauce. Thus ensuring I never ever have to pay full price again.
Your stockpile doesn’t have to be huge, just keeping a few items stockpiled will help ease your food budget. While I have made it my goal to have a stockpile of between six and twelve months of food you may choose only to have enough on hand to get you to the next rock bottom price. Neither method is wrong.
Your stockpile doesn’t need to consist of only highly processed food either. You can actually make it quite healthy. I personally only keep about ten store bought items in my stockpile. I also have a garden and grow enough to home can several variety of veggies and keep them on hand as well. I also home can the turkey my husband is given at Christmas by his employer and use the meat to make turkey tacos every Tuesday.
What are some of your favorite ways to save money on groceries? Please share in the comments below so we can all learn a new trick or two!
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