If you are one of the millions of Americans resolving to save money this year, then money spent on groceries is a great place to start. Yes, we all have to eat, and spending less on groceries does not have to mean eating less. It is worth investing a little bit of time before setting foot in the grocery store in order to save money. Here are some ways you can make the change and cut back as early as your next shopping trip.
Plan a grocery budget • Knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend on groceries each month keeps you on track from the beginning and forces you to think strategically (ListPlanIt.com has lots of pages to help you set up a budget and stick to it in Financial Planning).
Set measurable and reasonable goals • Evaluate each week and tweak your budget instead of just once a month • Create a Menu Plan for the week and list the ingredients needed on your grocery list. Be specific. Stick to your list. (ListPlanIt has lots of menu planning pages as well as grocery lists in Meal Planning.)
Spend cash to stay on budget • Nothing will keep you on budget more than limiting your grocery spending to cash only. Once the money in your envelope is gone, it’s gone!
Don’t let your food dollars go to waste • According to the USDA, 10-40% of a family’s groceries are wasted. • Reduce your waste: 1) Serve smaller portions. 2) Save and use leftovers (within a few days or freeze). 3) Use the food you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. (Find Pantry, Refrigerator, and Freezer Inventory pages in Meal Planning.)
Live by the 5-minute rule • If it takes you 5 minutes or less to prepare an item, don’t buy precooked, prewashed or precut. Save money and do it yourself.
Cook meals at home • Making your own pizza is less expensive that delivery. • Homecooked food not only tastes better, but it also means less processing, sodium, and fat.
Steer clear of fast food • Don’t pay the high price of convenience eating when you are trying to curb your eating budget.
Consider other options • Use coupons. • Pay close attention to circulars and ads. • Buy in bulk.