I’m willing to bet that you spend a good chunk of your monthly income on food.
In fact, the average household in the US spends roughly 23 percent of their pre-tax income at the grocery store. And to be honest, that number doesn’t even include what we’re spending on takeout!
However, the less money you have, the more each dollar means. And while it’s easy to splurge when you walk into a store, saving money at the grocery store isn’t as hard as you think.
Here are a few tips on how to start saving more money on your grocery bill.
Like anything else money-related, your first step should be to have a plan. Without making a meal plan ahead of time, you’re basically wandering around picking up random items that you may or may not need. You might love tomatoes, but do you have a recipe to use them before they go bad? It’s so easy to waste money this way.
Check sales papers to see what’s cheap, and plan your meals around those ingredients. If possible, pick some ingredients that you can purchase in bulk, such as rice, quinoa, or pasta, that you can serve as part of multiple meals during the week.
This one depends on how much pickup or delivery services cost in your area. But some stores offer plans that allows you to order groceries an unlimited number of times for one monthly cost. I even have a store near my house that does grocery pickup for free.
Pickup and delivery can save you plenty of money because you’re no longer making impulse buys while walking around the store. This is especially true for parents–we all know that kids are kings of impulse buying and taking them to the store always winds up costing more cash.
Sometimes, the only thing better about name brands is the marketing.
Seriously, I’d be willing to bet that your kids won’t notice the difference between JIF peanut butter and its no-name counterpart. And that store brand bleach will clean just as well as Clorox, I promise.
There are, of course, some things that are worth a splurge. It’s okay to stick with all-natural, hormone-free ground beef instead of the cheaper mystery meat sitting next to it. I often spring for the box of name-brand macaroni and cheese that comes with a sauce packet versus the store brand box with that strange cheese powder mix.
If you’re serious about getting frugal, it’s time to bust out the coupons.
The best ones usually come in the Sunday paper, but these days you can find them on tons of sites online, too. There are also store-specific coupons that some stores will email out or that are available at the front of the store.
You’ll be surprised just how much you could save by spending a little extra time clipping coupons. Research shows that just 10 minutes of coupon clipping could save an average of $7 a week. Though that doesn’t sound like a ton, that could really add up over the course of a year. Besides, why not save money on what you’re already going to buy?