For many people, rising grocery costs eat up a large portion of the family budget. Combined with eating out, food costs can quickly spiral out of control. Fortunately, by employing a few frugal shopping strategies, you can enjoy home-cooked meals without busting your wallet. Here are four ways you can slash your grocery bill without spending a lot of time stockpiling coupons.
Shop the Sales
Grocery store sale flyers are a great way to maximize your grocery budget. If you do not get the flyers mailed to you, check your favorite stores’ websites to view their online versions. Look for and stock up on loss leaders, products priced under the market cost in order to draw people into the store. Grocery stores often have a couple loss leaders each week. Typically, stores cycle sales on popular products. Keep a price book to record sale prices and dates on the common products that you buy. Over time, you will begin to spot when products hit seasonal low prices. Set aside a portion of your budget each week to stockpile food that hits rock-bottom prices.
Stock the Basics
The staples, like beans and rice, are bargains for good reason. They are generally among the most cost-effective food choices in the store. They are also versatile, allowing you to create endless meals from a few basic ingredients. When building your pantry, consider adding these foods:
- Baking Staples –flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and yeast
- Fats –olive oil, vegetable oil, and butter
- Vinegars –Balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar
- Flavorings –lemon juice, herbs, vanilla extract
- Dry and Canned Goods – beans, rice, pasta, canned tomatoes
- Fresh Foods – garlic, onions, and potatoes
Purchase in Bulk
To really save money on groceries, think long-term. For foods that are nonperishable or that can be frozen to preserve their quality, buying in bulk can offer substantial savings. Meats, for example, are frequently cheaper when buying large economy packages rather than one-meal servings. When deciding between product sizes, be sure to do the math. Calculating cost by ounce can give you a better comparison of the costs.
Warehouse clubs are another option for bulk purchasing. Offering a host of common products at discount bulk pricing, you can cut down on the number of trips you make to the store and reduce impulse buys in the process. Do a careful comparison before purchasing a membership to make sure that you can save enough money to make it worthwhile. Also, consider how far you have to drive to get to the store since added gas costs increase your overall spending.
Buy in Season
Few grocery lists are complete without some fruits and vegetables. However, there are vast price and quality difference between in season and out of season produce. To stretch your produce budget, buy fruits and vegetables in season. Supplement with frozen fruits and vegetables, which are often a better buy than out of season foods.
By applying these four concepts, you will be able to cut your grocery bill without sacrificing the quality of your food. Stocking up on sale items, basic staples, and bulk purchases can both cut the costs in the checkout line and reduce your trips to the store. Rotating in fresh, seasonal produce can make a menu varied enough to keep everyone happy.
Thanks to Freedigitalphotos.net for the photos!