Saving money is important, but it takes more than just tucking away a portion of your paycheck to really be successful at it. Cutting corners to reduce your monthly bills, as well as other measures, such as spending less at the grocery store, are equally important. Here are some tips and hints to help you keep costs down when you head out to do your food shopping.
You don’t have to be an extreme couponing master to take advantage of the money-saving opportunities found in coupons, which can really make a significant difference in the total amount you spend at the grocery store. Your first, and often best, resource for coupons is still the Sunday edition of your local newspaper, but don’t forget to look into rewards programs and bonus shopping cards that might be offered by your favorite stores, and also check online for printable coupons. Great places to look are on manufacturer’s websites, and websites devoted to any favorite brands you might have, as well as your market’s website if they happen to have one. Another strategy for obtaining coupons is signing up for newsletters at these various websites, as they often feature money-saving offers. If you’re concerned about the extra amount of email generated by this technique, you can create a separate folder just for this purpose and direct the mail straight into it, or, you can also create an entirely separate account specifically for them.
Purchase produce that’s in-season
If you’re craving a tomato in your salad in the middle of January, be prepared to pay substantially more for it than you would in the summer months. When you buy produce that’s been shipped in from wherever in the world it happens to be the proper growing season, not only are you paying more than you should, but you’re also taking part in a practice that’s damaging to the environment.
Plan your meals
We all know that it’s important to use a list when we go grocery shopping, and also to not shop when we’re hungry. Another effective way to avoid overspending is to create a weekly meal plan. Try sitting down at some point over the weekend, and working out a week’s worth of menus. You can then create a shopping list of necessary ingredients from the menu plan, fill in the blanks with other household items you might need, and you’re done!
Take full advantage of your freezer
Learn to “feed the freezer” at the same time you feed your family. Simply prepare more than you’ll need for each meal and freeze the extra portions for easy and quick meal options in the coming weeks. If you try this technique and find that you enjoy having the extra meals at hand, and if you have enough space, try Googling “once a month cooking” for a whole range of tips and tricks on how to prepare food in advance and stock your freezer to save money and time all month long.
It may seem like a foreign concept right now in the cold months of the year, but, spring really is right around the corner and there’s no time like the present to start planning a vegetable garden. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available online and in your local library if you’re a novice gardener, and make it your goal to enjoy fresh, delicious produce all summer long for a tiny fraction of what you would pay at the grocery store, or even at the farmer’s market, not to mention the satisfaction of knowing you grew it in your own soil with your own hands.
Keep these tips in mind to help you become more experienced at saving money on your grocery bill.