Just when you think it can’t get any tighter, the home budget takes another hit. Breaking open the piggy bank doesn’t help when food prices skyrocket out of control. You only have so much to spend, and you have to stretch it out. Shopping for groceries is one area that gives you back some control and saves the piggy bank for a rainy day. It takes a little strategy, and these tips will get you started.
1. Planning makes a big difference. Browsing the aisles is a recipe for impulse shopping. Plan meals around selections that work with several dinners. Make a couple of pounds of hamburger do double duty. Put spaghetti on the menu for dinner, and cook up meat loaf another night.
2. Support your local house brands. National brands cost more because they spend more on advertising and packaging. Compare the ingredients in a national brand of anything to the house brand. They’re the same, so buy that lower cost item, and save money while you’re spending it locally.
3. Don’t blow it buying bulk. Your family loves chicken cooked a thousand ways, so buying the value pack works. Freeze it up, and you’re ahead of the menu planning game. Don’t buy bulk just because the price is low. Ten pounds of anything in the freezer is a waste of money if your family won’t eat it.
4. Coupons aren’t just for clipping. Everything is online including savings at your local grocery. Their website features weekly specials and coupons that you can print at home. National brands also offer online discounts. Coupons still come through the mail and the local papers, so keep the scissors handy.
5. Don’t buy beauty at the grocery store. It’s too easy to grab a lipstick when you just need bread. Grocery stores have aisles dedicated to personal items, but don’t pay the price. Makeup and hair products are expensive enough, so mark these off your food list, and shop for them at discount stores.
Get into the habit of planning before you head to the grocery store. Follow online blogs for real-world advice, and check you area paper for local specials. Tune into radio programs that focus on money-saving suggestions, like the John Labunski Dallas news show. His broadcasts focus on practical ideas that help you hang on to your hard earned cash. Times are tough, but with the right strategy, you can put away the hammer and start stuffing some savings back into that piggy bank.