The following article is a guest post from GenTM of oDesk Success Stories.
In recent years, consumers have been paying more for just about everything. With the increases in the costs of food, shoppers have noticed that feeding their families is consuming a substantial part of their monthly budget. Fortunately, there are easy ways to save money on food. Following these tips from We Know Money savings advice can make grocery shopping less of a burden on a budget.
Shop with a Game Plan
It is advantageous to a list of needed items to the store when grocery shopping. This simple activity will eliminate overbuying. Many people that go grocery shopping are clueless as to what they have in their pantries and buy items they already own. Using a menu to grocery shop ensures that all of the ingredients necessary to prepare meals are in the home. Having the right ingredients to prepare meals limits repeat trips to the supermarket and reduces the money spend on restaurant dining and take-out food.
Take Advantage of Sales
Grocery stores place circulars in the weekly paper. The circulars notify consumers of any products that are on sale that week. Use the circular to create a shopping list and plan meals. Nothing stays on sale forever, if a regularly bought food item is on sale, buy it in bulk. Frozen items and non-perishables are ideal for bulk purchases. If storage space is an issue, add an extra shelf to the pantry or purchase a plastic storage bin to store the items.
Using coupons is a good way to save on food. Typically, coupons are found in the weekly paper. When creating a shopping list, combine the coupons with any sales in the circular to increase the savings. It is important to keep in mind the supermarket’s coupon policies. Some stores will allow double coupons on certain days. Also, be on the lookout for coupon machines that are located around the store and coupons that may be on the products themselves.
Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are flash-frozen to help preserve their nutrients and flavour. An advantage to buying frozen foods is the price. These products often cost less than their counterparts in the fresh produce aisle. Buying frozen food also reduces waste. Frozen foods can be portioned to the amount used for the meal and stored in the freezer. Fresh produce does not last long and overbuying can result in a waste of food and money.
Buy In-Season Produce
If froze produce is not an option, consider buying produce that is in-season and local. In-season produce tends to be less expensive. Also, consider farmer’s markets. Farmer’s markets are a great source of fresh vegetables that do not cost as much as the produce purchased in the grocery store. Purchasing produce at farmer’s markets also helps to support the local economy.
Buy Generic or Store Brand Products
Well-known, big-named brands tend to be pricier than the generic or store brands. In some instances, there is not that much difference between the product’s ingredients to justify the price. Compare the two labels. If the nutritional value and ingredients are nearly identical, buy the generic or store brand version.
Pick the Right Time to Food Shop
People tend to spend more money on food than necessary. As much as not taking advantage of sales and coupons can result in higher food bills, so can timing, mental state and shopping with others. If possible, shop for groceries earlier in the day. The stores are less crowded, making shopping quicker and reducing the chances of purchasing more food than intended. Shopping while tired and hungry are bad ideas. Tired shoppers are more prone to buying sugary foods and foods high in carbohydrates. Shopping while hungry causes people to buy too much. Also, try to shop without the kids. Kids have a habit of wanting and grabbing everything they see. While they mean well, the grocery bill may end up being higher than expected.
It does not seem that the cost of food is becoming any less expensive. However, people need to eat and the cost of food for families can be a huge part of the budget. Following these tips can help reduce the costs of food, leaving more room in the budget.
GenTM is a freelance writer and a blogger. She enjoys writing about personal finance, budgeting, investment and mortgage. Her personal blog is called oDesk Success Stories where she writes about her experiences as a freelancer.