Save Money At The Grocery Without Coupons
I’ve been trying to whip my budget into shape for a long time now. Cutting cable? That was easy. I’m rarely home to watch it Cutting the extras from the cell phone bill? I compromised on that one. But the hardest budget category for me to get under control is food. It doesn’t help that I don’t really like to cook. I would much rather eat out. But in an effort to leave my job to be a stay-at-home mom, eating out has got to go. And so do all the extras at the grocery store. The food I buy has got to count. Considering my son’s food allergies and special diet, our grocery bill is pretty high. But I found a few ways to trim it up so we won’t be spending extra dollars we don’t have to spare.
Never shop when…. you are hungry, tired, not feeling well, or just drained. You’ll be tempted to throw anything and everything in the cart just to get the shopping done and get out of there. Instead, try to plan your grocery trips early in the morning when the store is quiet and you are fresh. You’ll have more energy to shop.
Don’t bring the kids along. I know, this isn’t always possible, but it helps. I always rush when my little guy is along because he gets bored. And he wants stuff. All kinds of whining-like-crazy-because-he-must-have-it stuff. Food he won’t eat, toys he’ll grow tired of, and nothing that is really worth getting. If you can, shop without the kids so you can think and take your time to get the best buys. Consider trading off babysitting with another friend in order to get the job done.
Avoid the endcaps. That’s where all the impulse buys are. The high calorie, processed donuts, the gourmet jelly beans, soda, and kids toys live on the ends of the aisles where you – and your children – can’t help but see them. And those over-priced, money-grabbing items practically jump in the cart all by themselves. Walk right by and don’t give them a second glance!
Shop for single ingredient items. The more items on the ingredients list, the more processed the food. The more processed the food, the more the item typically costs per pound. Consider the cost of a bag of potato chips versus a bag of actual potatoes? How much more food can you get out of that? How much more filling is a potato verses a chip?
Buy store brand. I know I’m not crazy when I say I can taste the difference between a store brand and a name brand item. But when you put it in casseroles, stews, or other multi-ingredient recipes, the ability to distinguish the flavor goes way down. Just pick and choose the items that must be name brand, and the items that can get away with being a store brand instead.
Don’t buy in bulk. Unless you know you are going to use it up before it goes bad. Don’t make the mistake of using more of it just because there is more in the packaging, either.
Don’t use coupons. Unless they are for things you actually use. Saving $1.50 on something you don’t need isn’t saving $1.50 at all. It’s wasting the other $4.79 you had to spend on it in the first place.
Pay with cash. If you only use the amount of cash you bring with you, you can’t go over your budget, although you may have to put a few things back. If you don’t like that idea, bring a calculator and add up your purchases as you go. It’ll force you to be a little more creative and pick and choose what foods are important.
Make a meal plan and a list. Plan your meals in advance, and piggy back one meal with the previous days leftovers. Throw that extra bit of ham into some homemade split pea soup (dried lentils are super cheap!) or make wraps with the leftover chicken. This stretches your food and your budget. Make a list based on what you’ll be eating and stick to it. Plan to have a meatless meal or two during the week. In our house, we love breakfast for dinner. Making pancakes with fruit makes for a pretty inexpensive and somewhat healthy meal.
Budget for specials. I like to plan a little over and above my weekly needs at the store each week to be able to stock up on sale meats and freezer items for my home freezer. It’s great to have extra food on hand for company, or for when the budget gets extra tight. Stocking up when things are on sale will save you money in the long run, as long as you don’t go crazy. Rotate the foods in the freezer or pantry so nothing spoils.
Eat whats in season. Berries are much less expensive in the summer, but the price soars during the winter due to shipping costs. Eat what is local and in season to get the most bang for your fruit and veggie bucks. It is healthier, fresher, and it is good for the farmers (and local economy) too. For coupons you can check out Lowes 20 off coupon as well. With these coupons you get discount on your shopping and grocery bills all the time, which is a really effective way of saving yourself some money.