The average family of four spends approximately $168 per week on groceries, according to the US Census Bureau statistical data. That may go up or down, depending on the area you live in, how many children are in the home (and their ages), or how often the family eats away from home.
Using the following tips can save your family a ton of money. You may even cut your average bill as much as 70-75%, if you are willing to put the work in.
1. Plan your meals. Before you go shopping, go through your cookbooks, pick out your favorite recipes and write down the ingredients that you need. Try to plan meals that are low budget and simple (think pastas, soups, vegitarian dishes). Be sure to check the cupboards to make sure that you don’t already have that pound of spaghetti or can of cream of chicken soup before you go.
2. Make a list – and stick to it. Be sure to include breakfast and lunch items, along with snacks. It is a well known fact, that people tend to do a lot of impulse buying at the grocery store. There are numerous reasons as to why. Keep checking back for tips on how to avoid this, but for now, just be sure to stick to your shopping list. If you really feel the need, put a dollar limit on your impulses (i.e. allow yourself no more than $5.00 to buy a snack not on your list). After all, does your family really need that extra box of fruit snacks because they’re on sale?
3. Go shopping as infrequently as possible. After all, those impulse buys are less likely to occur if there are less trips to the store. If you can plan for a month’s worth of meals and snacks, then you only have to go once per month. Invest in a freezer to help with storage. You may even find a used one on craigslist or ksl.com. Only go back for fresh fruits, veggies and milk, if you can.
4. Buy in bulk. That’s not to say more food = less money. In other words, instead of buying individual packs of crackers for the kid’s lunches, buy a box. Also, the bagged cereals are quite a bit less than the boxes. You may get two to three times more for the same price. The cereal tastes the same, and usually even looks the same as the original — it just may not have that free prize or code inside. Worried about the kids spilling the bags? Purchase plastic cereal containers. A small initial investment is going to save your family a ton over a short time.
5. Buy generic. So many people are afraid of the store brands. In truth, they are typically equivalent to (and sometimes even better than) the name brand. Saltine crackers are the same whether they are made by Nabisco or the generic. I promise, the kids won’t even notice!
6. Shop around. Sometimes, fruit at one store may be less expensive than at another. Or perhaps one grocery store carries a product that the other doesn’t. For example, in the Ogden area, Winco does not carry a one pound chub of ground turkey. Walmart, however, does. The ground turkey is significantly less expensive than using ground beef or pork, so that item would be put on the list to purchase at Walmart. One or two dollars for a pound of ground meat may not seem significant until you realize, that you are going to use 10 pounds of ground meat this month. Now, that two dollars just turned into 20!
This list is just to get you started. Check back later next week for inexpensive meal and snack ideas.
If you enjoyed this article, and would like to read more like it. Please click the subscribe button at the top of this page.