Do you ever wonder why some households with a double income seem to be always out of pocket while some families on welfare are able to save money? While prices are always on the increase, you might find it difficult to save money without affecting your lifestyle. Here are a few tips that should help you reduce the amount of money you spend in your grocery shopping.
Plan your meals in advance
If you plan on doing your grocery shopping for a week, plan your meals so that the fresh fruits and vegetables you buy will be eaten first; frozen fruit and vegetables may not be the best but these are healthier than a broccoli that has been stored in a fridge for a week. Most fresh meat can be frozen so you can buy it in bulk, as long as you remember to freeze what is not going to be used within 2-3 days as soon as you get home from your shopping trip.
Make a shopping list and stick to it
Use your meal planner so that you know what foods to buy. A shopping list is not only a great time-saver as you will be less likely to walk aimlessly around your supermarket wondering what you forgot but it can also save you money because if you are determined to buy only what is on the list, it will be easier to resist temptations in the shop.
Buy generic brands
Those are often just as good as more expensive leading brands. The products are often made in the same factories, using the same ingredients; the main difference is that companies that spend less on advertising and packaging can afford to sell their items at lower prices. Are you buying food or financing an advertising campaign?
Use coupons and promotions
These are a bit tricky because they can make you buy products that you don’t need. Have you ever bought a new product that was reduced but ended up throwing it in the bin because nobody in your house would eat it? I know the feeling, this often happens with products having advertising campaigns aimed at children. If there is a promotion on a product you already use and you know you are going to consume before the “use by” date, stock up on it. If you have coupons, don’t feel obligated to use them; as for promotions, if they are for a product you already use and like, take advantage; if they are for a product you think or know you won’t use, give them to someone you know: they might return the favor.
If you have friends that collect coupons, organize a coupons exchange meeting once a week; don’t ruin yourself on refreshments; a coffee morning with a few biscuits is enough: just make sure everyone takes turns holding the meeting at his or her own house. These “collecting coupons” friends are most likely to be aware of current promotions and bargains and even if you end up with no valuable coupons, you will come out with useful information. You can also exchange used books, CDs, DVDs, clothes (this really works: I bought very few clothes for my eldest daughter until she turned 5) and other items.
Shop less often
My “weekly shopping” is often done every 8 or 9 days; not having time constraints helps a lot but if the only time you have for your grocery shopping is the week-end, maybe you can try and plan for 5 or 6 days and make your purchases last a full week. If you have a weekly spending budget for groceries and spend it only 3 times per month, imagine how much money you will save over one year!
Don’t run out of anything
You have applied all of the above tips but find that you have suddenly run out of toothpaste and you have to make a quick trip to the corner store where they charge everything double? Don’t let this happen anymore; make a fridge list. Don’t just use your fridge magnets to decorate your refrigerator! Use them efficiently: take stock of all of your non-perishable items, whether in the kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere; when you notice that your instant coffee is running low or when you start the last toilet roll, put a tick on the list beside them so that you know that you must add them to your next shopping list.