For many people living in the US and Canada buying groceries is the second-highest monthly expense after paying their mortgages or rents. Eating is such a necessity for human life that we often can’t afford to think it over. That’s when we lose control (let’s face it, it probably happens every week) and overspend. But what if you could trim $50 a week from your grocery bill? In a year you would be saving approximately $2,500. Think of how you will reward yourself with those savings as you go through these surprisingly easy tips:
The perfect time to shop
Out with the crowded Tuesdays and Saturdays, in with the Wednesdays when groceries release their weekly circular. You’ll have first dibs on everything on sale, and the chance to still find something from the previous week’s promotions.
Say no to national brands
Why? Because you will be buying the same canned tomato soup but at a higher price that also covers TV commercials and magazine ads expenses. Choose the store’s name brand or the cheaper brand, and stick with it if you are satisfied.
Turn to niche markets
The thing with big chain stores is that you can buy everything but not always at the lowest prices. Go to the market to buy meat, fish, dairy and fruits. Niche grocers have their special product that they often sell cheap.
Know your regular prices
For stuff that you are purchasing often, you should know the price so you can recognize a bargain when you see one. Whenever there’s something on sale that you use regularly, stock up!
Show some love for local businesses
Apart from the fact that you are actually helping communities evolve, each of your dollars is far well spent at an independent business than at a chain store. Bonus – you always get good advice and the chance to try out items before you buy them.
Don’t pay extra for convenience
Dying to skip cooking and pick up some frozen casseroles? Better yet, tempted to dine out? Bail out these thoughts and go for a quick home-cooked meal. It will cost you a fraction of a dinner out and it will be healthier too. Try a dish with minimal prep time, mainly veggie-related, that can be cooked in the oven or crockpot.
Stick to the plan
This implies planning your meals ahead of the week and sticking to the grocery list. No lingering around on what to cook next, no take-outs, no impulse purchases, only a surprisingly positive difference in your food budget.
Shop by season
When a produce is in season not only is it at its tastiest and most nutritious, it is also at its cheapest. Plus, consider buying cheaper vegetables and fruits like onions, potatoes, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, apples by the bag.
Don’t rely so heavily on meat
Meat is getting more and more expensive. Cutting it off your menu might not be an option, but you can get creative. Use your favorite cuts of pork, turkey, beef or chicken in dishes where meat doesn’t necessarily steal the show: lasagna, thai rice, spaghetti with sauce, crockpot stew, calzones, slow cooker sheperd’s pie.
Make the most of food
Leftovers are golden, they make the best burritos, all you need is tortilla shells, a little bit of cheese and lots of salsa.
Keep it high, keep it low
Less expensive brands and best deals are always on the top and bottom shelves. The middle shelves are for companies that pay top bucks to showcase their products at your eye level.
Double coupon days
You can stretch your savings at some groceries where coupons are actually doubled in value. Check out all the stores that offer double coupons in every state.
Having a balanced diet is crucial for your well-being, but it doesn’t have to ruin you. Try any of these tips and see how your eating habits will change to the better and to the cheapest.