Smart & Easy Ways to Trim Your Grocery Bills
Growing up, you may have heard your parents or grandparents talk about the rising cost of living. Something like, "In my day, we used to pay 10 cents for a loaf of bread and 18 cents for a gallon of gas." Well if you've been to the grocery store, you know that the cost of groceries has risen sharply over the years, generating a good-sized grocery bill for American families. According to the USDA, in 2015, American middle-income households spent an average of nearly $6,000 a year on groceries, and lower-income families nearly $4,000.
You can't control the prices of certain items, but you can control how much you pay in total for your groceries. Here are some easy ways you can trim the fat off your grocery bill:
- Buy items on sale. You know those sales flyers you get in the mail? Instead of using them to jumpstart a campfire or line your birdcage, go through them to find good prices on the items you need.
- Do your homework. Saving money on groceries doesn't take a ton of work; it just takes smart planning. Start by planning your meals for the week. Then, make a detailed grocery list of what you'll need for ingredients. Planning ahead will ensure you avoid a costly mistake of many shoppers – going to the grocery store too many times because they forgot something.
- Set a budget. If you do your homework and know what you need and the prices for items you should have a good idea of what your grocery bill will be. .
- Clip coupons. It may not be the most exciting thing to do, but believe it or not, using coupons can still save you significantly.
- Stockpile perishable items. If you get a good price for a non-perishable item, including canned goods, flour, dried pasta, condiments, coffee, or soda, stock up.
- Buy items at dollar stores. You don't have to buy everything you need at grocery stores. There are some items, including plastic bags and cleaning products that are cheaper at dollar stores. Make a list of what you can get and visit your nearest dollar store.
- Avoid expensive brands. We all have brands we love. And if you find a good sale or have coupons for those brands, you can still enjoy them. But if you don't have a specific brand preference and can get another brand cheaper, try it out.
- Buy in bulk. If it makes sense to you, i.e., you consume a lot of a certain product or have a big family, consider buying in bulk. Before you go shopping or join a wholesale club, know your prices. Just because you are buying in bulk doesn't always mean you're getting the best price.
- Eat leftovers. One smart way to save money at the grocery store is to stay out of it. An easy way to accomplish that is to stretch your meals by eating leftovers.
- Leave your hunger at home. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is shop when you're hungry. Everything will look good to you and you'll end up spending more than you planned.
- Sign up for rewards cards. It usually only takes a few minutes to sign up for grocery store loyalty or rewards cards, but in the long term, you can enjoy significant savings when you shop with them.
Get ready to save today.
Start planning for your next shopping adventure today. You'll be amazed how quickly the savings will add up.