Grocery costs are one of the most expensive line items in many family budgets. According to this infographic, the average family of four in America spends nearly $12,000 a year on food.
When food alone is taking $1,000 out of the pockets of the average family of four each month, it answers some of the questions as to why America’s debt load is on the rise.
There are ways, however, to cut grocery costs and spend less on food each month. Here are 7 ways to save money on groceries that can help nearly every family reduce their monthly grocery bill.
Buy Clearance Meat
When meat gets near its expiration date, stores mark the price down between 30 and 50 percent. That adds up to big savings for families. When shopping for meat for your family, look for clearance meat, and then freeze it promptly until you’re ready to use it. Don’t shy away from the large packages of clearance meat, such as hamburger, either. Instead, break the large package down into 1 pound portions, put them in zip-locking freezer bags, and store them in your freezer.
Food industry experts will tell you that much of the generic food on supermarket shelves is the same product as the name brand item. This isn’t always the case, and sometimes generic versions of your favorite foods will turn out to not be worth the money you’re saving. However, there is a huge cost savings to be had if you can find generic items that you enjoy instead of the grabbing the name brand equivalent. Start experimenting with generic brands of foods you regularly buy and see if you can switch out some of your regular purchases for the much cheaper counterpart. You might even find some generic brands that you like more!
Buy What Is on Sale
One of the best ways to menu plan is to plan and shop around the weekly supermarket sales. If chicken is on sale one week, plan on serving several different chicken dishes, or plan on buying and freezing the chicken for later use. Plan your fresh produce spending on which fruits and vegetables are on sale in a given week. By working your weekly menu plan around what’s on sale, you can easily cut grocery spending by 30 percent or more.
Find Coupons Online Before Heading to the Store
Online coupons are in great abundance these days, waiting and ready for you to print out or use your smartphone app in order to take advantage of the savings. After making your grocery list, check online coupon sites to find coupons that match what you’re planning on buying, and then print out the coupon or store the coupon in your smartphone app in order to take advantage of extra savings.
Buy in Bulk (When it Makes Sense)
Buying in bulk can be a mixed bag when it comes to saving money on groceries. Done effectively, however, buying in bulk can lead to big savings at the grocery store. The three most important rules to remember when buying in bulk are:
- Buy only if you will use all of the product before the expiration date
- Check per ounce prices to make sure you’re truly getting a deal
- Don’t fall into using more product than you normally would simply because you have so much
By following these three rules of bulk purchases, you can make sure to maximize savings and minimize waste. If you own a chest freezer, buying meat in bulk is another huge cost savings. Farmers often sell a quarter, half or whole cow for a fraction of the per-pound cost that you’ll pay at the grocery store. The key to buying meat in bulk from local farmers is to make sure you’ll use what you’ve purchased before it gets freezer-damaged. Meat can last for roughly 9-12 months in a quality deep freezer.
Use the Cash Envelope System
There’s something about paying in cash that makes people think twice about the money they’re about to spend. In today’s electronic purchasing world, it’s easy to forget the value of the money you’ve worked so hard to earn. Paying for things in cash reminds you that the money you worked so hard to gain has the value of time attached to it, thereby allowing for some reflection before you spend it. Another great benefit of using a cash envelope system is that you have an end to your spending: when the money in your grocery envelope, for instance, is gone, then it’s gone. Budgeting and menu planning via a cash envelope system is a terrific way to save money on groceries.
Many stores in today’s world have implemented a price matching policy in order to gain more of your business. Research the different price matching programs at grocery stores in your area, and take full advantage of them in order to pay the least amount of money possible for the groceries you need.
By maximizing your grocery money savings via using the tips above, you’ll be able to save more, spend less, and have extra cash to put toward your long-term wealth building goals.