The average family spends $5,877 per year just on groceries!! That is the third highest category (mortgage #1, transportation #2). Here are a few tips to help cut down your food bill.
- Set a Budget – Figure out how much you can comfortably spend on groceries a month. Then aim to cut it by 10% the next month. If that is easy to do then try to cut it down by another 10% the next.
- Establish a Meal Plan – Think of 7 dinners you can fix during the week. Make sure to look at your grocery ad to see what meats are on sale and try to buy in bulk (when buying in bulk, price per pound can drop down to $1 less a pound) Write down and buy only the ingredients you will need that’s not already in your cabinets.
- Create a Standing List – Chart down and track all the items you buy regularly and it will remind you when it’s time to replenish those items. Doing this will your odds of running out and wasting gas to go to the store to buy and possibly buy other items
- Stockpile Sale Items – Keep a notebook with non-perishable items and the average prices you find on them. Doing so you will be able to notice and see when the prices hit rock bottom, and paired with coupons could make them cheap or possibly free.
- Pay With Cash – Withdraw your weekly grocery allowance from the atm. Leave your debit and credit cards at home so you won’t be attempted to exceed your limit and buy unnecessary items.
- Earn Perks For Being Social – Like your favorite brands on Facebook and twitter. They often release coupons to their fans that you won’t find anywhere else.
- Time Your Trips – The best day to buy groceries is on Sunday. That is when new coupons come out and a lot of stores new sales ad starts that day. Next runner up is Monday or Tuesday. These days the stores are restocking and will have a full stock of their sale items. If it is sold out, no worries. Just ask for a rain check and if you have a coupon make sure they staple it to the rain check. If the coupon expires before they have the item back in stock they will still honor the coupons as long as they are stapled to the rain check
- Target Your Stops – If you have a smartphone, check out the app Grocery IQ. It tracks prices at stores in your area. This app is FREE for iPad, iPhone, and Android.
- Pick The Right Place – If you stick to one supermarket stick with stores like Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, Stop and Shop, Ralphs, and Publix. These “high-low” stores – one with high regular prices but low sale ones- will help you cut your bill without giving up your favorite brands when buying their specials.
- Embrace Couponing – The average grocery coupon is worth $1.46. Most stores offer “double coupons” which doubles the coupon sometimes up to 75¢! Clip coupons out of your Sunday Paper, load coupons onto your store loyalty card, check out the printable coupons available on Life of a Southern Mom, and even upload coupons to your smartphone!
- Scan for Savings – A lot of stores and manufacturers are adding QR codes to their product packaging. Use a free app such as ShopSavvy (free on iPad, iPhone, and Android) to get special deals at checkout.
- Bag Annual Deals – Many foods around a certain holiday will be cheaper than any other time of the year. Memorial and Independence Day, you can usually find BBQ Items on sale. Thanksgiving, stock up on baking supplies and whole turkeys. Valentine’s day, stock up on shrimp and steak. Easter, stock up on eggs and ham.
- Compare Food Prices Across Departments – Nuts may be 25% less expensive in the baking department than in the fresh produce. Cheese might be less in the dairy section rather than at the deli, and beans and rice are often cheaper in the international foods area than in the canned-food aisles.
- Go early or late – Early mornings are the best times to find meats that are marked down that must be sold that day. Late in the evenings is the best time to find bakery deals that are marked down that must be sold before the store closes.
- Check for pricing Mistakes – Make sure to watch the screen when you are checking out and look at your receipt good. Make sure all of your coupons scanned properly and that buy one get one free deal scanned right.
- Do Your Own Chopping – You can save 50% or more if you buy your own produce and chop it up. You pay a lot for the convenience of not having to chop up those onions or bell peppers. Even with bagged salad you are paying more. The same goes for trail mix. Purchase large packages and then mix them yourself. You will come out with twice as much for a fraction of the cost.
- Avoid Marketing Tricks – Items marked 10 for $10 sounds like a great deal, but usually it’s not. Volume discounts are usually no different from the product’s regular price.
We would love to hear from you! How much do you usually spend a week on groceries? The average family spends $76-$100 a week.
With my family of 4 we average about $125 a week.
Simply Southern Couponers – adapted from Parents Magazine.