It’s possible to save money on groceries without making every meal from scratch, buying several freezers, and carrying around your weight in coupons. There are many things you can do to help cut costs, save pennies, and spend less on the grocery bill each month. Managing your finances involves more than just taking time to get your credit report checked. Financial stewardship and smart money decisions begin at home with the necessities. Nothing is more necessary for life than food, and while you have to spend money on groceries, you do not have to break the bank to prepare meals for your family–and you are not limited to bologna and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or Ramen Noodles, either. Here are some helpful tips that can help you cut down on the grocery bills.
Keep a Grocery List and Keep Stock of your Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer
Knowing what you have on hand in the pantry can help you plan your meals to ensure you are using the food to which you have easy access. By keeping tabs on the contents of the fridge, you will know what is about to go bad and what needs to be used quickly. By monitoring the freezer you can ensure food does not get shoved tothe back and forgotten before it is freezer burned beyond use. The biggest benefit, though, comes from being able to cut down on trips to the store. Knowing what you already have on hand will allow you to make a shopping list, buy what you need, and not have to run back out for repeat shopping trips because you thought you had something. This will save a bundle in gas money as well as food costs.
Keep an Eye on the Trash Can
Much of the money we could savein the cost of food comes from food that gets thrown out. Milk that goes bad, wilted lettuce, spoiled eggs, and rotten fruit–the list goes on and on. If we can rotate the food we buy and make sure we use what will spoil quickest at the beginning of the week, we can help keep food from ending up in the trash can. By watching the trash can, we can find the inspiration to work harder to use the food we have if we imagine the food going into the trash as actual money we are throwing away.
Don’t go Shopping when you are Hungry
When you are hungry, everything looks good and the temptation to buy things not on your shopping list is more overwhelming. Saying no to a bag of candy or an expensive cut of meat is easier when you are not hungry. An easy way to ward off this dilemma is to have a granola bar, or drink a bottle of water before you go shopping. It will fill your stomach and the $1-$2 dollars you spent there will save you a lot more money in unwanted groceries.
Go Brown Bag whenever Possible
For the working individual, those at school, and those attending college, brown bagging it at meal time can be a real budget saver. This is one of the most common smart grocery shopping tips that people receive. If you eat lunch most days, try making your lunch and bringing it to work with you. Instead of paying for the school lunch, pack your own. Rather than going out for fast food on your break between classes or eating the expensive cafeteria food, bring a quick and easy meal with you.
Go Small Scale for Food Experiments
If you want to try a new food, new dish, get creative in the kitchen, or introduce your family to a new spice or seasoning, start small. Don’t buy a 10-ounce container of spice only to discover no one in the family likes it. Don’t cook up a whole chicken using a new rub, but rather get a few pieces and try it out on a smaller scale. This can really save money on food that might be wasted and end up in the trash can.
Learn to Put Upyour own Foods
This is an old fashioned way of storing food, but it has stood the test of time and more and more people are beginning to discover its benefits. Not only is it a great way to save a wide variety of foods that don’t need special cold storage, but it can also be quite fun and enjoyable as a family activity. If you know your family goes through a lot of salsa, pasta sauce, or similar things, make up a huge batch, can it, and you can have fresh homemade goodness whenever you want–even if you can’t make it to the grocery store.
There are many great tips for frugal living out there and they can really save you a bundle. Anything that can help you manage your finances, save money, and get a better handle on your spending habits is worth a try. These valuable tips can serve you and your family well–now and in the future.
Amy Johnson is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances.
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