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Ready to start saving big every time you go to the grocery store? It is easier than you think and you do not even have to become one of those coupon clippers. Check out our top grocery budget slashers.
1. Join The Club
When grocery store memberships first came around, I resisted. Why should I join a club so that you can give me the same discounts that I have already been getting.
Unfortunately, these memberships are absolutely mandatory these days. They never went away and you have to have them to get the big sales prices. So, suck it up and sign up for the free store cards offered by nearly every grocer.
In addition to being able to receive the discount prices, there are a few other benefits. You can take your card and sign up to the grocery store website and see your gas points and sign up for additional savings. Kroger, for example, allows you to choose from hundreds of dollars in digital coupons and link them to your card. That allows you to get savings that otherwise are not even advertised.
2. Shop Loss Leaders
Another great way to save is to exclusively shop loss leaders at certain stores.
Each week, the grocery stores in your area will release a new flyer. They will put about a half a dozen things on sale for a very good price. These are called “loss leaders” and the point of them is to get you into the store where they can then sell you more expensive items.
They often use a lot of tricks like putting hot dogs on sale but not the buns or spaghetti sauce but not the noodles. Don’t fall for the tricks.
Instead, shop the store exclusively for the “loss leaders” and nothing else. If it is non perishable or if you can freeze it, stock up. If hamburger meat is on sale, buy ten or more pounds of it. If baked beans or greatly reduced, buy a half a dozen cans. Stock up on what you can, when you can, as long as the price is great.
3. Cut Out Some Of The Meat
Meat is expensive and as American’s, we eat too much of it. It is bad for us and the environment. This is not to say that you have to cut meat out completely, but you can cut it out of a few meals.
For the average family, you can save an easy 10 dollars or more on just one meal if you make it without meat. Just one meal a week and save more than 500 dollars in a year. This could be spaghetti with meatless sauce, black bean tacos or maybe a nice veggie stir fry. There are more options than you might think.
If you are looking to save, start small. Make one meatless meal this week and then add more as you adapt to a diet more limited on meat.
4. Drop The Soda Completely
Another expensive item that is really not good for us is soda. If you drink just 2 or 3 a day, that could add up to 30 in a month. With a 12 pack going for almost 5 dollars a piece, that is almost 15 dollars a month. That is for something that makes us gain weight (even diet soda causes weight gain) and ruins our teeth. If you have many soda drinkers in the house, you could be spending as much as 60 dollars a month for the stuff. That is over 700 dollars in 12 months.
If you truly want to save money, cut out the soda and purchase a refillable water bottle and a home water filter. You will save a ton of money and you might be surprised at just how much better you start feeling.
5. Use An Inexpensive Base
You know why rice is so popular around the world? Because it is cheap and you can make dozens and dozens of different meals from it. Other cheap bases for meals include potatoes and dry beans.
With rice, beans and potatoes, you can make a huge variety of meals for just pennies a serving. Fried rice, baked potatoes, chili, mashed potatoes, etc, etc. Just do a search online and you can come up with hundreds of recipes.
6. Make Use Of Leftovers
How many meals do you make where you find you are throwing away a good portion of it at the end of the night? Probably quite a few.Stop wasting that food and make good use of it.
If you made hamburgers or grilled chicken, turn the leftovers into tacos the next day. If you only have a single portion left, make it a lunch for the next day.
Another great idea is to have leftover night. Save all of these extras and freeze them. Then once a week, have leftover night. Reheat 3 or 4 different meals so that everyone gets to have their favorite.
7. Plan Your Meals
Before you go shopping, plan out your meals for the week. Meal planning will allow you to buy just what you need without waste. How many times have you gone to the store without a plan and just wandered the store adding things to your cart. This can cost you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Take things one step further by planning your meals with things that you already have sitting in the pantry. Got some rice, pick up some veggies for a stir fry. Have some tortillas close to going bad, grab some cheese and make quesadillas.
8. Buy Produce Sparingly
Fresh produce is great but you need to be careful with how much that you buy. It is better to make multiple trips to buy produce rather than stocking up. Be honest with yourself about how much you will use and then buy about half that amount. It will keep you from literally throwing money away every week when those veggies turn to mush in your refrigerator.
When you do buy produce, be selective about where you buy it. The best choice is to buy it grower direct from a farmers market. It will be fresher, which means that it will last longer and it will cost you less up front.
9. Don’t Pay For Prep
To really save money on your home grocery budget, you need to stop paying for prep work.Nearly everything can be purchased cheaper if you do the work yourself.
Instead of making frozen lasagna, learn to make it from scratch. Instead of buying pre-marinated meat, learn to season your own. All of that prep work takes labor which means that you will be charged extra for it.
Even seemingly inexpensive things can be made cheaper by avoiding prep. For example, instead of buying shredded cheese, buy block cheese and grate it yourself. Instead of packets of taco seasoning, mix up your own from individual spices.
The greatest thing about cutting your dependence on food prep is that as you do, your own cooking will get better.
There are so many ways to start saving money without even touching the coupon section of the newspaper. So, put some of them into effect right away. You will save money and probably become a better cook in the process.