Food is one category in your budget that you can’t get rid of, but you can learn a few tips on how to save money while still providing nourishing meals to your family. Let’s talk about how to save money on groceries.
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Know the Prices
Inflation is at an all-time high and the prices are changing every week on grocery items and household products. Before you go shopping check several stores to know who has the best prices whether it be online or physical stores in your local town. Use a price book or excel spreadsheet to help you keep track of prices to help you stay in budget for your meal plan.
Track the Sales
Because you know your prices then you will know if a sale is worth it or not. Learn when your store puts items on sale and check the flyers each week.
Usually, the stores have sales based on holidays, events such as sports, and seasons. An example of this would be Russet potatoes and sweet potatoes. They tend to go on sale during the Thanksgiving holiday. If you know this ahead of time have the money set aside and buy extra to stock your pantry.
Make a List and Stick to It
Before you go the grocery store make a list of what you need. Put a dollar amount next to it so you know what you will be spending. Be firm with yourself and your family that you are only buying what is on the list.
A list also helps you not to forget items. I don’t know about you but when I get into the store without a list, I always end up forgetting several important items and either I have to do without or i must go back to the store again.
Buy Whole Foods Instead of Packaged
When you buy packaged food, you are paying a premium price for someone else to do the work for you. Not only that but packaged foods are full of additives and preservatives which are unhealthy for your body.
Whole foods are ingredients that you will use to make a meal. Whole food ingredients give you more bang for your buck because you can make several different meals versus getting one meal from a package which stretches your budget in your favor.
Learn to Cook and Bake
If you don’t know how to cook or bake it is time to learn some new skills! Cooking from scratch saves you so much money. Choose simple recipes. You don’t have to cook expensive meals with exotic ingredients. The more you cook the better the results will be. You can do it!
Use Cash Only
This is my favorite tip and what helps me the most. It is so easy to see items at the store that you “need” when you are using your debit card, but when you have a set amount of cash and no other form of payment it really holds you accountable.
Using cash is also a great teaching tool for your children (and yourself) to learn that if you want an extra item that is not on the list, you have to put something back in order to get that item. It helped my children to see which foods were more important and see the consequences for impulse buying.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is a process and does not happen overnight. Start slow. You do not have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on a huge pantry all at once.
Start with the top 10 ten pantry staples to get started. Set aside money for big bulk purchases such as a whole cow to fill your freezer for the year, or in season fruit from your local farmer.
Stay Out of the Store
Once you follow the previous steps your grocery list will become smaller and smaller. Soon you will be able to skip a week or more because you already have what you need. If you are not in the store, you won’t be tempted to buy.
If you must go to the store, get in and get out quickly. When my kids were little, we played the how fast could we get in and out of the grocery store game. Once in the store I would set the timer and off we would go getting exactly what we needed from the list. I would push the cart down specific aisles reading out loud what we needed, and each kid would gather the correct item off the shelf and put it into the cart. It kept them focused on our game and not on all the distractions. Our fastest time was 17 minutes including getting through the checkout lane.
Don’t Let it Go to Waste
Now that you have followed the steps we talked about above, it is time to use what you bought. Don’t let the food spoil and go to waste.
Make time to cook the items that you buy. There is nothing worse than getting a great price on food but then end up wasting your money by letting it go past its expiration date because you did not use it. Use it up so you can feel good about your purchases!
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