Times are tough. Many families are looking for ways to save money anywhere they can. This often means looking at the grocery bill. It’s not uncommon for a family to spend $500 to a $1000 dollars on food each month. If you can save money at the grocery store, you can really help balance your family budget. Here are five ways to save money at the supermarket.
#1 Read the store ads
Every week, most grocery stores publish ads. These ads highlight what’s on sale for the week. Use this information to create your meal plan for the week. Also look for items you can buy and freeze.
For example, if bread is on sale you can buy several loaves and freeze them. If apples are on sale you can buy several pounds. You can then make apple butter, apple sauce and apple bread, all of which you can store in your freezer. Even meat can be bought in bulk, portioned for meals and then frozen.
#2 Buy in bulk
Often, bulk foods cost much less. Look at bulk produce. Is it cheaper to buy a bag of apples than to buy them individually and pay by the pound? What about potatoes and onions? Tomatoes? Buy your grains, nuts, cereals and snacks in bulk too. Most grocers now have a bulk food section.
You can buy peanut butter, honey, syrup and of course grains, baking ingredients, cereals and snacks here. Explore the family packaging in the meat section too. Large packages of chicken, beef and fish are often cheaper by the pound than the smaller packages. Compare prices and freeze the extra.
Even pet food and treats can be purchased in bulk quantities. Don’t forget the coffee, tea and spices. Buying them in bulk can save money too.
#3 Join your store loyalty program
Most large supermarkets and grocery stores now have loyalty programs. You sign up for the program; it should be free. Then you receive member pricing on the store-sponsored items. This can save you several hundred dollars each month.
#4 Buy store brand
There’s often very little difference between a name brand food item and a store brand, except price. Store brands have become very savvy. They taste great. They are healthy, often even organic. And they can save you a lot of money. Look for store meats, store soup, store brand cereal, store brand sauces and pastas.
#5 Use coupons
Today there are more coupon websites than ever before. You can save tons of money on basic household items. You can also save on packaged food like cereal, nutrition bars, snacks and beverages.
With a little advanced planning and a strategy you can save hundreds each month at the grocery store. In addition to these five tips, experts recommend planning your menu for the week. Make a shopping list based on that menu plan. Then shop from the list. If you use these money-saving strategies combined with your menu planning strategy, you can cut your grocery bill by 50% or more each month.