A Little Time Can Save a Lot of Money
With today’s dismal economy and rising unemployment rate more people are searching for ways that they can cut their costs and save money. Many people are eating out less, canceling subscriptions, and skipping vacations. On the other hand, some expenses like gasoline, electricity, and groceries are a necessity and more difficult to find ways to save money on. Did you know the average American spends over $100 a week on their grocery bill? The good news is that with a bit of planning and discipline you can start saving a significant amount of money on your groceries every month.
- Start Clipping & Using Coupons
If you are like many people you don’t have the time or patience to sit down with the weekly circular and peruse for coupons. However, dedicating 20-30 minutes per week on this mundane task can really add up when it comes to your savings. You will probably be pleasantly surprised when you find that you have been throwing away coupons for items that are already on your weekly grocery list. Clip the coupons and find a way to organize them either by item type or expiration date. Make sure to bring the coupons with you on your weekly shopping trip.
- Sign Up for Savings Clubs
Most grocery stores offer club cards that allow you to receive exclusive member discounts. It’s free to sign up, and if you are shopping there anyway there is no reason to not take advantage of these savings. It is a great idea to combine in-store discounts with your clipped coupons to double up on the amount you are saving.
- Make a List
Shopping without a list means you’re much more likely to succumb to those expensive impulse buys. If you spend a few minutes making a list before going to the store you can avoid these traps and also make sure that you don’t forget to take advantage of the items that you have coupons for or that you already are on sale.
- Deviate From Your List
While it is a smart move to make a grocery list and stick with it, don’t be afraid to change plans if you notice another item is on sale. If you have broccoli on your list but at the store you find corn on sale this week, a simple vegetable swap can pocket you some savings.
- Plan Your Meals
Instead of buying a pound of chicken but only using a portion of it before it goes bad, try to create more than one meal out of the ingredients you buy. People waste a lot of food due to poor planning. Check your cupboards before shopping to see what you can make with what you already have on hand.
- Shop Alone
This tip mainly applies to those of us with children. Shopping alone assures that you can stick with your shopping list and avoid the impulse buys. Kids are notorious for wanting to have the treats that they saw on TV or the toy in a shiny box. After a long day it can be easier to just let your child have what he wants instead of risking a temper tantrum in the middle of the store.
- Stock Up
If granola bars are on your regular grocery list and there is a phenomenal sale this week, buy more than one box. Stocking up on non-perishable items is a great way to save money.
- Cook Your Own Meals
Besides the fact that prepackaged and frozen foods are often not very healthy for you and your family, they are a convenience that you pay for severely. You can spend a little time and money preparing meals yourself and the savings will add up very quickly. Consider eating dinner leftovers for lunch the next day to increase your savings even more.
- Don’t Shop Hungry
If you are ravenous you are much more likely to stray from your list and start filling your basket with anything that looks good. Have something to eat before you go to the store so you don’t waste your money on food that you don’t need and aren’t tempted with impulse buys.
- Buy Generic
Most grocery stores offer a generic alternative to the foods you already buy. In some cases you may prefer to buy a better-known brand, but the generic version of items such as cereal, crackers, and pasta are likely to be just as good. Put in the effort to try out the generic brand to see if it a change that you and you family can make.
A few dollars in savings here or there can really add up and if you find the time to clip coupons and plan ahead you can easily save $20-$30 per week. If you manage to save $25 per week on your groceries you will have pocketed $1300 by the end of the year. That is quite a bit of money for very little effort on your part and might even be enough to take that vacation you had to cancel last Summer. Good luck, happy savings, and remember: whether you decide to employ all of the methods listed in this article or just a few, the amount you save is completely in your hands.