According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average cost of feeding a family of 4 per month ranges from $553.40 to $1,075.20. Food costs keep rising, and many just don’t have the time to look for the best grocery deals.
If you want to reduce your grocery bills, you may want to try the following 6 strategies on grocery spending:
Save your clipped coupons for later. It’s not really a good idea to clip coupons from the Sunday paper and then use it for that same week. That’s because many stores know when these coupons are coming out so they intentionally raise their prices for the week. You should wait until the prices drop back. The lowest prices tend to happen once week every 3 months. That’s when you should use all the coupons you’ve saved.
No more bottled water. Even if you use coupons for them, you’re still probably spending more money for drinking water than you should. The most economical way is for you to use filters instead. A single filter can last the equivalent of 13 cases of bottled water. With the average price at $6 per case, you spend $78 on water you could have gotten with a $5 filter. Also, you help the environment by not adding to the use of plastic bottles.
Optimize your couponing strategy. When you have a coupon wherein it says “one per purchase”, it doesn’t mean that you can only use a single coupon for each visit to the grocery store. The real meaning is that each coupon applies to a single item. So if you’re buying 3 tubes of toothpaste, you’ll need 3 coupons. But you can use coupons for every item in your grocery list if you have them. You may also want to carefully check the fine print on the coupon. Some coupons may be for 2 or more items, and they priced discount only goes into effect when you buy the other items. You may not even need those items either. If that’s the case, then you’re not really getting a useful price discount.
Take note of the unit price. The unit price helps you compare the prices of items in different sizes or quantity. It’s like comparing fractions—you have to get a common denominator. The most obvious example here is if you have a gallon of juice for $3.30 while the half gallon goes for $1.85. The half-gallon is more expensive, since the gallon of juice costs $1.65 per half-gallon. You need to use this same method for everything, so you should compute the price per grams, pounds, or other units. You can even compute the price of paper towels per rolls. You can always use your smartphone calculator for these, so that you know how much you’re paying per unit when you’re buying in bulk. Sometimes the pricing may even be more expensive when in bulk. A dozen cartons of milk may go for $50, but each one may only $4. So if you bought them individually, it’s just $48!
Try a recipe and ingredient delivery service. Cooking gourmet meals can be fun, but what’s not enjoyable is having to pay top dollar for specialty items. That’s especially true when these items spoil very easily. You can save your money—and a lot of hassle—by having the ingredients delivered right to your door. It’s more convenient than going to the grocery yourself. You can try using delivery services like Blue Apron and Plated for the next time you try to prepare a gourmet-style meal. These services can send you the recipe and the ingredients. What’s more, these ingredients are already pre-measured. It’s affordable, easy, and you avoid wasting ingredients. These 2 delivery services help with healthy gourmet meal preparations because everything you need is basically included. You also don’t waste food as you only make enough.
Give yourself a time limit at the grocery store. The longer you stay there, the more difficult it becomes to stay within your budget. You have to get in and get out as quickly as you can. The problem is the human tendency for impulse buying. The attractive setups and color packaging can really tempt you into buying stuff that you haven’t planned for. So you must set a limit for each store you visit, and you probably also set a limit on the number of stores you visit each time.
Try out all these steps, and you enjoy more savings every time you go grocery shopping!