If you’d like to take a break from eating out in order to give your taste buds a little more variety, you may be wondering how you can do so, especially with the high cost of groceries these days. However, if you know how to shop smart, it is possible to reduce your grocery bill by as much as 50%, while still enjoying a wide variety of foods and meal options that will please even the pickiest eaters.
Engage in Meal Planning
One of the best ways to reduce your grocery bill is to know exactly what meals you are going to prepare for the upcoming week (or even for the month, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous). This will enable you to make a detailed list of the foods you’ll need. When preparing your meal plan, you can save even more on your grocery budget by scanning store flyers, purchasing items that are on sale for the week and using them in your meal preparations. Many people have reported that, by doing this, they have been able to reduce their spending on groceries by as much as 25% per week.
Shop with a List
Before leaving the house, scan through your pantry, fridge and freezer to determine what you have on hand. This will prevent you from buying items that you already have enough of, enabling you to stock up on other essential items instead. Although it may take quite a bit of discipline, you will need to get into the habit of only purchasing items on your list if you want to reduce your grocery bill.
Shop at Different Stores
One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is to do all of their grocery shopping at one store, thinking that they offer the lowest prices on everything. Unfortunately, no single store will ever be able to provide lower prices on all of the items you need to purchase. As a result, it can be a good idea to shop around to get prices on the most common items you use. Over the course of a year, this single move could save you hundreds of dollars – and only requires an extra hour or two each month.
Consider the Clearance Racks
Many grocery stores have clearance racks, where items are marked down that are close to their use by dates. In most cases, there is nothing wrong with these items – other than the fact that heir expiry date is close. If you do shop this section of the store, be sure to check the items carefully for signs of mold or cans that may be dented or swollen. Those items are best avoided.
Introduce Meat-free Meals
Meat is usually the most expensive component of any meal, which means that you could reduce your grocery bill by as much as 20% if you decide to introduce one or two meatless meals per week. In many cases, your body will also thank you because the kidneys will not have to work as hard as they do when you consume meat at every meal. If it seems too drastic to go completely meat-free, reduce the portion sizes of meat being served and increase the vegetable portions to ensure that everyone still gets enough to eat. Systematically reduce the size of meat portions until your family adopts the idea of going meat-free.
Reduce Soda and Alcohol Consumption
If you and your family consume soda and/or alcohol, chances are that the spending on these items adds up quite substantially over the course of a month – even if you purchase the in-store brands of soda. Consider eliminating these items from your grocery budget – or reduce the consumption of them substantially, and watch your savings mount up in little to no time at all. Teaching your family to increase their consumption of water will not only help your grocery bill; it will reduce sugar consumption, which will in turn result in fewer dental cavities as well.
Although it may seem tedious to engage in all of the above mentioned methods to reduce your grocery bill, it can be a good idea to start by implementing one or two of them at a time. As time goes on and you get into the habit of shopping sales, trying alternative food items or reducing your consumption of unhealthy food and drinks, you will begin to notice how much extra cash you will have on hand to use for other essential expenses each month.