Methods to Reduce Your Monthly Food Costs

22
May

Food is a necessity. And because we need it to stay alive, we rarely look at grocery bills when looking to shave monthly expenses. But saving on groceries doesn’t have to mean starving to death. Just by slightly changing your shopping habits, you can save hundreds of dollars off of your monthly grocery bill without sacrificing your favorite foods.

Coupons
This is the obvious first step, but most people don’t start seriously clipping coupons until they find themselves with restricted budgets. The best place to look for coupons is in the Sunday paper. Once you clip those beauties, head online.

Check out the websites and Facebook pages of your local grocery stores. They often offer discounts or membership cards for customers who visit their websites or “Like” their pages. Also look on third party sites. Groupon, Living Social and other coupon sites offer discounts off of your bill at the pricey boutique stores with the organic food you need at prices no one can afford (we’re looking at you Whole Foods).

Another great way to search for coupons is by Googling “grocery store coupons [my city]“. The search will land you on sites run by thrifty housewives who know all of the ins and outs of grocery store savings. Join the forum to get all of the insider tips on doubling coupons, grocery store sale days, points cards worth having and more.

Bulk
Bulk outlets aren’t just for families that don’t believe in birth control. Bulk shopping is a great way for even small families to reduce their monthly food costs. In exchange for buying more than you could ever eat in a month, you can extend the savings on one shopping trip for a quarter or more.

When shopping, focus on buying staples you’ll have use for year round: paper products, toothpaste, pasta, anything you can freeze, juice, hot sauce, etc. The only limit on the stuff you can buy is how quickly you can eat it. Avoid buying fresh produce that you can’t freeze and other quick-to-spoil items to avoid waste.

Buy Off Brand
Many of us turn our noses up at the basic packaging on store-brand goods. But often these products contain the same ingredients as regular products. The reason they are cheaper is because they save on advertising. Having said that, shopping store brand can still be hit-or-miss.

Once every trip, swap your favorite Lay’s potato chips for Loy’s or whatever your store brand calls its plain potato chips. You might love them, you might go right back to your favorites. The key is to try to substitute each one of your favorite brands at least once. You might actually find that you like some of the substitutes better

Shop off Brand
You’ll also save by buying at off-brand grocery stores. Your neighborhood boutique grocery store may have more free samples, but you’re paying for your posh shopping experience via higher prices. Switch to discount chain stores to cut your grocery bills in half or more. You’ll be surprised (and angered) to find that the exact same Lay’s potato chips you love to buy from your boutique store are half or a quarter of the price at the discount chain.

Plan Your Meals
When you find a great deal on a grocery store item, it’s a great idea to buy in bulk. To use all of your monthly haul, you’re going to have to plan your meals. If potatoes are half off, start flipping through your favorite recipe books for potato breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas. You’ll broaden your cooking repertoire and make the most of savings.

Planning meals ahead also keeps you from buying food that you might not necessarily eat. If you use your meal plan to cook ahead too, you can also avoid ordering in or eating out because there’s nothing at home and you don’t feel like cooking. One more meal in a week can save you $200 per month.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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