Shop Smart, Save Money: Eight Tips for Making Food Dollars Pay

12
May

Rising prices, shrinking paychecks, too much month left at the end of your money. You have been living with and making adjustments for the case of the disappearing paycheck for what seems like forever. You have cut back, put off, and in some cases eliminated items from your family budget in an effort to force that checkbook to balance. So what are you to do with those hungry mouths showing up at the dinner table on a daily basis? Yes, you need to eat. Does feeding your family, or even just yourself, necessitate a move to the poorhouse? Thankfully, the answer is no. There are ways to spend less and get more when working with your food shopping dollars. Here are eight money saving tips to start with:

  1. Eat Healthy; Eat at Home. Fast food is convenient but expensive. One night of take-out can easily equal three nights of dinner at home. Add in the nutritional aspect of many fast food meals and realize you are saving far more than just dollars by making home cooked meals a family affair.

2.    Develop Meal Plans. Planning meals will eliminate the “what’s for dinner” syndrome. It is easy to get the whole family involved in the planning process and it is good for the kids to understand the process involved in “what’s for dinner.” Make it fun, let everybody pick a day and plan a menu for that day (subject to mother approval, of course)

3.    Make and Take a Grocery Shopping List. This goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. Once you have a meal plan, it will be easy to create a shopping list. Gather your plan, check your coupons and look at the store specials for that week. Creating a complete shopping list will also prevent you from getting side-tracked with those famous “extra” purchases.”

4.    Clip Grocery Coupons. You get grocery coupons in the mail, you can find them in a newspaper and they are all over the Internet. Every store has specials each week and many times those specials are store coupon items. You can easily shave ten (or more) dollars from your grocery bill this way.

5.    Eat Before You Shop. Do not go shopping when you are hungry! End of story.

6.    Buy Less Prepared Food and More Staples. Frozen and boxed foods can put as large a dent in your food budget as take-out can. When pressed for time these items do serve a purpose, but “home-made” versions will certainly taste better and definitely cost less.

7.    Buy in Bulk. If you have a Sam’s Club or other food warehouse in your area consider purchasing a membership. If you have sufficient storage space, you can save big bucks on many of the non-perishable items you use frequently.

8.    Stick with Stores You Know. Attempting to navigate the aisles of an unfamiliar store can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. You end up forgetting things, making purchases out of frustration, or both. By frequenting the same stores on a regular basis, you become familiar with the locations of items you regularly purchase, along with their prices. Your shopping trip becomes less stressful and you are better able to keep track of what you are spending.

Rising prices and shrinking paychecks do not have to mean a lean dinner table. Start with the ideas listed here, add a few of your own and make your food dollars start to pay!

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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