Above all else, food is the one area of our lives where we struggle. Balancing good nutrition with affordability is a challenge that seems to grow more difficult with each passing day. Prices climb ever higher as we try to stretch our grocery dollars farther and farther. There just are not enough coupons in the world to make a difference. Below are some tips for saving money on food.
Money Saving Tips on Food
Buy Only What You Really Need
Before you place an item in your cart, evaluate its true place in your life. Is it an item you absolutely have to have? Will that item be scarcely missed? If you answered yes to the second question, put the item back and move on by.
Develop a Food Budget and Stick to It
Assess your purchases for the last month or so. This will give you an idea of what you have been spending. Review the items purchased and trim out the unnecessary items. Now you have a realistic budget. Divide that into 4 weeks and bring your calculator to the store. Add up the items as you shop so you don’t go over. If you are approaching your limit, stop and evaluate what is already in your cart. After doing this for a few weeks, you will get the hang of it.
Plan a Menu and Shop with a List
If you plan your meals for the week, you can make better use of items you have on hand. This reduces the amount that spoils and is wasted. It also reduces the items you have to buy to round out the meals. After planning the meals, compile a shopping list. Buy those items at the store all at once. This saves on repeated trips to the store for forgotten items.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Stores want your money. They will use every trick in the book to get it. Shopping while you are hungry can lead to you coming home with a lot of items you would not have otherwise bought. Eat before you go so you are shopping with your head and not your stomach. Leave the kids home, too. They can really drive the costs up by talking you into items you had not intended to buy.
Skip the Prepackaged and Processed Foods
Most of us are in a hurry. Time is everything and we get suckered into buying convenience foods. Prepackaged meals look great. They are easy to fix and can be a real life saver sometimes. A whole diet of them, however, is not good for you and will drain the food budget fast. Stick to lean cuts of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains whenever possible. It will mean more time in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals. In the long run, it can save you a fortune.
Places to Shop
Where you shop can have a tremendous impact on how much you spend. Avoid shopping at convenience stores as these are the highest prices you’ll pay on everything. Discount stores and warehouse stores are good choices to start with. Then you’ll only have to go to the big name grocery stores for a few specialty items on your list or for items on sale this week.
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Did you enjoy this post? Find more money saving tips here.