(photo courtesy of Suat Eman at Freedigitalphotos.net)
The great thing about trimming your food costs is that there is SO much advise in books and online. There are hundreds of ideas out there, at least some of which can benefit you. Talk to family members and friends. Find some blog articles on grocery-shopping. Check books out of your local library on the frugal lifestyle, which always includes saving money on food.
Advice can get very detailed, and may start to feel like too much work. Don’t get overwhelmed! A lot of it will be whatever works for your specific situation at the current time. Some ideas work for some folks, but not for others. If you try something and it doesn’t save you money, just move on to a different tactic. But here are some basic thoughts to help you get started:
Set a dollar-amount limit on your groceries.
It might be hard to figure out an amount at first, but it needs to be enough so that you can can eat all your meals at home for the whole week. That doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally spend extra to stock up on a fantastic food sale, but you need to have a goal to shoot for.
Buy groceries only once a week if at all possible.
The more times you step foot in the store, the more you’ll end up spending.
Check your grocer’s sale ad before you shop.
Most stores have their weekly sales ad available online. I look at the ads for the two grocery stores I regularly use before heading out to get food. I try to plan our meals around the items that are on sale that week.
Make a list, and buy only what you originally planned to buy.
Impulse purchases can really add to your bill at the cash register.
Make sure your stomach is full when you go grocery-shopping.
When you’re hungry, you will be tempted to throw extra items into your shopping cart.
To me, these points are the foundation for most of the other grocery-saving ideas. Try following these guidelines, then building on it with more detailed ideas from blogs and books. Here are some that I found helpful:
Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half – by Steve and Annette Economides (2010)