If you’re trying to trim expenses and you’re like many families, you could probably cut your grocery bill. Of course, you need to first know how much you’re spending now. If you track your grocery spending for about a month, this will give you a starting point. Your goal should be to reduce your spending by at least $200 and, believe me, most families can do this.
No coupon clipping
I won’t bore you with you the standard coupon clipping advice as it’s an obvious way to cut your food costs. Suffice it to say that if you’re not using coupons and taking advantage of store specials, these would be great ways to start reducing your food bill.
Plan your meals on what you already have
One of the biggest tips I can provide is that you should plan your dishes around items that you already have in your pantry and refrigerator. Second, always try to buy ingredients that you can use in several meals. For example, you should have or should stock up on pasta, legumes, brown rice and seasonal products. These are foods that you can use in several different dishes.
Cut down on red meats
Is your family big on red meat? If this is the case, think about serving it just one or two nights a week and serve protein-rich foods instead that are healthier and less expensive such as soy, legumes and fish. Here’s an example of what I mean. Don’t serve beef burgers one night but substitute veggie burgers. Or fix a veggie-based stir-fry in place of spaghetti and meatballs. Also, it’s easier and cheaper to buy beans and legumes in bulk and not canned. In fact, one food expert says you should be able to get five times as many beans for your buck when you buy in bulk versus buying them in canned form.
Buy family packs
When you do buy poultry, beef and other meat either go for family packs or buy whole. For an example, I recently saw a whole chicken at two dollars a pound where individual breasts or thighs were costing six dollars a pound.
Make a list of 30 meals
We all tend to become little fatigued with meal planning. You can combat this by making a list of 30 meals that your family really likes and use this as inspiration when you’re having a hard time determining what to serve. This should save money because it’s easy to overspend on ingredients when you’re doing last-minute meal planning. This can also help keep you from reaching for those takeout menus.
Shop with a friend
Do you have a friend who shops at Costco or Sam’s Club? You might talk to her about shopping together so that you could divide up bulk buys. You would both benefit from the reduced prices but, again, buy only what you need. In other words, no impulse purchases.
Okay, one word about coupons
Okay, I said I wouldn’t bore you with information about coupons but here’s one tip I can’t resist. You can get bulk coupons online at sites like The Coupon Clippers. Some of these are free, some cost a small amount. When I last visited the site, it was offering coupons that would save you $1.00 on selected items for just $0.12 each. Plus, you could buy them in bulk. It was also featuring a Colgate Toothpaste offer ($0.35 value) that I liked as you could buy four or five coupons and be stocked up on toothpaste for months to come.