It seems to us that our grocery bill gets higher every month. There are only three of us but were probably spending better than $600 a month on “groceries.”
The reason I put the word groceries” in quotes is because what a lot of people don’t think about is how much of our grocery bills are nonfood items. In our case, there may be only 2 adults and one child in the house but there are also three dogs that consume a total of 14 cans of dog food a week. If we were to subtract that from our $600 grocery bill, we would probably find it’s actually much closer to $550 a month. And if we subtracted everything we spend on laundry detergents, shampoos and other health and beauty products, our true grocery bill would probably be less than $400 a month.
Become a coupon junkie
The surest way to cut your grocery bill is by using as many coupons as you can get your hands on. We’ve seen many coupons that can save you as much as $.50 or even $1.00 on items that you would buy anyway. If you have a computer you can go online and find printable coupons from the stores where you shop (such as Kroger’s or Target) or from sites like The Coupon Clippers (the couponclippers.com) where you can buy coupons in bulk. For example, if you have a baby and use a lot of diapers you could buy 10 coupons and save nearly $10 on your next 10 purchases.
Make it a game
Some families actually make a game out of coupons and give a prize to the family member who finds the best or most coupons a week. Don’t think for a minute that it’s not worth using coupons and save just $.50 on an item as this can eventually grow into a much larger amount than you might imagine. We know families who are saving as much as $20 a week simply by using coupons.
Plan your menus around the “specials”
Look for coupons or BOGOs (buy one, get one) on food items that you can plan menus around. As an example of this, if you find an especially good price on chicken or pork, plan a meal around these meats. You can surround the chicken or pork with vegetables that are on sale (or have coupons) and put together a nice meal for $7 or less–and feed a family of four.
Make a list and stick to it
One of the biggest mistakes people make in grocery shopping is to do it without a list. While you might think that you can just go to the store and choose the items you will need for the following three or five days, I can promise one of two things will happen. You will either forget five or six important items, which will mean yet another trip to the store. Or you will end up buying a lot of “impulse” items. It’s really important to figure out your menus for the next few days, make a list of all the items you will need to fix those meals and then never deviate from your list.
Never shop before a meal
Oh, and one other thing. Never go grocery shopping before you eat lunch or dinner. Statistics show that the hungrier you are when you go grocery shopping, the higher your grocery bill will be. And that’s a fact.