Tricks To Keep Your Grocery Bill Balanced
One of the best ways to save money is keeping your grocery bill in check. High prices, the urge of impulse buying and the need to shop every week for essentials can easily combine to form a recipe for big overspending. Here are a few tricks that can help you dramatically lower your grocery bill and bring balance back to your finances.
Decide On A Budget And Stick To It
Overspending is often just a consequence of failing to budget. Decide on a sum of money that you allow yourself to spend every week at the grocery store and get that sum in cash. This way, you are more likely to stop spending when you reach your limit.
Know Your Store And Your Products
Every store has its own rules, sales days and prices. Familiarize yourself with these by visiting their websites and looking through the coupon booklets they send you in the mail. By doing this with a few of your favorite grocery stores, you will soon learn who has the best deals, what days are best for shopping and, best of all, what is considered a good price for a certain product. An excellent idea suggested by Finance Today, is to create a list of the items you use every day and are necessary to you. Take the list to the stores you most often shop at, and record the prices for these products. In doing this, you will begin to understand trends which will help you to buy wisely and save more.
Work Around Sales
You may not need another tube of toothpaste right now, but if a store offers an incredible sale on your favorite brand this week, buy it and store it until you need it. Saving money at the grocery store often goes hand in hand with building a stockpile, since the lowest prices do not necessarily coincide with when you require the item. As long as your stockpile does not take over your house, buying products on sale for later use is a great option.
Another way to save money is to plan your meals around sales. This is the best way to minimize your spending on more expensive items, such as meat and produce. If, for instance, pork is sold at half price this week, concentrate on pork recipes for the next couple days. Also, do not forget to stock up.
Keep An Eye On Seasonal Clearances
It is much cheaper to buy your chocolate, candy or cake mixes at a Christmas, Halloween or Valentine’s Day clearance. Make a habit of checking the clearance shelves after each major seasonal holiday. Seasonal clearances often offer much more than just sugary products. Even when the item is not necessarily seasonal, the packaging might be, as in the case of plastic foil, food storage containers, napkins, paper plates or candles. If the packaging does not matter to you, stock up on these items during seasonal clearances and save enormously.
Think of coupons as cash that comes to you in the mail. Tossing them away is passing up an excellent chance to save money. Even when the value of the coupons is small, it is amazing how fast they add up. Furthermore, you can increase the value of your coupons with a few tricks.
By far the best way to save at the grocery store is to stack coupons and sales. There are two kinds of coupons: store coupons and manufacturer coupons. Most stores allow you to use both kinds on the same product, thus maximizing your savings. Even better, wait until the product you need goes on sale or clearance, and use your coupons on top of the already reduced prices. To increase your savings even more, think double. Some stores allow you to double your coupons, so the number on your coupon tells you only half the story.
While it seems complicated at first, couponing is a skill that you will likely learn fast. The reason is that challenging yourself and watching your grocery bill get smaller is a lot of fun. To make things easier, organize your coupons in a binder and take them with you whenever you hit the grocery store. Finally, follow coupon blogs that spare you the work of finding the best deals.
Take Advantage Of Reward Programs
Many stores try to attract customers with their reward programs. These can go from offering you gas money when you buy certain products to giving you points that count towards the purchase of a turkey for Thanksgiving. You can also opt for a smartphone application that rewards you with cash whenever you make a certain purchase. The money you save this way will make for a nice bonus next time you enter the grocery store.
Don’t Sweat It
Just because you are unable to find a coupon for a product you want does not mean that you have to go without. For instance, it is harder to find coupons for unprocessed meat or vegetables, but not buying these may not be an option. In this case, make sure you stick to your budget by saving enough on other products such as toiletries, paper products or canned goods, to reward yourself with full-price items or an occasional splurge on your favorite product. Finally, buying generic or store-brand items is an easy way to save a substantial amount of money. Generic products often offer you the same quality as more brilliantly marketed items.
Planning your shopping trips is one of the best ways to save money and get your finances and life back in check. Depending on the effort you put into it, you may get dramatic results and even surprise yourself.