Food consumes 10 – 20% of the average American’s household gross income. With such a large spending category, it is helpful to understand some key ways to manage these costs while still eating healthy and very well.
- Go the store with a list. One of the largest places “impulsive spending decisions” occur is at the grocery store or in a restaurant. A list will ensure you minimize the impact of impulsiveness on your budget.
- Don’t shop while hungry. If you show up to the grocery store when you are hungry, you will end with all kinds of interesting things in your cart. You will look at pickled pig’s feet and say, “That looks amazing!” Instead of choosing one box of cereal, you’ll chose four. It’s how sardines and SPAM are purchased. I would venture to say that more than half of the items in your pantry right now were purchased as a result of going to the store hungry.
- Use coupons. This is very basic shopping knowledge, but it is amazing how few people take the few minutes required to clip a coupon or two. You don’t have to be an extreme coupon freak. It might take 30 minutes to get the coupons that could reduce your grocery bill by 10-percent.
- Use coupons on sale items. This is an ideal way to maximize your coupon. A great coupon site is Coupons.com. There are many great coupon websites that can help you such as CouponMom.com and SouthernSavers.com
- Stack coupons. This is where you match up Manufacturer’s Coupons with In-Store Coupons. It allows you to apply the discounts to each item.
- Go to discount stores. Chances are pretty good that an Aldi grocery store is near you – find out if one is near your home by clicking HERE. You probably have 1 or 2 additional local discount grocery stores as well that can help you save a ton on your grocery essentials.
- Look high and look low. Companies pay BIG MONEY to have their products positioned right at eye level and on end caps. If you look up and down, you will probably find a generic product (maybe even made by the same manufacturer) at half the price!
- Use a budget with cash envelopes. Prepare a written budget that clearly outlines the amount you plan to spend on groceries. When paid, pull that money out in cash. Once the cash is gone, grocery spending is over. The rule here is that once the money is spent, you can’t go back to the bank and get more (or use a debit/credit card). When you are spending cash with the rule that you can’t get any more until next payday, you will spend it differently!
Which of these items have worked well for you? What additional tips would you add?