How to save hundreds on your grocery bill
Food is probably the biggest proportion of our monthly budget in which we have complete freedom to spend what we want. Our rent or mortgage, car payments, day care or taxes are non-negotiable on a month-by-month basis, but whether you dine like a king or eat ramen all month is entirely up to you.
For that reason, it’s one of the easiest places to find savings in an otherwise fixed budget. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you need to starve yourself in order to put more money into your savings account. There are some straightforward changes that can make a real difference.
Plan your meals
Most of us expect that eating takeout every night would get pretty expensive. What more people don’t realize is that deciding what to eat on a daily basis, rather than planning ahead, can be almost as expensive. Those frequent trips to the store for ingredients often come with added extras – a bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate – not to mention the extra gas needed to get you there. It also makes it harder to take advantage of special offers, because you go with only one or two meals in mind.
Start by making a list of all the meals you like eating. Then make a list of the days of the week and add three of those meals each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t forget to add on snacks and drinks. Before you know it, you’ve planned your meals.
Check your cupboards
The very first thing you should do, once you have an idea of the food that you want to eat, is check which of the ingredients you already have in your fridge, freezer or cupboard. Why spend money on food you don’t even need? Use up what you have before buying more.
At the same time, take stock of things you buy less often. Do you have enough dish soap, laundry detergent and aluminum foil for the week ahead? Make a note to look out for special offers on any of these longer-term items that you might need.