Saving Money: Lower Your Grocery Bill
When you're a parent, nothing is more important than feeding your family. Although SPAM is making a comeback (yes, the canned meat, not the canned email!), there are other ways to pinch pennies at the supermarket, beyond skipping the fancy cheese and gourmet crackers. If you can get smart about your grocery shopping, you can really make a huge dent in your grocery bill.
Obviously everyone has different days during the week when they prefer to go grocery shopping, but perhaps you've been keeping a shopping list in the meantime? By following these steps, you'll make checkout cheaper (though not necessarily faster—what's up with those Express lines anyway?):
- Plan ahead. Instead of thinking of your groceries as a list of items, try to build your shopping list around the the meals you're going to cook for the week. Did you know that we waste about 30 percent of the food we buy, mostly because it goes bad? So think before you buy. (Did you really need to buy two heads of cauliflower?)
- Get coupons. Savvy online deal finders can find out where the grocery bargains are. Scan your local circulars for sale items. Plus, the good old-fashioned coupons like on CouponMom.com and trusty, neighborhood Valpak.com can help you save on regular household purchases. You can also check get grocery coupons right here on ParentsConnect, with online grocery coupons you can click, print and cut.
- Buy online.Try buying paper goods and household needs online—there are lots of free-shipping deals out there for diapers and paper towels, so compare prices at your local store to online stores at sites like Pricegrabber.com.
- Look up & down. Be sure to check out the upper and lower shelves in the grocery store because that's where the more affordable items are placed. The store stocks the more pricey items and places them directly at eye level. (Sneaky, eh?)
- Check the label. Not just for the calories and ingredients, but note the size of the packaging. Did you ever notice your favorite jar of peanut butter got smaller, but the price remained the same? Always check ounces vs. cost per ounce. Try the jar with more ounces at a lower price even if you're unfamiliar with the brand—you may even like it more. Besides, why pay more for less? This rule goes for everything from ice cream to soap.
- Stick to the list. If you've carved out what your grocery budget will be per week, stick to it! If you need to carry a mini calculator with you to tally things up before you head to the checkout line, do it! And don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach: You're much more likely to grab a bag of chips off the shelf, which not only goes to your hips, but eats at your wallet!
When it comes to grocery shopping, planning ahead is the name of the game. By putting in a little extra effort, the payoff is saving money. You decide.
Get more financial advice from our personal finance expert, Carmen Wong Ulrich!