I don’t know about you, but my grocery budget has been experiencing a lot of price creep lately. I clip coupons and plan my meals but on really busy weeks I find myself resorting to more expensive pre-made foods. Unfortunately, taking the time to clip and organize coupons and shop the best sales at my local grocery stores can take a lot of time. And lately time is what I’ve not had the most of. I’ve been so busy with the kids and school and sports that finding the time to clip, organize, and shop has been difficult. Here are five quick tips I use to keep grocery costs down:
1. Skip the soda.
Carbonated beverages are almost never economical. Even when they are on sale, they are much more expensive than drink mixes like Kool-Aid. In addition, they offer no nutritional value for your family. If you can avoid buying soda at all, you will certainly save money. I limit the sodas and sports drinks to the weekend only.
2. Shop the outer edges of the grocery store.
Raw foods like fresh vegetables and dairy products are located on the edges of most grocery stores. You will need to invest more time in preparing these foods, but you can also prepare much more nutritional meals by using these foods. I’ve found if I immediately prep the food when I get home, it has a better chance of getting eaten before it spoils.
3. Shop alone.
Shopping with the kids can be really trying. As you are shopping, little hands often start grabbing things and adding them to the mix. The easiest way to avoid this is to leave the kids at home if you can. You can concentrate on making wise food choices if you are on your own. Saturday mornings at 7 am is the best time I’ve found to go without the kids – they are usually still in bed sleeping and the stores are vacant!
4. Look for discounted meats.
If you pay careful attention, you will notice that the meat department in your favorite grocery store marks down their price of packages of meat as they approach their “sale by” dates. There is nothing wrong with these meats; they just need to be sold and used soon. You can get a great cut of meat for a discounted price by looking for these reduced price stickers. Always check with the butcher to see if these meats can be frozen.
5. Check out discount stores like Aldi’s.
If you don’t mind shopping without the frills of your local grocery store, you can cut a pretty big chunk out of your grocery budget. Green shoppers who already bring their own bags won’t mind. Others, though, may not like the idea of having to pay for the store’s bags. Most of the products at Aldi’s are generic brands, so don’t expect to find your favorite name brands there. You can expect, though, to save a lot.
Do you have any fast tips for saving money at the grocery store?
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