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5 Smart Ideas for Keeping Your Grocery Spending Under Control

budget, money, groceries, ideas

Aside from your mortgage, your biggest monthly expense is likely groceries. And unlike your mortgage, your car payment and most of the rest of your bills you actually have some control over how much you spend at the grocery store.

Here are five simple ideas you can start TODAY to get your grocery spending under control.

Make A Grocery Budget

Start by tracking how much you’re spending on groceries for a few weeks. From there, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. Allot that money for groceries and whatever you do don’t go over.

Next, try cutting back your budget by $20 per month. Keep going and see how low you can go. The remaining tips will help you do that without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.

Keep A Grocery Price Book

Who doesn’t love a bargain or a good deal? They are all over the store, but do you know if what they advertise as a good deal is actually saving you money?

Keeping a small notebook in your purse with the regular prices of the items you buy the most is a big help. This way you can see which deals are really “deals.” This also you help with determining what kitchen staple is the least expensive. Your price book will also come in handy when you browse through weekly grocery flyers. You can decide if a loss leader deal is worth driving to the store long before you ever set a foot out the door.

Use Coupons & Savings Apps

groceries, budget, money, ideas

I use apps when I go grocery shopping along with coupons whenever possible. These are my favorite apps that I’m currently using:

      • ibotta
      • Checkout51
      • Savingstar
      • Basket
      • Price Cruncher
      • Coupons
      • Flipp

Some Grocery Coupon Tips

        • If you’ve never clipped coupons before, the best way to start is by purchasing the Sunday paper. Most Sunday newspapers contain sales circulars and coupons. Create a shopping list of the things you need. Now, look for coupons that match the items you need.

        • Coupons can save you anywhere from twenty-five cents to a dollar or more on the stuff you buy every day. Occasionally you will have coupons that let you get a free item when you buy something else. For example, you can get a gallon of milk free if you buy two dozen eggs. These are helpful when you need both milk and eggs.

        • Coupons work the best in combination with other savings. Use a fifty cent coupon at a grocery store that doubles coupons. Doubling or tripling of coupons is listed in the store’s sales paper so you will know when to shop for the best bargains. More free groceries are coming your way when you use a coupon in conjunction with a “buy one, get one free” advertisement.

        • Many grocery stores have their own discount cards to save shoppers more money on each food bill. Weekly, money-saving deals on bread, cheese, meat, and other staples make certain stores more popular than others. This is the best time to use coupons. There are no restrictions on using coupons to enhance the already low deals provided by the store.

        • Some stores have bins where people put the coupons that they don’t need so others can use them. You could find a coupon for that new air freshener or that new yogurt you wanted to try. Coupons are great for purchasing things that you want to trial but wouldn’t think of paying full price for. If you use your coupon on a doubling day, you will save even more.

Where Do I Find Grocery Coupons?

        • Coupons are not just in newspapers. Many online sites offer members the opportunity to download and print coupons for their favorite items. Many coupons can be downloaded weekly and used at any store that accepts manufacturer’s coupons.
        • Clipping coupons really does save you money on your grocery bill. Use them to stock up on things you normally use and to try out new products. Don’t throw your savings away in the trash each week.

Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes

groceries, money, budget, ideas

You don’t have to make drastic changes and eat nothing but rice and beans all week. Instead think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys. They may be rice and beans. Or how about a big pot of soup or chili. Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet, or use meat in small portions on frugal dish days.

Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month combined with using up any and all leftovers will make a big difference in your grocery budget.

Cut Out The Extras

Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it. Extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the impulse buy candy you grabbed at checkout can really add up. Get in the habit of skipping those extras. Stick to your list and you’ll see your grocery bill decrease dramatically. Remember, all of the extras add up quickly and to the detriment of your budget.

Give these tips a try and see if you don’t start to see big savings on a weekly basis. What you do with all the extra money each month is up to you. Save up for a fun summer vacation, pay off those credit cards or start building your financial safety net.

Shop Alone!

I mentioned this in a previous post and I’ll say it again…shop alone if at all possible!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone shopping with my husband and our little one in tow and the grocery “list” idea imploded.  The implosion usually takes place in the cookie aisle.  There are times when it is a very good idea to have a second and even a third pair of eyes.  It’s been my experience that says grocery shopping is not one of those times 🙂