Most people knew that once fuel shot up in price, groceries wouldn’t be far behind. The two feed off of each other. Corn is used in gas and food is shipped to stores by trucks that use fuel. It’s a merry-go-round that we can’t seem to get off! Below are tips to reduce your grocery bill.
5 Tips To Reduce Your Grocery Bill
Make a grocery list and check it twice
No, we’re not talking about Christmas here, I’m talking about a grocery list. Most shoppers just go into the store with their “list” in their heads. Everyone comes out of the store with more items than what they thought they needed. Many times, these items are impulsle buys and were not really needed to begin with. Look, you’re not going to be the Supermarkets at their game, stop trying!
Supermarkets spend millions each year on Consumer research. They know what the average Consumer wants, how they will react to certain stimulus and what will and will not catch your eye and make you buy a certain product over another.
This is one reason that the highest profit margin foods are placed at eye level. They make it easy for you to reach out and throw it in your basket.
Time and Time again, studies have show that people who make out grocery list and spend as little time as possible in a Supermarket spend less money on groceries. Making a list before you go shopping can be the single best way to save money when buying groceries.
Why? Not only do these people have a list, many will also put the list in order of their location in the grocery store. The more time you spend “window shopping” in a Supermarket, the more likely you are to buy something you didn’t need.
In the book “Millionaires MInd”, one of the common traits that Millionaires had were that a majority of them not only made a grocery list, but they also drew maps of their favorite store. On this map each isle was drawn and labled as to what food was on that isle. This way, they started at one end and worked their way down each isle. They never forgot anything so they didn’t have to go back. They spend the least amount of time possible in the Supermarket. These people know how the Supermarket marketing game is played and they know how to beat it.
Coupons, Coupons and more Coupons
Sure, you can save money by cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper. Many people do that and save some big dollars. One huge market for coupons is new mothers looking for free baby samples.
Before we make a major purchase on anything, we always use the Internet to search for coupons. Many retailers put Internet coupons only out there and many people never think about looking for them.
You can also browse coupon forums and exchange coupons with other people. This saves us hundreds of dollars each year on our grocery bill.
However, the best way to utilize coupons is to join a site like The Grocery Game. I knew that I saved a lot of money using The Grocery Game, but had never sit down and figured up how much. Recently, a local TV reporter did a test between two shoppers. She gave each a similar list of groceries and sent them into the store to purchase the items. One believed that using coupons would only save her a few dollars and was not worth the trouble while the other used The Grocery Game to buy her items.
When it came time to ring up the goods, the shopper not using The Grocery Game had a bill for $93. The shopper who used The Grocery Game had a bill of $41. The other shopper was quite amazed and said she would certainly start using The Grocery Game in the future. It works if you’ll take the time to use it!
Angel Food Ministries
When I first heard about Angel Food Ministries, I thought it was only for people down on their luck. But I knew the lady who was telling me about it and she is anything but down on her luck. In fact, her and her family are one of the most diligent in budgeting and saving money that I’ve ever seen.
So I questioned her about the program. She answered all my questions and assured me that Angel Food Ministries was for everyone. She then sent me to the website and I read it over several times. The website says that anyone can use Angel Food Ministries, but I still wasn’t convinced, so I called my local Church where the food will be delivered. The assured me also that the program was for everyone, not only those down on their luck. They went on to say that they receive $1 for every unit sold.
The way Angel Food Ministires works is that you pay up front for a “unit” of food. Each month the unit of food changes, but they say that a unit of food can feed one person for a month. They also have what they call “Specialty Boxes” which are generally meat you can buy in addition to your regular “unit” of food. For example, last month we bought the “Grill Special” which had something like 6 Top Sirloin steaks, a package of pre-formed burgers and something like 4 or 6 ribeye steaks..all for $20!
The cost of each unit is $30 and the cost of a Specialty Box is $20. This food is purchased in bulk from major supplies so you’ll recognize many of the names on the food. Most of the beef comes vacuum packed so it will last a long time in your freezer.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and quantity of food I received with my box. Now, whenever there is a month with a lot of stuff we like, we buy several “units” and “specialty” boxes and stock up. This program has been the biggest single factor in us reducing our food bill!
Buy in Bulk
Only if you’ve lived under a rock would you not know what a Costco or Sam’s Club is. These are places that sell to business’s at wholesale prices. You buy items in bulk at discount prices. Most of these places require a membership and are not open to the general public. However, it’s reallys simple to get a membership and start saving. Many employers now have memberships to these type of stores as a benefit.
If you don’t have access to one of these membership stores, just go down and open a DBA and then fill out the application at your local membership store. In Texas, it cost $8 at the County Clerks office to open a DBA. A small price to pay for access to all the bulk food and household goods at Sam’s or Costco! Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
The way my family buys in bulk is that we’ll go in together with other family members and compare list. If there are several items we need, then we’ll buy in bulk and split the package up. This further reduces our cost.
One of the favorite things I buy in bulk are styrofoam cups. For $11 i get a huge box of cups and split them with family members. Then when someone wants something to drink, they use a styrofoam cup and do not dirty any dishes. Also, I prefer the styrofaom cups because they keep cold drinks colder and hot drinks hotter!
You can also buy meat and produce from these membership sites, but sink we started using Angel Food Ministries, we haven’t had to buy meat from any place else.
Just about every city has a Farmers Market. If not, then I bet there’s one not too far down the road. We love going to the farmers market and buying fresh produce. This past weekend we came home with a box of homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers!
We spent most of the weekend canning pickles and all sorts of tomatoe products like Salsa, Pasta Sauce and homemade Tomatoe soup.
Not only can you save money by buying locally, some local farms will actually sell you a membership to their produce. Then, each week you’ll get a box of fresh produce of whatever is in season on the farm. The downside is that you normally have to pay upfront, but with a little budgeting, that is something that can be accomplished.
You’ll also be helping to support local farmers. They raise better products for you and your family than what you can buy at the Supermarket. Most use all natural or Organic practices so you’re not taking in all the chemicals and pesticides like you do when buying Supermarket produce!
You can probably find a local farm in your area by going to LocalHarvest.
We can a lot of food each year. This also helps cut down my grocery bill, especially in the fall and winter when fresh produce is not available locally.
Canning is not as hard as many will have you to believe. As long as you follow some simple instructions, you can enjoy fresh food year round. There’s nothing like sitting down in Januarary to fresh Salsa made from homegrown tomatoes!
Take the time to learn how to can. Get the family involved and it can be a fun family project.
So how much do I save on my grocery bill? Well, I feed a family of 6 and when I sit down last year and calculated up our food cost and then divided by 12 months, it came out to slightly less than $150 per month…and that’s eating good wholesome food like Steaks and fresh produce!
These tips to reduce your grocery bill are simple. All it takes is planning and commitment! You can do it!