It can sometimes feel like you’re putting all your hard-earned money toward food and grocery essentials. Even though food is a necessity, many people wonder if they’re spending just a little bit too much on it compared to other household bills. Before you head off to the grocery store to do your weekly shop for the family, consider doing any of the following things to bring down your costs.
Draft a Meal Plan
Anyone who thinks they are spending too much on food may see the value in writing a meal plan. A meal plan outlines the meals your family will consume each week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. By planning out your meals, you may end up only purchasing what’s necessary rather than what you think you might eat. Even though they take a little time to create, they can save you time when you’re trying to think about what to have for dinner.
Buy In Bulk
Just as you would buy in bulk when preparing for a party, you can do the same with your weekly grocery shop. Many ingredients work out to be cheaper by weight and volume when you buy them in larger amounts. Pasta, baking ingredients, and even some proteins can be worthwhile stocking up on and can save you from having to purchase them as often.
Buy In-Season Produce
If you decide to plan your meals for the week, factor in seasonal ingredients. Trying to find some items for a competitive price when they’re out of their growing season can sometimes be an impossible task. For example, buying the ingredients for white bean and tomato salad may be more affordable in August than at any other time since that is when tomatoes are in season.
Reduce Your Brand Shopping
We all buy the brands we know and love, or the ones we see advertised on TV. However, many supermarket branded products feature the same delicious ingredients, but for a lower price. While some people note quality changes between brands, that’s not likely to be the case for all products.
For example, a family favorite, pasta, is available in many different dried forms with very few differences. Yet, the price gap can be significant between name brands and non-name brands. Try out a few options over time, and you may discover a more cost-effective favorite that saves you money.
Stick to Your Shopping List
As tempting as it can be to add a few sneaky sweet treats to the shopping cart, their price tags can all add up. By the time you reach the checkout, you may have spent far more than you intended. Write a detailed shopping list that includes everything you need and nothing more. Stick to it, and you may just notice you’re able to reduce your grocery bill quite quickly.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to bypass the confectionary aisle, consider shopping online. You’ll be able to track your spending while adding items to your cart rather than waiting for a surprise at the checkout.
Grocery shopping is not something you can avoid. However, you can certainly avoid spending more than you hoped to. Keep some of these ideas above in the back of your mind the next time you start planning your trip to the store.