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Save Money on Food and Groceries

Save Money on Food and Groceries

People who do not know how much they spend on groceries each month are twenty times more likely to be over their heads in debt than those who know exactly how much they spend on food each month. Those struggling with debt are always surprised that when they keep a record of every food-related purchase made for a month, including dining out, fast food stops, vending machines, etc., and realize just how much they spending. The fast food lunches and Starbuck coffee purchases really add up. This money could be better used to pay down debt instead.

If you kept a record of every penny your family spent on food, including dining out and fast food purchases for two months, you might be surprised to discover just how much you're wasting on unnecessary items, too, such as prepackaged or ready to eat meals and such. It is recommend that you keep a record of what your family spends on food for a two month period so you can determine how to reduce your monthly food budget.

Of course, everyone has to eat, but there are ways you can reduce your food budget significantly. Tips are as follows:

Stop eating out

This one is a no-brainer and doesn't really need an explanation. Dinners you prepare at home are significantly less expensive than meals you pay someone else to prepare.

Don't buy frozen meals

If you empty the contents of a frozen dinner onto a plate you will quickly realize that you are getting very little food for what you are paying. Do you realize you are paying $300 a pound for that tiny bit of veggies on the side? If you lead a busy lifestyle, set aside a weekend afternoon to make your own frozen dinners and meals prepared from scratch.

Don't buy pre-cut meats

You are paying a premium for the supermarket to cut up your meat and chicken for you. Doing the cutting yourself will save you about $1 per pound or $223 per year for the average family of four.

Compare supermarkets

Don't shop at the closest supermarket just because it's more convenient. Driving a mile or two down the road can save you as much as $50 per week on groceries. You might find that products you routinely buy at one supermarket are priced as much as $1 or $2 less than they are at another supermarket. One should also compare the unit prices on the store shelves to find the better bargain. For example, many people assume you get a better deal if you buy more product, but often the unit price reveals that buying the 8 oz. instead of the 12 oz. is more economical.

Buy generic

Generic and store-brand products are often processed at the same plants as name brand products, but they are much cheaper because they aren't advertised. A significant portion of the price you pay for a name brand product is to cover the high cost of advertising it in the various media. This is why name brand breakfast cereals cost $1 or $2 more than the generic brand and why Tylenol or Bayer pain relievers cost $3 or $4 more than the generic brand that isn't advertised. Stop paying for all those television commercials and print ads and you will save more than $500 per year.

Consumer Reports did a study and found out that generic brands are of the same quality as name brand products, so why not buy generic and save? Store brand milk costs about $1.50 less than the name brands; generic laundry detergent usually costs $3 less; generic soda pop costs about $1 less; and bread is also about $1 cheaper. You could save $6.50 on just these four products. Consumer Reports found that the average person could save more than $30 per grocery trip just by buying generic. That's $120 per month right there, but you can save much more if you get rid of your loyalty to the nationally advertised brands.

Buy day-old bread

The bread at the day-old bakery is almost as good as the bread in the supermarket, yet it is half the price of fresh. Visit a day-old bakery and stock up on bread and other products you can freeze and use later. How much you can save depends on how much bread you consume.

Image by: James Walsh