Gas prices aren’t the only thing that has gone up in recent months. With it has come a slow but steady increase in the cost of groceries as well, along with anything else that must be transported from one location to another. Everything from milk to meat has gone up and with it the amount of money we must allocate for groceries each month. Now is a great time to get into a few little habits that will add up to big savings at the cash register.
If you’ve thought that coupons were a big waste of time, now may be the time to rethink it and give these little money savers another try. Yes, coupons can save you money, but use them carefully. Don’t let the fact that you have a coupon for product X bully you into buying it if you don’t really need it. Figure out what you really need from the store and then go through your coupons. Only grab those you actually need and weed out any coupons that have expired as you go along. Make it a habit to clip coupons once a week and stick them into a little box or an envelope.
Comparison shopping is also a good idea. Take a few minutes to glance through the different store advertisements to find out who has chicken on sale or where you can find the cheapest milk (check your local gas station for milk). If you know your family eats a lot of chicken breast for example, it’s worth making a trip to the store that has it on sale and stock up on a few pounds. Freeze some of the meat for the next few weeks.
Make sure you don’t go to the store hungry. Grab a little snack before you head out the door. When we’re hungry, we end up buying a lot more food вЂ“ especially junk food вЂ“ that we don’t really need and weren’t planning on buying in the first place. All these extra little purchases add up, not only at the register, but also later on the scale. Shop after you eat, or at least grab a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts to eat on your way to the store.
So far so good… while all of the above will help you save money on your groceries, we haven’t gotten to the most powerful strategy yet. You’ll be surprised how simple, yet effective it is once you put it into place. Here it is вЂ“ Plan your meals ahead of time and only purchase the items that you need for those meals. You can plan part of your meals around the items that are on sale, or look for a good deal on the ingredients you need to prepare the dishes you picked. Why does planning ahead of time work so well? Because you can make a grocery list that includes everything you need to prepare those dishes (avoiding extra trips to the store), and you don’t buy too much extra вЂњstuffвЂќ that ends up going bad in the back of the fridge. Coming up with a plan is also the best strategy to avoid impulse buys that will have you overspending on your weekly grocery budget.
Planning your meals and your grocery list is easy with the Menu Planning Basics report and the menu and shopping worksheets that you can grab free at www.MenuPlanningCentral.com вЂ“ Or if you prefer, you can have вЂњThe Menu MomвЂќ create the menus for you.
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