If you are working to become debt-free, then trying to save on things like your grocery bills becomes important. Groceries aren’t exactly the first thing people look at when trying to reduce expenses. Even though food is one of the biggest items on any household budget, you’d normally look at utility charges, car payments and rent/mortgage first. However, you can save on grocery bills to significantly slash your monthly spending.
Ideally, you can expect to spend about 10-15% of your take-home salary on all your food. This includes groceries as well as potential restaurant trips and takeout. On average, the monthly cost of groceries for a single person in the United States ranges between $150 and $400. For married couples, the number is usually around $350 to $800 while a family of four tends to spend anywhere between $550 and $1,300 on food. If your month-on-month grocery expenses paint a similar picture, then a lot of this cost can be cut down to add several hundred more bucks into your pocket.
Why is Food Spend a Good Way to Save?
Saving money on grocery bills is a great way to decrease your overall spend each month. This is because unlike your mortgage and other payments, there is more room for maneuver in spending for food.
Because food is a necessity in life, many of us tend to overspend on food. it’s easy to go overboard and spend more than you need. It is for this reason that food spend is a great place to save money. Here are some cost-cutting ideas.
Change the Narrative around Dinner
Less really is more sometimes. Does the mere mention of the word “dinner” make you imagine a trip to your favorite eatery or a big meal at home involving multiple courses? If the answer is in the affirmative, now is the time to take it easy. After all, every dinner doesn’t have to be a feast to remember.
Trust us! Your family will survive if you serve them simple meals most of the time. Omelets, BLTs, and salads can be just as good. Eggs are normally inexpensive and you can use them to prepare many different items. If you want to go the fancy route, then it doesn’t take long to whip up a quiche or frittata. On the other hand, a simple egg salad sandwich works fine as a regular meal.
And don’t be afraid to experiment. Doing breakfast for dinner isn’t really such a crazy idea! Think french toast or pancakes with fresh fruit.
Be Creative With What You Have
This is a good challenge to take up. Instead of heading to your local supermarket all the time for groceries, go through your fridge or pantry a few times a week. See what quick meals you can fix using the ingredients already available. Chances are you’ll find quite a few items to prepare a nice and simple lunch or dinner. There are many recipe apps available and some even can allow you to add ingredients you have so that you can come up with something to make for a meal.
Keep an Eye on the Numbers While Shopping
This is a good way to track unnecessary costs. Whenever you’re shopping for groceries, keep a running tally of the amount that the things in your grocery cart are worth. By doing so, there will be no surprises when you get to the checkout counter.
Simply open up your smartphone calculator and keep an eye on the cost of all fruits, veggies, and other staple stuff that you add to your trolley. This is likely to make you question yourself every time you pick up that big can of whipped cream or go for a fancy $5 bottle of sparkling water. You’ll wonder if they’re really needed; which is a good thing in the long run.
Cultivate the Habit of Preparing Freezer Meals
Freezer meals are easy to prepare and really good at saving money.
You come home after a long day at work or you’ve just traveled across town to pick up your kid after hockey practice. Nothing has been cooked for the day, but you’ve got four to five readymade meals sitting in your freezer. All you have to do is pop a couple of them in the oven and a warm dinner is ready in minutes!
You can batch prep various freezer meals and store up to a week’s worth; perhaps even longer. This will also save time along with eliminating the stress of fixing something up each night. Moreover, there won’t be an excuse to go to a restaurant or order takeout. The result will be healthier and flavorful eating within the comfort of your home.
Research to Find the Best Place for Grocery Shopping
The dynamics of modern work life leave very little time for most other things. We’re so rushed that we don’t stop and think about the best place for food shopping.
Therefore, you need to find out which stores have the best prices to save on grocery bills. It might be the case that one supermarket sells cheaper coffee and tea, but other staples are expensive. Another might have good prices for cereals, fruits and vegetables.
In short, being slightly more methodical with your shopping behavior can lead to significant savings every month. And once you get to the end of the year, you’ll have a major sum in your pocket!