Slash Your Grocery Bills

The average family of three with school-age children spends about $196 a week at the grocery store. Following these tips, that family could shrink its receipts by $30-40 a week or more.

Make A List – Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry? We tend to buy more food and more junk food. Typically, when we go to the grocery store and don’t have an idea what we’re looking for, research tells us that we spend 30% more than we would if we had a list. Planning out your meals for the week will cut the amount of unnecessary food you purchase significantly.

Bag It – Five-pound bags of onions, potatoes, apples and other fruits are often significantly cheaper than the ones sold loose. In addition, buying more of the fruits and vegetables will not only keep your wallet healthier, it will also keep your body healthier.

Is Bulk Better – Just because you can buy something in bulk doesn’t mean you always should. Check the cost per unit. Often stores will have the pricing on the shelf broken down by a cost per unit. Sometimes bigger packages cost more than the smaller ones. The cans of dog food we buy are $0.70 each or $8.64 for a box of 12. The $8.64 translates into $0.72 each.

Prep It Yourself – Convenience is something that many people pay dearly for. Recently, we went to the store and saw a bag of apples (roughly 12 apples) for $2.98. There were also pre-cut apple slices for $1.00. When you checked the weight, the pre-cut apple slices came out to just over ¾ of one apple. Bagged salad mix and shredded cheeses are also huge money wasters. Do it yourself and save an average of 50-60%.

Use It Don’t Lose It – On average, we throw away 14-25 percent of the food we purchase. Instead of throwing so much food away, re-purpose it. Lots of foods can be reused in other dishes. One of my favorites: Ham beans turn into great stew when you add some tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and celery. You can also set aside a spot in your fridge for foods that need to be used first to avoid spoilage.

Freeze It – Bread and other baked goods, hard cheeses, milk, most fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, and soups will freeze well and will store for quite a while until you are ready to eat them.

Cut Down On Soda And Other Packaged Drinks – Many families today spend more than they think on the cost of sodas. Soda prices have consistently risen over the last few years and are likely to continue to rise. The average cost per gallon of soda cans…$3.53. The average cost of Kool-Aid with sugar per gallon using packets is $0.36.

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