Photo Credit:  KSquier

Prices have increased on almost everything from gasonline, electricity, to groceries. I wanted to share how we save money on our grocery bills. I’ve updated my list from last year. If you have any tips, please add them in the comments.

 

·         Sit down and make a shopping list. This seems really elementary, but it is the most important step. Can’t figure how to make a good food list? 

·         Try working backwards. Think of the meals you like to have this month. Do you like spaghetti, chicken wings, or tacos? Break the meals down until you have a list of items.

·         Buy for the month (or longer). Our goal is to go a big grocery shop once a month. We’re not crazy about grocery shopping, so we try to make this as less painful as possible. Wal-Mart typically has the cheapest prices on our core items. We try to get the majority of items from there and just get milk, bread, juice,etc. when we get low.

·         Use the internet to find great coupons.  Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com says you can find fantastic deals. “In about half an hour a week, you can make a real difference in cutting your grocery bill in half.” She saved over 70% on her grocery bill when shopping with the Oprah show.

·         The shopping list is king. A shopping list can be tedious at first, but once you get used to it, you’ll save money. You’ll buy what you need to and are less tempted to pick up extras along the way.

·         Buy meat in bulk and freeze. We try to get a huge chunk of ground beef on sale. That tip drops the cost per pound down. When we get home, I immediately portion the meat into several meal sizes.  Bags and freeze it.  I have broken it down for meatloaf, spaghetti, tacos, hamburger helper, etc.

·         Take advantage of sales that you’d actually buy without the sale. Sometimes I want to buy something because it’s on sale. It’s not something that we use a lot or even at all. When you do that you’re not really saving money, you’re spending more. It’s not bad if you do this once a shopping trip if you want to expand your menu, but since you’re on a budget, save it for after graduation when you have more income to work with.

·         Making it yourself can save you money. We do grab a few prepackaged meals for when we’re time crunch, but otherwise we just cook it ourselves.

·         Cut the junk food snacks down. Sometimes grabbing 5 cans of Pringles is a bit too much. Don’t completely stop getting them, just cut down. Your waist and wallet will be grateful.

·         Eat leftovers. Some of the best food I ate was leftovers; pasta taste better the next day. Be reasonable, though, and don’t keep things in the fridge until they grow stuff. Be safe and eat it within the next 2 days. If not, dump it.

You may also want to see if it is cost effective to join Costco’s or other bulk shops. How have you changed your grocery shopping habits?