A weekly shopping trip for groceries includes food and basic hygiene items at different stores. There are tissues, toilet paper, feminine products, and cleaners, for instance. Americans with the discipline to follow a plan are saving money on their regular grocery bills with all or some of the ideas below (or see this list of coupons).
Go out with an idea of what you will eat Monday through Saturday, at least, maybe leave Sunday as a “free day” where you treat yourself to something unexpected. It’s a burden to be always planning, planning, planning. Everyone needs a bit of spontaneity in their lives. They also need to know there are meals prepared ahead of time in case someone gets sick or an emergency arises. When planning meals, make at least one of them double-sized and immediately separate the dish in half. If you don’t, there’s the temptation among family members to go back for big, heaping seconds instead of more salad.
Prepare Healthy Snacks
A healthy snack is a plate of sliced carrots and cucumbers, not chips or chocolate. It is a nourishing combination of carbohydrates and protein that will fill you up between meals and fend off that hangry feeling. The best carbohydrates for the job are not refined ones made with flour, sugar, and margarine but whole foods. Baked items are fine as treats once in a while, but daily snacks like fruit and vegetables with a spoonful of peanut butter, a handful of nuts and seeds, or a big slice of cheese go a lot further. You feel fuller, faster, especially when the snack is paired with a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea on a cold day. Processed snacks leave you hungry and cost more money than real food. If snacks are chopped up ready to go at the start of the week, you’ll be unlikely to dive for junk during a long day. Keep sealed containers full of good things so that members of the household aren’t tempted to buy French fries and cheese twists.
Most of the foods you eat daily cannot be purchased online. Perishables such as meat, chicken, milk, and produce should be fresh from the grocery or farm market, even your own garden, if possible. Items such as laundry and dish-washing soap, feminine pads and tampons, shampoo, soap, and toilet tissue will last a long time in the cupboard. Can you make space? If so, order a lot of such items from online stores that reward consumers for ordering big volumes. They will deliver or ship your order for free if the bill is above a certain dollar amount. Calculate price per item too to ensure you are getting the very best price and a local bulk dealer like Costco can’t do it for less.
Join a Discount Store
Some stores, like Costco, sell membership, but consumers get their money back quickly, especially if they are providing for a large family. Take advantage of their free samples to fill up and avoid a trip to the food court at a local mall.
A number of coupons really make a difference if you are still buying cereal and yogurt and haven’t managed to wean kids onto oatmeal or a healthy alternative to something made primarily with flour, sugar, and air. Yogurts are typically full of sugar, but they are better than custard and pudding, at least. Many dairy and cereal companies provide coupons which can be printed from the internet, cut from cereal boxes, or redeemed via Smartphone with an appropriate app. Even if you shop at regular grocery stores, the internet can come in handy for saving money.
Stay Away from Fast Food
It’s not just greasy and bad for you; fast food is expensive. Sure, there are places that make sandwiches, wraps, and salads, but anything substantial or healthy tends to cost more than a bun full of processed meat and cheese. As for soup and a salad, stores charge more than double what you would pay to make them at home. Usually, a fast-food soup option is the powdered stuff you overlooked at the supermarket because of its salt and MSG. Don’t pay double to eat something you avoid at the grocery store.
When an event is coming up that usually forces you out of the kitchen, prepare ahead of time. Create fillings for sandwiches from nut butters and honey, cooked chicken and salad, and keep containers on hand plus cutlery and plates. Compile salads or build sandwiches from a cooler during hockey practice.