Even if you were never thrifty before, now is a good time to start. While it’s good to reevaluate your insurance to see if you can save money there and consider refinancing when the rates are low, the biggest place to save money is your food budget.
If you’re looking to save money on your food bill consider these ideas:
o Look at the weekly grocery ads for the best deals. Make your list from this instead of off the top of your head.
o Often different stores will have different strengths. I buy my meat at one store, produce at another and everything else at another store to get the best deals.
o Think large categories as opposed to specifics. If you are open to buying “fruit” instead of “apples” or “cantaloupe” you can save a ton of money. Look for foods you like that are also on sale in each broad category.
o Buy in bulk but be careful. Sometimes buying bulk can be cheap, but check those ads because you may be able to get a better deal.
o Consider generic UNLESS the name brand is on sale for less.
o Make things from scratch. I know it sounds like a ton of work, but it’s really the learning curve that takes time. Once you get past that, it’s easy. A bag of frozen veggies, some browned meat and a few spices and dinner is done.
o Compare the price per ounce instead of the overall price of the items.
o Use coupons but make sure it’s for stuff you really need and use and make sure the store will double them first. In addition, hang on to them and watch the sales. When something is on sale, then use your coupon to get the very best price. If the item never goes on sale, use the coupon just before it expires.
o Don’t get hung up on the 10 for $10 sales. They look great and they really may be fantastic deals, but maybe not. One store may have mangoes at 10 for $10 but another store may have them for .88 cents. 10 for 10 has a ring to it but you don’t always have to answer to it!
o Stock up. When you find a great deal on non-perishable items, stock up if you can. When a new generic brand comes out they’re often dirt cheap. It’s a great time to fill your pantry.
o Don’t buy things that aren’t on sale because they go with things that ARE on sale. Often cake mix will be on sale one week but the icing will be regular price. Stores count on the fact that most people will buy the icing if they can get the cake mix on sale. Buy that cake mix when it’s on sale and put it in the pantry. When the icing goes on sale, buy that.
o Instead of eating at a restaurant, make double batches and freeze half so you don’t have to cook on those busy nights.
o Use baking soda and vinegar to clean instead of buying expensive cleaners.