Given the current economic circumstances it makes sense for ordinary folk to effect savings in as wide a variety of spending areas as they possibly can. Whilst some spending areas are less susceptible of savings than others, one area where savings can be made, and possibly quite considerable savings, is the area of grocery purchases. A common means, perhaps the most common, of making savings on grocery purchases is the system of discount coupons, but even without the use of such coupons (and there are reasons why coupons may be infeasible, e.g. a dearth of nearby stores that run good coupon deals, a lack of coupons for the stuff you buy, etc.), it is possible to make real savings each time you shop for groceries and over time these savings cam amount to a very goodly sum. The beauty of it all is that you need not reduce the quality of your diet; indeed, you may very well improve upon your diet and save money at the same time.
Create a grocery budget.
Create a menu for your household, and stick to it. If your shopping habits remain faithfully aligned to your menu ideas, the possibility of impulse buying, a budget wrecker if ever there was one, is reduced quite considerably. In creating your menus, always keep your budget in mind.
Cut down on your shopping schedule. The more you shop, the more you spend, and vice-versa. Your grocery lists should be planned around the menu you have already devised; if you do this your budget should be adequate for your needs, more than adequate. Try always to shop with cash, and do not take more cash with you than is required by your budgeted expenditure; it may seem inconvenient, but the seeming convenience offered by credit cards can very often turn out to be very deceptive. Using cards increases the chances of overspending on non-essentials that catch your fancy. If you absolutely have to use a card for your shopping, you might consider one of the no annual fee cards that offer rewards for grocery shopping. Keep in mind, however, that no fee reward cards are credit cards just as all other credit cards; if you are unable to pay off your card in full as at when due, interest charges can easily wipe away any gains you have made in card’s reward scheme.
Create a price book that contains the items that you buy as well as how much they cost at different selling points. Do no hesitate to visit different stores so that you can search out the best place to buy different types of groceries, and endeavor not to buy non grocery items that you can get at lower prices at some other outlet.
Certain items are particularly susceptible to bulk buying. Items such as salt and canned foods which have a long shelf life as well as freezable items such as meat may be bought in quantity with the attendant savings and stored for later use. Keep in mind that if you intend to buy in bulk, you must store in bulk. If you do not have adequate storage for your bulk items, then you are likely not making any meaningful savings.
Cook full meals rather than buying prepackaged foods. Prepackaged foods are extremely convenient, but they come at a considerable premium in comparison to buying raw ingredients and cooking the food yourself. If you have adequate freezing facilities, you can save even more by cooking large batches of food and pack them in meal sized portions and freeze them for later consumption.
Cut down on meat and meat products which are expensive and considerably less healthful than other products that will adequately satisfy protein needs, such as beans. Also, cut down on boxed cereals which are much more expensive than home made alternatives such as oatmeal, pancakes, French toasts and the like. Cut down on expensive sodas and other store bought beverages and drink more water, buy shop brands rather than the more expensive big name brands, and always check for errors at the check out before you pay and take away your purchases.
On a final note, keep in mind that your time is valuable. If you spend loads of time chasing discounts worth just a few pennies, you have less time to do other stuff that are important. As in all things in life, balance is called for.