Shrink That Food Bill – Awesome Tips for Saving Money While Shopping
How’s your monthly food bill? Don’t answer that, we know; it has a mind of its own. We try so hard to save, with our coupon clipping and hunting down sales. And yet that darn bill grows.
You’ve found it. This guide offers tips that you may not have tried. Read on, and get ready to save.
Before You Shop, Visit Your Kitchen
Take a good look at what’s already in your kitchen before you get in the car on log onto an online shopping site. Do you already have ingredients for a good meal or two?
And while you’re in the fridge, have a snack – it’s never OK to go shopping on an empty stomach. If you’re shopping while hungry, you’ll probably buy items you don’t really need. And do consider online shopping. When you can’t browse the aisles, you pick up fewer unneeded extras.
Have a Shopping Plan and Stick to It
Plan your meals for the week before you shop, considering the foods you already have at home. Then, stick to the plan. With online shopping you can tag your repeated items and shop more easily.
If you’re shopping in the store, be aware that stores place expensive items strategically, so avoid the temptation if it’s something you don’t really need. Keep asking yourself, “Do I really need this?”
It It’s Flashy, It Also Costs More
Pre-cut produce sure makes life easy. Just open the bag and pour. However, they are also more expensive and tend to spoil much faster. Get the whole produce and cut them up at home.
Those “Buy One, Get One Free” offers are really tempting, and good cost savers. If you see a sale but there’s only one item left, ask for a rain check. Here’s one more idea – have a meat-free meal each week. Meats are expensive.
Do you find your foods spoiling faster than you can use them? What a waste of money and meal ingredients, and it happens to all of us. So, freeze anything you don’t plan to use in the next few days. And here’s a surprise – you can freeze vegetables, fruit, milk, grated cheese, and bread.
Since you’ve planned your meals you know what you will need right away – keep it where you can see it to be sure you use it.
Don’t Panic about “Use By” Dates
This is a great tip – expiration dates aren’t exact, so don’t panic if an item gets close to the date on the package. You can probably still use it for a day or two, especially for non-meat or non-dairy items.
For meat products, if the package looks bloated or its wrapper has expanded, it’s a warning sign that the product has gone bad, so dispose of it. You might consider freezing all of your meat products when you return from the store.
Did you know about this? You can download one of these apps a few minutes after you get home, then get cash back or gift points.
Ibotta reimburses you for entering your shopping list (pre-shop) and scanning each item and your receipt.
The Nielsen Consumer Panel gives you gift points if you scan your items after shopping.
Fetch Rewards is similar to Ibotta, but you only need to scan your receipt. You can earn points for gift cards at big-name retailer.
And don’t forget your local store – they probably have a loyalty app too.
There are More Apps out There
You can save even more on your shopping with these apps:
Rakuten—get a $10 Walmart gift card for signing up, plus more rewards when you buy online from major stores.
Phil—have your medication refills delivered to you. This app even renews refills and deals with your insurance company about payments. New customers get a $30 discount.
Swagbucks—it’s a Google Chrome extension that takes a little off online purchases at Target and Amazon. You can get $5 just for making regular use of it.
Branching Out Takes Courage!
We all love our favorite stores, but it’s wise to shop around for the best prices. Just do it once or twice, and you might find that another store becomes your favorite because its prices are always lower. Branch out!
This might take some investigation, Sherlock. You’ll get awesome bargains at one store on a specific good, and at another store for something else. Here’s where you need to re-think your shopping strategy.
Coupons: The Modern Way
Rather than troll through the Sunday paper looking for clippings, you can visit a website and print them off at your convenience. Here are a few of the good ones: Pillsbury.com—as well as product samples, this site sends you $250 in yearly discounts.
Betty Crocker—Another $250 delivered straight to your email address. Get discounts on items like cereal, fruit tins, and yogurts. Like Pillsbury, they also send you recipe ideas for tasty, nutritious meals on the cheap.
Making Savings On Organics
If organic food is your thing, there’s no reason to shell out extra cash. Plan your meals seasonally—skip out on the strawberries in fall or winter, for example. You might find the total at the bottom of your grocery bill to be smaller than you thought.
If you’re looking for organic meat, it might be best to shop at your local wholesaler. Providing you have enough cold storage space to keep it in, you can pick up two to three months’ worth of fish, pork, and beef for under $50. Plus, buying local food always helps to support your community.