$100 a week on groceries- can it be done?
Yes, it can. Thanks to parents magazine and a little of my own ideas, i will walk you through how!
First you have to get a game plan-
Be prepared to go to a few different stores to save the most money, but factor in gas and time to be most efficient. Scan the sales fliers and get your weeks worth of meals mapped out using that vs. a cookbook. Find the "loss leaders" (the items priced too low to pass up that the retailer hopes you will come buy and purchase others while you are there) and base your meals off of those.
Once you have your list, review it carefully. You don't want to go in for these items and come out with a cart full of groceries, or get discouraged by missing ingredients and default to ordering takeout. Now, cut those coupons! The average coupon cutting family saves almost $400 a year on groceries. The best ones still come in Sunday's paper, but you can find countless online as well just by searching for items on your list.
Choose shortcuts wisely-
Food in it's simplest and purest form is usually cheaper, but they call convenience food that for a reason. A bag of brown rice is cheaper than the instant, but know it takes an hour to cook. Dried beans are cheaper than canned, but will you remember to soak them overnight? Still, i would suggest do-it-yourself route when at all possible, as it is much healthier. Buy a large yogurt instead of the small single-serve containers. Buy a pound of green beans, rather than the ready to go bags.
Store brands are just as good-
The nutritional content is nearly identical and you can save several dollars by making the switch. You will find your family happily eating the no-name brand, and probably not knowing a difference.
Some splurges are worth it-
Whole wheat/organic items can be more expensive, but because of their content actually fill you up quicker. Some things, such as meat, you can spend more to get the leanest, best cut and just spread it out over more meals.
Make the most of what you have-
There will be times during the week when you will want something you didn't purchase. Instead of racing to the super market, stick to your plan. You will quickly realize how much food you had been throwing out because of this. (the average American waists a pound of food a day!)
Extreme Bargain Hunting-
*time is money- take time to clip those coupons. it pays off!
*forgo the convenience foods completely and save even more
*Nix the single serve/ prepackaged anything and just do it yourself
*Track costs- make a list of 20 non perishables that you buy often. When they go on sale, stock up!
*Scour bargain racks- marked down meats are great if eaten/frozen same day. Get good deals on baked goods at wholesale outlets. Buy soaps and paper goods at discount/dollar stores.
*Hunt high and low- companies pay extra to have their items at eye level. To find the best deals, look at the top and bottom shelves.
*Watch for shrinkage- just because it is cheaper doesn't mean you are getting a deal. Sometimes an item will be cheaper, but have less.
*Beware of overcharges- watch the cashier as they are ringing you up. Also, go over receipt for any mistakes and call service desk if you find any!
*Produce can be cut and frozen! When it is on sale stock up, cut it up, package it in meal size portions and freeze!
Websites for you frugal shoppers:
What are your ideas? Please leave a comment and share!