10 Tips to Help You Reduce Food Costs

When managing a household budget, how to save money on groceries may be one of the biggest challenges that you face. Groceries tend to be one of the highest expenses in American households.

Most individuals wish that they did not have to spend so much money to feed their families. However, if you know how to grocery shop smart, you will learn how to reduce food costs, which will help to keep you within your food budget.

If you wish to save on food, there are many tips that you can take. Some are as simple as joining a supermarket that offers rewards programs, while other tips require a little more effort, like learning how to shop using coupons. Follow the ten steps below to keep your family fed and your money in your wallet.

1.     Shop with Coupons

The first tip to how to save money on food is to shop using coupons. However, before you can use coupons at your grocery store, you must know how to find them. Coupons come in many different forms. Some may come as attachments to grocery store receipts, while other coupons appear on the item itself as peel-off stickers. It is also common for stores to send pamphlets with weekly coupons and promotions to people’s homes, or they hand them out at their stores.

Related Article: How to Combine Food Stamps and Grocery Coupons to Save Big

Lastly, you can check your local newspaper, especially the Sunday issue, since brand name coupons are added as inserts throughout the paper. Once you have found coupons for the things you need to buy for your household, you can plan out your grocery trips accordingly to save the most money.

2.     Join a Loyalty Program

One of the quickest and easiest ways to save on groceries is by joining a store’s loyalty program. Typically, you can sign up for a store’s loyalty program for free, and you will receive savings and rewards every time you buy from them. Most stores send electronic coupons to an email address that you provide, so that you can receive the coupons straight to your computer or phone.

3.     Buy Foods on Sale

You can also save money on food by buying items on sale. Not only do many stores promote weekly sale items, but they also run special promotions like by one get one free, offers. Pricier name brand items also have good sales that you can take advantage of. If you plan your weekly meals according to what items will be on sale at your local grocery store, you can save a great deal of money.

4.     Stick to Store Brand Products

To learn how to save money grocery shopping, you need to start buying store brand products rather than name brand products. While it is encouraged to buy brand names when they are on sale, it is also encouraged to stick to store brands for everyday items.

When you purchase store brand products, you are buying the same or a similar product, but with a cheaper price tag. Therefore, if you see a brand name product that you like, check the items next to them, as that is where store brand items often appear. You can then compare price tags and ingredients, so you can decide of buying the store brand products is worth it.

5.     Buy in Bulk

To learn how to reduce food waste, you must first pay attention to the items that you are buying that ultimately end up in the trash. While buying in bulk can help you reduce food costs, it must be done correctly. For example, stay away from fresh items like fruits and vegetables, as they typically spoil quickly. Instead, purchase more canned fruits or frozen fruits and vegetables. Not only can you buy these items in large quantities, but they also last much longer than their fresh counterpart.

6.     Double your Recipes

An additional tip for saving money on groceries is doubling your weekly recipes. You may thing that the more meals a week you cook, the more ingredients you need to purchase. However, when you double recipes, you typically are only spending a few more dollars to do so and get a greater return for your time and effort. When you make more food, you will need to cook less throughout the week, and you can ensure that none of the perishable ingredients you buy will go to waste.

7.     Shop Seasonal

Another way to save money on food at the grocery store is by shopping seasonally. When a fruit or vegetable is in season, they are not only in abundance, but they taste much better. Most importantly, they are also less expensive. To shop for seasonal products, visit your local farmer’s market. Not only will the produce come directly from the farmer, but you may discover additional fruits or vegetables that you did not know were in season. Farmers markets also offer discounts and bulk-purchase options that many grocery stores will not.

8.     Skip Pre-Packaged Items

When you run a busy household, it is easy to buy foods that are pre-cut, pre-washed, or ready-to-eat. However, purchasing these products is considerably more expensive than buying them in their basic form. If you take the time to wash and cut your fruits and vegetables, you can drastically reduce food costs.

9.    Shop Canned and Frozen Foods

It is often hard to save money on food while making sure that your family eats enough fruits and vegetables. However, you can make sure that your family is keeping a balanced and nutritious diet by purchasing canned or frozen food items. Though it is typical for canned or frozen foods to cost less than fresh products, they tend to have more sodium. However, there are many canned or frozen foods with “low sodium” or “no salt added.” Therefore, when cruising the frozen and canned food sections, be sure to read each label before adding the item to your shopping cart.

10.   Stick to Your Grocery List

One of the biggest tips to save on groceries is to bring a shopping list with you to the store and to stick to it. On your list, be sure to add only the items that you need. To make sure you always have a grocery list on you, create an electronic list on your phone and send it to the members of your family or keep a note in your wallet or refrigerator. Not only will this keep you from buying foods you already have or that you do not need, but it will help you reduce food costs.

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