Planning ahead, clipping coupons and being less wasteful in the kitchen can save thousands of dollars per year. If you want to save money, learn these 10 Grocery Store “hacks” that would make your mother proud.
1. Plan Meals
Knowing what’s for dinner can take a lot of pressure off a family’s budget. No more dashing to the grocery store for last-minute items, or going out to dinner because there was nothing in the fridge. You can download free printable meal planners like these ones from almost every Mummy Blog. Or just use a cheap calendar. Easy!
2. Shop Using Flyers
But how do you decide what to eat? If you plan your week’s meals according to your tastes and cravings, you could end up blowing the bank, and bypassing all the good deals. Rather than saying “what shall we eat this week?” a smart Mum saves money by looking at the flyers in advance and says, “what’s on sale this week?”.
3. Cut Boneless Chicken Breasts in Half
Have you noticed how enormous chicken breasts are, compared to when you were a kid? Modern “farming methods” (cough), mean that today’s chicken breasts are about five million times the size of their 1980’s ancestors. Next time you are making crispy-coated chicken, follow my friend Marnie’s Smart Mum advice and transform one boneless breast into two by slicing lengthways with a sharp knife. Your kids will never know you hacked the chicken. As a bonus, eating less hormone-injected chicken might also mean that your kids don’t grow breasts at 8 years old.
4. Bulk Shop for Laundry Detergent and Other High Price Items
Don’t go crazy now. There is no need to cram your single-car garage sky high with two dollar laundry detergent and deodorant sticks like those wacky families on TV. But do apply the principle: if you see a really great sale – or even a Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) on toilet paper, laundry detergent, shampoo or other high price items, go ahead and stockpile a couple of months’ worth. Just don’t forget what you have in store!
5. If You are an Impulse Shopper, Stay Away from the Wholesale Stores
If you have a habit of returning from the wholesale stores laden with “bargains” and maybe a really nice pair of shoes, because “they were cheap” then do yourself a favor and get someone else to shop for you, preferably a man (they are less inclined to impulse shop). Just give your man-helper list and some cash and send him to the bulk store for you.
6. What’s Cash?
Who uses cash these days? You should! Several Finance Experts recommend using cash and envelopes to ensure that you stay on budget at the grocery store. Systems such as Dave Ramsey’s envelope system allow you to allocate a certain amount each month for groceries, entertainment, fuel etc. Shopping without a credit card means that if you come up short… you put something back… Just like your Mum did, way back when!
7. Clip Coupons
Coupons were fashionable in your Mum’s Day, but since the early 1990’s, the popularity of traditional coupons is in decline, according to TIME magazine. These days, smart Mums check websites like Coupons.com and Redplum.com where you can print free downloadable coupons.
8. Be Organized!
The key to being a good coupon-clipper is planning ahead, so plan to spend some time each week getting to know your coupon collection. Discard expired coupons, and only save coupons for items that you really need to buy. Just because there’s a sale on Jasmine plug-in air fresheners doesn’t mean you suddenly need one.
Organize your fridge too. Cleaning your fridge on a weekly basis will help you save money by making sure you don’t waste perishable items such as fruits and vegetables.
9. Reduce Food Waste by Making Soup Every Week
So, while you are cleaning that fridge, consider how much food you are wasting. The average household in the USA throws out about 215 kilograms of food each year — around $600 dollars worth. Save money by making a nice healthy vegetable soup every week using fridge leftovers. If you have a chicken carcass, make your own stock. If not, use stock cubes or bouillon. Experiment with different flavors such as garlic or coriander, and adding half a cup of rice, pasta or legumes to bulk it up. You totally do NOT need a recipe, but if you want one for guidance, here it is.
10. Pack your Lunch
If you work Monday-Friday, then buying lunch costs about $2,000 per year, according to a 2012 survey. According to the same survey, coffee adds another $1,000 on top. If you’re in a household where two people eat lunch outside the home, that adds up to a staggering $6,000 per year! Save money by packing your own lunch, and -gulp- yes, bringing your own coffee in a thermos. Your Dad did it. You can do it!
11. Always have a snack on hand
Smart Mums know that things never go to plan, so that’s why they always have a snack in their handbag, or in the car. Having a healthy snack from home means fewer trips to the drive thru or the convenience store, when hunger pangs hit. This is especially important for families with young children.
12. Drink Less Juice
Juice is a bazillion times more expensive than water, which is free. Drink water. From the tap. You will save hundreds of dollars per year, and reduce your family’s chance of developing diabetes.
13. Eat More Popcorn
Better Homes and Gardens advises their readers to save money by eating more popcorn (the old fashioned kernel kind) instead of pretzels or chips. Are you beginning to see the pattern? Many money-saving tips are also healthy tips!
Yup, that’s probably the best news of all. Saving money at the Grocery Store can also mean healthier eating habits for you and your family. Just ask any Mom!
* note: the quantities “five million” and “bazillion” are estimations