Inflation is a pain for a lot of reasons. Gas prices are going up, basic utilities are a bit pricier and our trips to the grocery store fill our carts but empty our wallets. Whether you’re a person in a family setting or a bachelor that lives on your own, the rising food prices are a dilemma for pretty much everyone. Unlike other things, food is something that we absolutely need to survive. How can we reduce the amount of money we spend on food and not deprive ourselves of what we need? Here are some tips and tricks so your grocery bill doesn’t eat away at your wallet.
- Always have a list. This is a huge must! If you are going to the store, make a list and do not deviate from that list. The accessibility that the internet provides is a huge help with this. You can go to the internet, look up coupons, and check out what’s on sale. The list will help you keep on track and buy
- Try to use cash. If you can get close to your cost, you can even try to have the amount of cash that you’ll need plus only a little extra in order to restrict yourself even further than the list will.
- Always try to buy in bulk. Why? Because, especially if it’s on sale, you end up spending a lot less money if you just freeze the extra meats you buy and shelve the extra canned goods.
- Make homemade meals. Eating at home is almost always cheaper than eating out (unless you have a really good coupon or deal). Yes, I know you think it always tastes better when someone else makes it. But when you’re pinching pennies, it’s a bad idea.
- Don’t buy boxed food. Just because you’re making it at home doesn’t make it cheaper. I realized this while in college: I was paying $2 for premade bagel pizzas. You know what ones I’m talking about. Then, I compared, and realized that if I bought a package of larger bagels, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni, I was spending a little bit more ($7 compared to $2), but it was covering me for 4 meals instead of 1! Homemade meals, on average, are about 25-50 percent less cost than their frozen counterparts.
- Use coupons. Coupons are usually free or, if you buy the Sunday paper, it’s like $2. To save as much money as you’ll save clipping coupons, the $2 is worth it. There are also countless websites that offer coupons that you can print and bring to the store.
- Sign up for Bonus Cards. Many stores also have bonus or rewards cards that are also free. Even if you only go to that store once or twice a year, the time it takes to sign up is worth it.
- Compare prices between stores. It may take more time, but with the internet, it’s easier to figure how which stores sell what for how much. Sit down and plan out where to buy what things. You may spend a little more on gas, but sometimes the differences are so significant that won’t matter.
- Buy before they go bad. Check sell-by dates and freeze-by dates. A lot of times, stores will drastically reduce prices of items so they can sell them instead of throwing them away. I do this with meat a lot.
- Don’t go all the time. Keeping your kitchen stocked and only going grocery shopping a couple of times a month will help keep your costs down. Knowing what’s in your pantry will help so that you don’t have to buy basic supplies unless they’re on sale.
We all need to eat. But eating doesn’t have to be a chore. Be smart, and follow the tips and tricks that we just talked about and it will help your bills be less and your savings account will have a little more at the end of the month.