Grocery Shopping on a Budget
A major part of any plan to be debt free, involves controlling food expenses. Whether you are buying groceries for one, or a family of eight – here are some great ideas on cutting food costs:
1. Track Prices.
a. Keep a notebook of prices on the products you buy, using the checkout till receipts. This will help you to know when a ‘sale’ price is really a bargain.
2. Before you go grocery shopping:
a. Check to see what you currently have in your pantry/fridge/freezer
b. Start your Shopping List by identifying the basics you need to replace
c. Review the fliers for specials and coupons
d. Add the specials you plan on buying to your Shopping List (remember to stay within your budget)
3. Prepare a meal plan for the next week based on the specials you will be buying and the basics you will have.
4. When you go shopping:
a. Go grocery shopping after you have eaten (hungry grocery shoppers buy more)
b. Take your Shopping List, coupons and price notebook
c. If you have a coupon for an item, make sure that using the coupon results in a lower price than buying the generic equivalent. If the generic brand is less, buy it instead.
d. Avoid too many pre-processed foods – while they can sometimes be time savers, they often cost more than homemade and are usually less nutritious
e. Buy in bulk – when the items can be stored and used before they go stale
f. If possible, do not take children grocery shopping
g. Avoid impulse buying. If you want to buy an item that is not on your shopping list – it needs to:
i. be a major saving, and
ii. a food that you know your family will eat, and
iii. not put you over your budget
h. If a sale item is not available – get a rain cheque at the checkout
5. When you get home:
a. Put everything away as soon as you can
b. If you plan on splitting up and/or freezing any of the items you bought – do it right away
6. Update your price notebook using your grocery receipt.