A grocery budget is one of the trickiest monthly expenses to manage. Hidden costs, impulse buys, and purchasing in bulk to “save” can easily cause this line item to get out of control. Add in takeout a few times a month, and suddenly food becomes a major money drain.
If you’re looking for ways to trim your monthly food costs, try these tips:
- To save money on groceries:
- Buy generic products when you can. Check the nutritional content to make sure the generic option isn’t loaded with extra salt or sugar.
- If you shop at more than one store, track the price for items you buy weekly or monthly. Also, watch for sales.
- Purchase in bulk when your budget allows. Before you buy, do the math to make sure you are getting the best per piece price.
- Download apps that will help you comparison shop or provide extra discounts.
- Make meal plans. Creating menus in advance will cut down on food waste.
- Leave some room in your budget for impulse buys. Spend this on little treats or save it for the occasional big indulgence. People rarely stick to budgets (or diets) that are too strict.
- If the store that is closest to your home tends to be more expensive, determine if it’s cheaper to drive a greater distance and shop less often. If you have groceries delivered, look for retailers with the lowest rate. Don’t forget about the benefits of shopping at your local farm stand or bakery.
- To save money on eating out:
- Opt for takeout. If you prefer delivery, look for coupons or other discounts that will cut costs.
- If you’re picking up food to eat at home, skip the beverage in favor of something that’s already in your refrigerator.
- Eat local. Small, locally-owned restaurants may be less expensive than a big chain. They’re also a great way to support your local economy.