Moms are busy—we all know that. For those of you juggling a career along with your parental responsibilities, life is even more challenging. In the midst of all your duties, however, it’s important to find as many ways as you can to keep costs down. Many household budgets are still tight, and it seems like there’s always an expense for your kids popping up out of the blue. One of the easiest things to do when it comes to your budget is to save more money on groceries. The average American household pays $1,037 per month for food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so the potential is there to score some big savings. Get yourself started with the following five tips and reduce your family’s food bill today.
1. Broaden Your Couponing Strategy
Grocery coupons can be found in the Sunday paper—if you’re not currently using that resource, start. In addition, there are myriad coupon apps available—Pushpins, Grocery IQ, and Grocery Pal, for example—and you can also visit manufacturers’ websites for printable coupons to bring into stores or use online. If your preferred grocer has an app, be sure to download that as well.
2. Revamp Your Family’s Diet
Transitioning your family to a diet based more on fresh vegetables and fruits and away from red meat and junk food also saves money. If you get pushback from the husband and kids, don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. Veggie stir fry dishes are tasty, and you can blend all manner of fruits with a little milk for delicious smoothies. Grilled vegetables make for a healthy and flavorful side, and when you do prepare beef, go for sirloin and flank steak and skip the pricey filets and NY strips.
3. Load Up on Specials
When staples such as pasta, rice, or dried beans go on special, stock up. If your family consumes a lot of these items you can save a bundle. This strategy can also work for frozen vegetables and even chicken breasts. Just be sure you have enough room to store everything before you buy it and lug it home.
4. Use Shopping Lists
Instead of winging it or making a mental list, peek in your fridge and pantry to see what you need and write down an actual shopping list. Doing so, and sticking to it, can make you a much more efficient shopper. Be sure to refer to your list when you’re tempted by impulse buys at the checkout counter—if they’re not on the list, don’t get them.
5. Use Alternative Food Stores
Check the internet to see if there’s a farmer’s market in your area. They generally offer a wide variety of fresh produce at lower prices and of higher quality than national grocers. Also consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture organization, if possible. You get a well priced weekly bag or box of fresh fruits and vegetables straight from a local farm.
6. Take Advantage of Customer Loyalty Programs
Signing up for your grocer’s customer loyalty program gives you better access to deals and discounts as well as the ability to accumulate points which can be redeemed for rewards. If you shop at Kroger, be sure to take advantage of its discount gasoline program which offers 10 cents off a gallon of gas—up to 35 gallons—for every $100 you spend on groceries.
As you begin to revamp your grocery shopping strategy, organization is important. Clear out space in your pantry and freezer to accommodate those bulk sales. Keep your paper coupons organized in a file based on food category and expiration date, and use a grocery list app like Grocery Gadget if you prefer to go digital. You can cut your bill significantly by fine-tuning your shopping approach, and staying organized makes the journey that much easier.
What ways can you think of to save on groceries?
More Family Budget Tips: