Nine months ago, my husband and I became a single-income household. It’s taken some adjusting but the process has truly changed our financial habits for the better. For us, the key to living on one income is lowering our monthly expenses—namely our grocery/dining-out budget. Not including our mortgage, this is where most of our money is spent. (What can I say? We like to eat.) We’ve learned that cutting costs in this area is doable—it just takes a little time and effort.
SHOP AROUND. Sometimes you have to go to more than one store to get the most bang for your buck. For example, big box retailers have better prices on certain things than regular supermarkets. (I always buy my milk and eggs at Sam’s Club.) Likewise, the best deals on produce are usually found at your local farmer’s market. You can get a great value on fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables, while supporting family farmers.
SHOP SALES. The most effective way to save money at any store is to buy the items that are on sale. Every major store lists their weekly ad online now and most even have their own mobile app. Checking sales before you go shopping has never been easier, so plan ahead. Just pay attention to what day the sales start and end. One time, I made an entire grocery list based on a sale that ended the day before I actually went to the store. Oops.
USE COUPONS. Trust me, it’s worth it. It’s not like I’m getting my groceries for free or anything, but I’ve racked up my share of serious savings. Coupons typically save you the most on big ticket items; i.e. paper products, personal care items and pet supplies. And, contrary to popular opinion, coupons are easy to find and use. I recommend checking your local Sunday paper, coupons.com, and Money Saving Mom for the latest coupons. MSM is a fantastic blog with an amazing coupon database. You can literally type in anything on your grocery list (i.e. Butterball turkey) and see all of the coupons available for that item, saving you both time and money! Also, many stores offer their own coupons that you can stack on top of manufacturer coupons, so check out the policies where you shop to save even more.
That’s it! Yes, there are more resources out there, but I’ll save those for another day. This is enough to get you started on the path to spending less at the grocery store. Happy saving!