Message from Alisha:
When Vanessa approached me about doing this guest post on the topic of saving money on food I was excited to see what she had to say. I went through an intense couponing phase for a while when my kids were just wee little ones (and $$ was tight) and we saved a lot of money by following couponing sites like Money Saving Mom and Hip2Save during that time. I loved getting a good bargain, and I still do! I have a little less time for coupons these days, but I am still a sucker for a great deal.
Sidenote: There is a difference between trying to be smart with your money and being in a situation where you desperately need money to be able to eat. If you are having a hard time providing for your family right now, you might find this extra article helpful here.
Just yesterday I was trying to explain what the word “frugal” meant to my daughter. She was under the assumption that if we were rich she would get everything she wanted. I wanted her to understand that we are doing just fine, and that even if we had all the money in the world I would still choose not to give her everything she wanted. I said we were frugal, and that was smart, and she had no ideas what I was talking about. I see the value in efficiency, practicality, and frugality. When all of these three things work in harmony my heart sings just a little. You too? If this sounds like you, keep reading. . .
Check out what Vanessa Davis has to say on the topic of saving money when it comes to your food budget:
Everyone knows that preparing your own meals instead of visiting a fast food joint or your favorite restaurant will save you a lot of money. That’s just common sense. But did you know just much money can you save if you start preparing meals at home?
Well, a study conducted by Accounting Principals from 2012 revealed that on average, buying lunch every day will cost you around $2,000 per year. Just think about it like this – that’ around $500 more than your average worker spends on commuting and $1,000 more than he spends on coffee per year.
But the problem is, almost 66% of US workers still opt for meals prepared by cooks and fast food employees. The statistics are even worse among the younger generation – young professionals spend $45 per week on food, compared to $32 spent by workers 45 and older.
How to Save Even More Money on Groceries
So if you desperately want to save some money this year, you need to start preparing meals and snacks and bring them to the office every day. But let’s face it – groceries can also be expensive, and they can take a big bite out of your paycheck – even if you’re just feeding yourself.
In fact, food is the 3rd-largest household expense in the United States, and if you’re feeding a family of four, your monthly tab runs anywhere between $500 and $1,500 every month (some people spend even more). But there are certain ways you can help you trim the fat, without giving up the meals you love.
Four Surprising Ways to Save Money
1. Shop Only Once a Week
Basically, the logic here is – the less you shop, the more money you save. If you manage to reduce compulsive purchases, write down a grocery list once a week and start buying a week’s worth of supplies in one shot, you’ll also save a lot on gas.
Luckily, if you don’t feel like you have enough time to go grocery shopping every week, there are certain meal delivery services that deliver fresh groceries (along with new recipes and spices) at your front door on a weekly basis.
2. Always Look for Substitutes
Even when you start writing down everything you need for a week, you’ll need to review your shopping list from time to time in order to narrow down some of your most expensive purchases. Once you find out what they are, you should start looking for low-cost alternatives.
So the next time you visit your local super market, don’t just reach for the items you usually buy, take a few moments to look around and inspect other groceries. For instance, try swapping ground turkey for ground beef and save a couple of bucks in the process.
3. Browse the internet for Coupons
Back in the day, couponing required a lot of newspapers, magazines and at least one pair of scissors. However, the modern age is here, and things have changed drastically in the last couple of years. You now have sites like SmartSource and RedPlum to assist you with coupons.
Just visit these two sites (or any other for that matter, since there are dozens of similar sites out there now) and see what coupons are available in your area. After that, you just need to print the coupons or load them onto a loyalty card if you happen to have one.
4. Stop Visiting So Many Isles
Even if you have a strict list of groceries, you still might end up buying stuff you don’t really need. Because, statistically, the more aisles you walk down, the more likely you’re to take items that you didn’t originally intended to buy.
Just look at this, according to a recent MSI study, people who’ve managed to decrease the number of isles they usually visit check out with only 50% of their items being unplanned purchases versus almost 70% of items for those who visit almost all aisles.
Those are just a couple of ways you can save some money. Of course, there are many more ways you can do it – so do you feel like we left some of the crucial ones out? Do you maybe have any shopping secrets of your own; you wouldn’t mind sharing with the rest of us. If you do, make sure to leave a comment in the comment section bellow and tell us all about it. By Vanessa Davis
Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at www.diet.st. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic-based recipes for herself and her kids.