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What's Gobbling Your Grocery Bill?
I don't know about you, but it seems like all of my money these days goes to Publix, my grocery store of choice here in Florida. I also love to shop at Whole Foods, but their nickname is "Whole Foods, Whole Paycheck." I can never get out of that place spending less than $50, even if I intend on going in for one or two things!
Groceries gobble up the largest part of the typical American family's household budget, even more than some people's mortgage payment! The US Department of Labor estimates that the average American family of four spends $8,513 per year on groceries. That's $709 per month! Food prices rose 4% last year and expected to do the same this year.
Here are some tips for lowering your next grocery bill:
- Buy generic or store brands. Often the quality and taste is exactly the same but the savings can be huge.
- Shop the ads and stock up on items when they are on sale or "buy one, get one free"
- Clip coupons. Even though they are only 50 cents, if you use enough, it can save you quite a few dollars in the long run. Only clip for things you normally purchase. Some people end up buying things that are more expensive (or the brand name instead of generic) just because they have a coupon for it. Look for stores that will double your coupons.
- Buy in bulk. Get larger portions and break them up. Freeze meats and make your own "100 calorie packs" with snack sized baggies and a box of crackers instead of buying the box of 6 or 8 individual packs. Only buy things in bulk that you will use up before it goes bad. Throwing food away is obviously very costly!
- Shop less often. You are more likely to impulse buy the more often you go. Do major shopping once or twice a month and get fresh items just once a week.
- Go with a list. This also helps to prevent impulse buys.
- Plan your week's meals and snacks and stick to that list.
- Shop alone without other family members who may pressure you into buying things that you don't need (kids are good at doing that).
Photo courtesy of istockphoto