Let’s face it, food is a necessary expense. If we don’t eat, eventually we will die. Food though, doesn’t have to be expensive in order for you to survive. I’m not recommending that you buy the cheapest food there is to buy, I’m wanting you to stop overspending for it. Keep in mind that the purpose of food is to fuel your body and to keep you from dying. You need to eat nutrient rich food that will fulfill that purpose. Rice and Ramen are not nutrient rich although it is cheap.
I use the digital ones from the store that are stored on my loyalty card. I have in the past clipped coupons and they do work. You need time to do it though but it really does add up and can actually save you money. Now, it doesn’t work if you buy items you don’t normally buy or are going to use. I have printed them from the computer as well and it paid off for me so much that I could stock up to a few months’ worth of some food items. It was food that didn’t spoil or I could freeze so that was beneficial. They are worth the time, effort, and energy as long as you are buying items that you would normally buy and you do consume those items. Double coupons is the best because you get double the value of the coupon. I really like it when the item I was purchasing was on sale and I was able to get double coupon value. That’s how to maximize your savings. For the record, I have never been an extreme couponer nor do I feel that is necessary. I have used it to my advantage though using some of the logic from extreme couponers. Coupons are money that you can take advantage of to help you save your money.
2. Shop on sale
Look at the sale paper or your grocery store’s app before you go to the store and see what is on sale this week. Then plan your menu for the week. If it is a high cost item like meat then you can get a few and freeze for later. There are a lot of food items that can be purchased on sale and then frozen. Remember, food is a variable cost and its’ purpose is to give you nutrition. It is not a show of wealth and shouldn’t be. Be mindful of what you are doing with your money and your food and how it affects your life.
3. Buy in bulk
It is more to buy in bulk up front but it will save you in the long run. Buying your paper products at Costco or Sam’s is just a smarter choice. It saves you time and money. I buy our meat from Costco because I am a member of Costco and I put it in the freezer. I also get our tomato sauce and other items we frequently use and store it all in the basement. That way I just need to shop in the basement sometimes instead of shopping at the store. This is a great way to save time and money. I try to limit my trips to this store to every other month or eve longer because every time you get into the car you are spending money on gas. Being able to purchase in bulk is a great way to cut a little in spending overall.
4. Shop Aldi
I love this store because I know I can get food and not break the bank. I have not ever spent more than $60 in Aldi and I can easily spend $80 or more at Kroger. I usually buy less at Aldi because the choices are more limited. This is a good thing and something that I like about Aldi. This store offers enough of a variety that will meet your needs nutritionally and will give you enough savings that you will be able to afford to eat nutritionally. In all fairness I do sometimes still go buy Kroger to pick up certain items that I just like to have or if I need it for a special recipe. I still try to get it on sale or with a coupon because I don’t like paying full price. But for fruits and vegetables, you can’t go wrong with Aldi because the price is so much better at Aldi. Oh, and for those people that can’t fathom putting in 25 cents for the cart, get over yourself. The cart return is so not a big deal and you get your quarter back when you return the cart.
5. Make a plan (menu)
Having a menu will prevent you from spending too much at the store. Go in the door with a plan. It will help you minimize impulse purchases and help keep you on budget. If you manage to come under budget then even better. Move that surplus into next week’s budget. Continue doing that in case you absolutely have to buy cup cakes for that event at work. I know that school and work functions can get costly especially with the unspoken competition that plays out on who brought the best food item. So, budget your self for that and even better, come up with a low-cost food that tastes amazing and everyone will think you have this awesomeness about you and you will be required to bring that to each and every event. Figure it out. You need something yummy and only cost you pennies on the dollar. Once you start planning your meals out in advance you will be amazed how much control you have in your life and how much more relieved you will feel. It is work at first but it will get smoother. Once you master this you will be bragging about how awesome you are at saving time and money. Your friends will be asking you to teach them.
Try to open yourself up to buying store brand and off brand items. I have friends that complain about how much everything costs and then go to the store and purchase only brand name food. They refuse to even entertain the thought that off brand could taste good and save them money. It’s unfortunate that many people have brand loyalty. My question is though, why be loyal to a brand especially since it’s not ever going to be loyal to you? I feel this is insanity.
All of these things I have suggested today are things I have actually done or are still doing. I am not going to just hand over my money to anybody and I will be in control of that process. You can be in control too. It all starts with being willing to do whatever it takes to get you where you need to be. Once you choose to take control of your life you will be amazed at how awesome it rally is and how all the work and effort is worth it. I know how I have come a long way from being controlled to being in control. If I can do it, anyone can.