How to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year on Your Food Bill

Common sense tells us that when we are hungry, we should never go to the grocery store or corner market to buy food. Why not? When your stomach is rumbling and everything looks and smells good, odds are you will overspend, even though you have the best of intentions. With some well-thought out planning, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the food you purchase.

First you need an action plan. Do you want to save twenty-four hundred dollars a year on your food bill, or two-hundred dollars per month? How can you do that?

Plan dinner menus in advance. Before you go grocery shopping, create a menu of what your family will be eating for the next seven days. On a separate piece of paper, list all necessary items for that menu, after you have rummaged through your pantry and freezer, so as not to unnecessarily purchase something you already have in adequate supply.

Use coupons. I tend to forget I have coupons if I do clip them. But some take coupons to a whole new level by subscribing to two or three Sunday papers so they have two or three times the coupons. They may talk to their neighbors and swap coupons. And there are certainly many websites, such as Coupon Suzy, where you can search and print coupons. Also check those in-store coupons from most grocery chains, which based upon your spending, do encourage you to return. This last weekend I happily used a ten-dollar off in-store coupon from Safeway.

Shop at an outlet store first, then a large grocery chain. Look for some sort of discount grocery store, much like a Grocery Outlet store, the Bargain Market ®, which offers brand name products, including canned goods, meats, vegetables and fruits, at forty to sixty percent below traditional retailers. Note that manufacturer coupons are usually not accepted at a discount grocery store. Take your grocery list and do not deviate. On a usual Saturday, I am saving upwards of sixty-five dollars. Before I head to the local Lucky’s or Safeway, I make sure I have marked off what items I already purchased, which keeps my second grocery store jaunt pretty short. I may only have ten or so items left to purchase.

Eat breakfast at home, take lunch to work, cook dinner at home. Instead of stopping for breakfast twice a week (ten dollars), grabbing fast food dinner twice a week (forty dollars), and always buying lunch at the deli (thirty-five dollars a week), eat breakfast at home, take lunch to work at least three days a week, and have dinner at home five to seven nights a week. Even if you only saved five dollars a day for thirty days, that is a hundred and fifty dollars saved.

You will be surprised at how quickly and easily you can save.