Saving Money At Home: Spend Less For Groceries

Tired of hungry grocery bills eating up the monthly budget? Here are some tips for reducing your family's grocery bills.

Food is an indispensable part of the monthly budget, one of those necessary things we can't do without. However, you can try a variety of techniques to spend less at the grocery store.

1. Use leftovers. Many household cooks store leftovers in the refrigerator, only to discard them a few days later. Get in the habit of cooking with leftovers to avoid throwing them away and to save on the grocery budget. For example, if you have leftover mashed potatoes, make potato pancakes for supper the next day. Use leftover pot roast in a stew, and freeze part if there is enough for two or more meals. Bananas starting to rot? Mash and store them in freezer bags, then thaw for your next banana cake or muffins. Very little food needs to be thrown out with resourceful recipes.

2. Shop on sale days. Check your supermarket's ads and watch for special sale days. Some stores offer two-for-one deals or reduced prices on certain items on a particular day of the week. Other stores run a variety of typical sale items each week. Keep an eye on the ads and know when to buy certain things at reduced cost. You may even want to visit more than one store if you have the time to do so.

3. Don't shop when you're hungry, thirsty, or tired. Research suggests that shoppers who experience any of these feelings will be more likely to buy extra items, consciously or unconsciously, than those who are fairly comfortable and do not experience these sensations. Have a snack or a cup of tea before you shop to help you pass up tempting but unnecessary display items.

4. Use coupons. Your favorite stores may publish these in newspaper ads or you can download them off the Internet. Some stores double a coupon's face value up to a dollar. Ask about your store's policies on coupons and compare prices with other local supermarkets to get the best deals at the best coupon or sales prices. Swap coupons with friends or family members to get the ones you want. You may want to start a coupon exchange at school so that a large group of parents can participate by leaving coupons on a hallway table and take the ones they can use.

5. Buy only what you'll use and truly need. Stores are designed to set up displays that make shoppers want to buy things they don't need. Think of the checkout lines where rows of candy, gum, and magazines bait shoppers into last-minute purchases. Make a list before you shop and follow it carefully. Of course, if you find a special deal on something you normally use, like tomato sauce, it may be a good idea to purchase a few extra cans. Purchase items that you can use with recipes your family will enjoy, not things that will sit in the cupboard, unused.

You can save tens of hundreds of dollars in your budget by planning ahead and watching for sale discounts through a variety of means. Approach it as you would a part-time job and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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