Managing family food money? Really? How? Food is a must and you spend money on food on a weekly basis, if not daily. Other than dining out, you buy grocery and cook at home. With some great tips on hand, it saves you a ton of money. And I mean a ton.
I must tell you that this is a great investment. We have 2 fridges at home for the last 10 years. One is in the kitchen and the other is in the garage. Of course, it provides a capability of more storage not only for your weekly grocery, but also stocking up regular items when they are on sale.
Let me give you an example. We use about 1/2 pound of butter every week. In other words, I need to buy a pound every other week. Well, if I do that, I must pay the regular price. It may not sound or look like a lot of money. If you calculate it for an entire year, that is quite a bit of money right there. So, when butter is on sale during the holiday season, I stock it up for the entire year. Thanks to my second fridge. It allows me to stock it. Apply the same principle on your regular items, such as frozen pizzas.
Have you ever realized that when you don't have any shopping plan, you wander more, shop more and spend more money no matter if it is grocery, clothes, shoes and anything else? Agree?
Always have a shopping list or plan for yourself. Check out this Weekly Dinner Menu page where you can download dinner plans and shopping list every week.
Otherwise, you can do like what I do here. I learned this trick from my Uncle Joe. I am old school and still like to have Sunday newspaper with me.
(Side note: some supermarkets give out exclusive coupons to newspaper subscribers.)
Every week, I like to compare the prices and look at what is on sales in those big supermarkets in my area. Sometimes, it could be in 3-4 stores at the same time with different items that I need.
Once you figured out the store with the lowest price, circle it and fold the corner of that page (just like it shows on the picture below). Then, as soon as you step into the store, you know what you need and where to go and grab them.
Always compare the prices between these stores and make justifications if you should make a special trip to that particular supermarket for just a few items in bigger quantity. Sometimes, it is worthy of your time to do so. Sometimes, it isn't.
The special trips I mentioned here means you will go in and out of the store like a snap. No wandering around. If you have this self-control, it saves you a lot of time and money. If exercising this self-control is too difficult for you, stick to one store and have a complete shopping list with you.
"There are things in the supermarkets on sales. The price is super attractive. I don't know when I am going to cook it and have it on the table. But it is too difficult to pass up this deal. Just get it first and worry about it later." Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
You may only consume, enjoy or eat this food once in a great while. This is my suggestion to you....only buy it when you plan on cooking it in the next few days. Why? If not, it will end up in the garbage. This happens a lot to us how we throw our food into the trash can. That is the last place that I want to see my food belongs.
You are going to wonder if I am contradicting myself with tip #1, right? I know it sounds confusing. But it is all about balance. That's right. Not only balance of diet, but also balance of managing family food money.
If you pay more attention of how you use certain food items, you will know the frequency and quantity your household uses on a regular basis.
For instance, there are a couple of weeks during the year when there is canned food on sale. Tomato sauce, tuna, canned soup and more are sold at great price if you buy the minimum quantity.
If you and your family only use 2 cans of tuna throughout the year, I highly suggest that you save the money on buying something else instead of 10 cans of tuna with a superb price.
Not only because of your health, but also of your wallet, less processed food on your shopping list definitely fulfills those 2 requirements.
If you pay attention for a bag of chips with 5-6 oz in a huge bag costing average $3 each, how can you spend that money on something all natural and healthy for you? You may able to find your answer easily in the store. But does it mean that you must skip all junk food? No, life is about fun. Just less processed food.
How often do you do price comparison? How often do you listen to your supermarkets that they offer the best price and quality? There are stores that you can earn gas saving. There are stores even offer a free mobile app through which you can scan the receipt and help you to compare the prices in your area. Then, it will come back and tell you that you paid the lowest price in the area.
I have done all of that. And this is my discovery.....your price comparison is always the most accurate one instead of what the stores tell you. I learned this over and over again that one store claims to have an item for sale that week. The other store didn't mention that same item in the flyer could offer the lowest price in the area. Unfortunately, I paid more in the store which claims having that item for sale. I did learn my lesson in a hard way.
In my opinion, the more catchy of the slogan, the worse they could be in price and service. Keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention. Then, you will find out what I just told you is true. So, always refer to the facts, your price comparison. Your eyes are the windows of truth.
Look at the pic that I took from a national big chain store's app. The catch is "if a competitor advertises a special deal".
What does that mean? That means if you purchased an item from this store knowing you pay more than buying from one of its competitors, you can only get a refund "if a competitor advertises" this deal. Very catchy, huh?
What we just discussed about comparing price by yourself will affect how you can use coupons to save you more money. "Seriously? Everybody uses coupons to save money. So using any one of them when I make purchases is a no brainer." Well, if you think it that way, I want you to think it again. Let me ask you these 2 questions.
Do you buy brands? Or do you buy price? There is a big difference here.
If you buy brands, coupons save you tons of money. If you can use manufacturers' coupons and store coupons at the same time, the saving is even better. Let me give you an example. In my household, when it comes to skin products and laundry soaps, we stick to the same brands because of our sensitive skin.
But when it comes to canned food, I mostly go by the price. If you are all about the price, buying products with brands could cost you more money even though you use coupons.
So, think about your usual practice and your habit. Use coupons strategically to save more money.
Over 95% of my recipes here on this website are very affordable for all families. But these are the cheapest among all of them which can fit in very tight family food budget:
English Muffin Breakfast Casserole
Piña Colada Popsicle
Ham Spaghetti Stir-Fry
Thai Pineapple Coconut Chicken
Bear in mind that different people are in different situations. You may live so far away from one of the big supermarkets in the area. So, taking time to drive that far may not compensate the money you save in grocery. You may be better off to keep it local for a little bit more expensive items with fewer choices.
Or, you are happy with store brand items which always offer in lower price with similar quality. So, the most important thing for managing family food money is to base on your judgement.
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