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Frugal Living: Tips to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half
We all love to save money here and there, but doing it takes time and planning. The hard part of saving money is learning exactly where to make adjustments without sacrificing good quality. If you have a large family like mine, you probably struggle with keeping a strict budget. I have learned over the years that if you don’t keep a budget, you will end up spending on things that you don’t need, or things that you will never use. Below I have included some of the best tips I have come up with in order to save money, but continue to enjoy the things we love. Remember quality as you try to save, going the cheap way is not always going to give you good quality. Choose cheap whenever the quality is not compromised. Involve the entire family in your savings plan; let everyone share ideas and participate in making choices.
Where are You Wasting?
Food is one of the items where most families waste. In our case, my picky eaters wasted foods that they were not willing to try, and they also wasted by serving themselves too much. I have learned from my bad experiences and it is no longer a goal of mine to force my children to try things they refuse to eat. Another reason why we were spending so much on food was because we purchased a lot of snacks. Snacks are yummy, but they are the priciest items on your grocery list.
Tips to Save on Food
1. Buy on sale
Yes, buying on sale sounds like your grandma’s advice, and although it may not seem like a lot of savings on one shopping trip it all adds up. There are items you only want to buy on sale, my suggestion is to buy snacks and meats ONLY when they are on sale. You should take as much advantage of sales as you can. Stock up on non-perishables and/or freezer items for at least three months. Supermarkets usually rotate sales around every three months. I am not too focused on brands when it comes to food and neither should you. Go ahead and buy store brand to save a little extra.
2. Plan your meals
Planning meals around food you already have is one of the best tips I have ever learned. I used to go to the supermarket and grab items without a specific plan for them, the days would pass and it would go bad and my money run down the drain. Now, I don’t focus on having a full pantry or refrigerator, my focus is what we will eat in a certain week. Planning your meals may seem tough at first so remember not to make it too complicated on yourself. The best way to begin planning your meals is by doing it a day at a time. Before you know it, you will be a pro. You can also meal prep to save even more, I haven’t mastered this yet, but I’m hoping soon to do so.
3. Follow serving size
When you plan your meals, do so by planning according to serving size. Like I said before, this will take time and practice in order to master. I realized that if I cooked meat for seven people, our family of five would eat it all. However, it is not necessary for us to eat so much meat and meat is one of the most costly items on our grocery list. I now count the pieces of meat I cook and I make sure I separate for each person a single piece of meat. We still eat a lot of meat during the holidays or special occasions. By doing this I have managed to cut my meat budget in half. Never cook more than what you will eat, unless you are planning to eat left-overs the next day. Following serving size will also help your family shed those extra pounds.
4. Buy Frozen
My children are very picky when it comes to vegetables, so the majority of times only my husband and I will eat them. I have learned to incorporate frozen veggies instead of fresh to save extra money. I still buy fresh every once in a while, but if I see that I haven’t used them, I make sure to freeze them before they go bad. The same goes for fruit. We only buy fresh bananas and apples, and occasionally a seasonal fruit as well. The fruits that we consume are mainly in the form of smoothies or as a part of our green juices. I stock up on frozen mixed berries, mangoes, peaches, and pineapples. I often buy pineapples on sale and freeze them myself. Right now I have two small pineapples I purchased for a $1 each, and they are ready to be frozen; I will use them in my green smoothies.
More Money Saving Tips
Toiletries and Paper Goods
Another big item on our shopping list was toiletries. This is also where I have a hard time with quality. My husband and I like body wash instead of bar soap, but often that means we spend more money because our kids will pour too much. I have learned to purchase bar soaps that are good on my skin and we buy the body wash occasionally. We only use a certain brand of toilet paper, which we find for years has been the best quality for the price. Whenever I can save extra by buying other brands, I give it a try but I don’t do that often.
Tips to save on toiletries
1. Don’t be afraid to try
I know a lot of people are afraid to try new things. Often there are cheaper items that you will probably like best but don’t know because you haven’t tried. There was a particular bar soap I refused to change, but I realized now that there are a few that come very close in quality and that when my pocket is tight will be no problem for me to buy.
2. Shop dollar stores
I love the dollar store because it gives me the opportunity to try new things without compromising my pockets. Recently I bought a really good bar soap. When I arrived home I searched Google, since I had never heard of that soap, and it turns out it sales online around $4 a bar. You can also find good quality dental floss and toothpaste at the dollar store. My rule is purchase things made in trusted countries, but I am not sure we can trust anyone anymore. The dollar store is also a great place to purchase certain beauty items such as nail polish, cotton balls, nail clippers/files, lip glosses, and much more.
3. Buy big
When it comes to paper towels and toilet paper, you should go big or go home. This is where you want to buy the largest sizes because it will save you money. For example, the toilet paper I buy costs on average about $4.99 for a 6-roll pack, while a 20-roll costs me $11.99. By buying big I save 24 cents per roll. The paper towels I buy cost about $6.99 for a 9-roll pack and the 4-roll costs about $4.99, so I save more by buying the jumbo sizes. Another tip I have just begun implementing is to have a few towels in my kitchen for our family to dry our hands instead of using paper towels. I also reuse paper towels to clean around the house.
Of the tips below, which do you find more useful?
The best thing you can do after reading this hub is to begin saving. Analyze where you are throwing money down the drain and begin planning your way out. Like I said before, this will take time so don’t rush it and don’t be disappointed if you don’t see immediate results. Make everyone in your home accountable for their spending and/or waste. This sounds crazy, but teaching your kids the results of their waste will help them even as they go into their adult life. They will learn to be more organized and thankful for what they have. Whenever my kids want to eat out, I remind them that if they choose not to finish their food, they are actually wasting money I could have used on something else for them. That way I make them aware of their waste. Same goes for husbands; when the man is not in charge of the grocery bill, they tend not to realize how much money is put into it. Have your husband go shopping on a budget so that he can learn and be a better team player. Go enjoy your savings and come back for more, as I will be sharing more tips in the near future.