While you might not think of your food budge as an important piece of your monthly finances, but simply put, we need to eat. It takes a lot to stay on top of the household finances when it comes to making sure the mortgage and other bills are paid, not to mention making sure you are saving for your future retirement, and in the meantime, an emergency fund in case a large unexpected charge hits so you don’t have to put on a credit and fall into debt, because if you cannot afford it now, it will take months of paying back the balance, plus interest. That doesn’t leave much left after, so if you can reduce expenses, you can have a little more leftover each month, and the food budget is a good place to start.
Avoid Going Out to Eat
Sure, it’s nice to have someone cook, serve, and then cleanup after us for a nice meal out, but when you get the bill, it’s probably what you could have bought at the grocery store for a whole week’s worth of groceries. If you think about how little ingredients cost, and how you can spread across many meals, maybe if you can reduce the amount of times going out to eat and stay home, you can watch the savings add up almost immediately.
Make a Shopping List
The grocery store can be an overwhelming place with the number or aisles, not to mention the prepared food that looks good as you’re walking by, it can be easy to fill up the card with plenty of impulse, unnecessary purchases that will throw your budget out of whack and fill up your refrigerator and pantry will most likely unhealthy cravings. If you can take inventory and make a shopping list of everything you need before you leave for the store, you can avoid filling up on any impulse purchases and can focus on only the items that you need.
Never Leave on an Empty Stomach
On the subject of impulse purchases, there is no easier way to fill up on items you don’t need is when you are hungry. If you go to the store on an empty stomach, everything will sound good and you will be more likely to fill up the cart with items you just want at the time. If you can eat before you head out to the store, you can save yourself the extra costs at the register, and avoid any unhealthy snacks and meals that you would have most likely loaded up the cart with otherwise.
Coupons Still Add Up to Savings
While the days of clipping coupons, and keeping a plastic bag around with you at the store, fishing out the items you have a coupon for may be over, with the decrease of newspaper subscriptions, but that doesn’t mean that the days of saving money are over. With the amount of mail ads, we get there are always ways to save money. Also, if you go to the grocery store’s website you can load digital coupons on to your shopper’s rewards card to have taken off at the register. The only trick is, you may have to print out a list so you remember what you have coupons for.
Fuel Points in a Nice Bonus
Speaking of the shopper’s rewards card, one of the best perks of using your card at the register is that you can have fuel points add up with your purchases. By accumulating points, at select gas stations you can receive discounts off each gallon of gas while you are filling up at the gas pump. Depending on the size of your gas tank, those with larger tanks could benefit in saving more with the total. Keep an eye out for mail coupons as well that you can scan to earn additional fuel points as well.
Stay Away from the Weekend Crowd
While it may not save you as much money, but time is money, and why stress out and go on the weekend where you have to fight for a parking spot and compete to get through the aisles, only to wait in a line at the register. Grocer’s know the weekends will be packed so why have any additional sales as well. If you can go during the week, you may find additional sales, not to mention if you can go after dinner mid-week, you can get through the store in minutes, probably not even seeing another customer down some of the aisles.