EXERCISE PATIENCE: Instead of buying items when you run out, watch for bargain prices on products you want, and buy them when they are on sale. As you are able, buy enough to last for a couple of weeks or until that product goes on sale again (probably about 12 weeks). Ultimately, the goal is to only buy things when they are sale and never at full price.
EAT THE SALES: Instead of creating your menus for the week around what you saw on Pinterest or saw in a magazine, discover what’s on sale this week. Now create your menus based on what’s on sale. If you need help, take a look at eMeals.com, a meal-planning service that uses what’s on sale this week in your favorite supermarket to create your family’s ideal meal plan. And you have choices from classic to gluten-free, low fat and even paleo — and quite a few others, as well. Check it out.
GO INTERNATIONAL: Spices boost flavor without adding sodium or fat, and many have their own health benefits. You’ll find them for less in the international aisle. In my local supermarket, an ounce of cloves costs $4.79 in the spice aisle, but 99 cents in the international section.
USE COUPONS: The world of couponing has tightened up. It’s not as easy as it used to be, but when you get it right, couponing is paying off more than ever. Experts tell us that every hour used couponing saves that consumer, on average, $100. Not bad pay, right? TheGrocery Game.com continues to be the most reliable and helpful couponing site, offering weekly grocery and coupon deals lists for grocery and drugstores in all 50 states. Membership is well worth the benefit. CouponMom.com offers tutorial videos with detailed instructions for how to get the most out of coupons.
IN-SEASON PRODUCE: You’ll know immediately what’s in season by the price. In season means an abundance of that item is now available. The price will reflect that. Eat seasonally, and you’ll spend less.
OPT FOR THE LARGER SIZE: Single-serving containers of yogurt, nuts, raisins or any number of other food items may appear to be convenient, but that’s an expensive way to roll. It takes only a few seconds to divide up the contents of a large container into reusable containers at home. By way of illustration, generally you can save $2 by buying a larger tub of yogurt compared to the same amount of product portioned out into single servings.
MAKE YOUR OWN: The easiest ways to reduce your high grocery bills is to stop purchasing prepackaged convenience foods. I challenge you to look at the receipt from your last trip to the grocery store. Add up the convenience products you purchased. And it’s not just the price. Packaging and processing adds fat, sugar, sodium and calories. Instead of paying a fortune for mixes for brownies, cakes, muffins, seasonings, etc., buy the raw ingredients to make your own. You’ll save a lot of money and, as a bonus, know exactly what you are eating.
STOP BUYING SODAS: Drink water instead. It’s much better for you and infinitely cheaper and getting cheaper all the time as the price of soda continues to creep higher and higher!
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.