If your grocery bill stresses you out, you’re not alone. Food is expensive; the average family spends nearly $11,000 every year on groceries and dining out. In fact, food is often the second biggest expense that families have. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. You can cut your grocery bill down considerably and have more money for other priorities in your life, such as saving for retirement. It’s not hard to lower your grocery bill, and you don’t even have to use time-consuming gimmicks such as cutting coupons, either. Here’s an easy guide to cutting your grocery bill without coupons.
Make a Plan
One of the best ways to maximize grocery savings is to plan. Check your favorite supermarkets’ websites or the ads in your newspaper to see what’s on sale. Then, based upon those sales, plan your weekly meals and make your grocery list. Having a shopping and meal plan based upon what’s on sale this week will help cut your grocery costs considerably. Additionally, adhering to that grocery list will help you avoid impulse purchases while walking down grocery store aisles. This will keep you from inadvertently spending more money than you intended to while shopping.
Set a Budget, and Stick to It
Another way to cut your grocery bill without coupons is to be disciplined about how you budget your money. If you’re revising your household budget to save more money, determine exactly how much you can allocate toward your groceries each month. Then, each time you go shopping, keep track of how much you spend and verify that you’re on track to meet your monthly budget goal. If you find yourself spending too much on food, consider making some adjustments.
Additionally, if you just cannot seem to go to the grocery store without spending more than you’d intended, consider using a calculator (or a calculator app) while you’re shopping. Adding the price of each item you place in your shopping cart into your calculator can help you visualize how much you’re spending, and it may help you get your grocery budget back under control.
Another way to cut your grocery bill is to limit your ability to spend more on your groceries than you budgeted. The best way to do this is to shop for groceries using only cash. Whenever you go shopping, try bringing the exact amount of money you plan to spend. Leave your debit or credit cards at home, or at least in your car. If the only way you can walk out of the store with groceries is by paying for them with the cash you brought, you’ll find yourself better able to meet your budget goals each month.
Additionally, if you feel the need to put further constraints over yourself to keep your grocery budget under control, you could withdraw all the money you’re allocating for groceries at the beginning of the month. Keep that money in a desk drawer or envelope, and only take out as much as you plan to spend during each grocery-shopping excursion. Even if you only do this temporarily, it could help you develop the capacity to cut your grocery costs and meet your budget goals.
Limit Your Supermarket Visits
You can cut your grocery bill considerably if you curtail the number of trips you take to the supermarket. Studies have indicated that the more time you cumulatively spend in a grocery store, the more you’ll end up spending. Therefore, if you want to start realizing real grocery savings, limit the number of times you actually go shopping. Instead of heading to the store every few days, try limiting your grocery store excursions to one time per week. You’ll be surprised by the financial impact this simple change in shopping habits can have over just a few months.
Eke Out More Savings with Generics and Discounted Items
Another way to cut your grocery bill without coupons is to be on the hunt for savings as you’re looking for items on your shopping list. The simplest way to do this is to substitute generic items for the name-brand groceries you’d ordinarily purchase. Generics can cost 25-50% less than their name-brand counterparts do, and a cart full of these items can save you serious money in the checkout line.
Additionally, most supermarkets have an area where they sell deeply discounted items that have been discontinued or damaged. Typically, a shelf with these items is tucked away somewhere in a corner, so keep a watchful eye. Find out where your local supermarket keeps these items and make a beeline to them each time you go grocery shopping.
Realizing True Savings
Cutting your grocery bill without coupons isn’t hard to do, especially if you practice some of the tips offered here. You can realize true savings on your food expenses if you take a more deliberate approach to grocery shopping, exercise a little discipline, and keep track of how much you’re actually spending. So, consider these tips, and start saving serious money on your grocery bills today.