According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food is the third largest monthly expenditure families have after housing and transportation. With a little planning, you can save on food costs by trying some of these easy tips.
1. Eat Local. Locally grown food is not only fresher and tastes better, it is better for the environment and your purchases help support local farmers.
2. Shop on the Edge. Shop the perimeter at your grocery store for healthier and less expensive ways to save on food costs. Most grocery stores place fresh foods like produce, meat and seafood, bakery, and dairy on the perimeter and processed foods in the center aisles.
3. Free Breakfast. IKEA offers a free breakfast every Monday before 11:00 AM and 99 cents the rest of the week. If you are there over the lunch hour you might want to try the North Atlantic Saithe crusted white fish served with mashed potatoes and carrots – $4.99
4. Shop Less. The concept is a simple one, the less you are in a store the less you will spend. Make a weekly menu and shop once per week. Grocery shoppers spend almost 50% more than planned due to impulse purchases so stick to your shopping list!
5. Buy Off-Brand. Many times store brands contain the same ingredients as name brand products but cost much less.
6. Use Coupons. By spending about 30 minutes during the week comparing sales listed in weekly flyers, you can cut save some serious cash at the grocery store. By combining coupons with items that are on sale, you can save 50% or more.
7. Take Advantage of Price Match. Take the weekly grocery store ads with you on your weekly trip and ask the store manager to price match. You might want to kindly mention that WalMart price matches.
8. Shop the Bottom Shelf. Grocery stores put the most expensive items on the shelves at eye level for a reason. Many lesser known brands are on other shelves but the best values are usually found on the bottom shelf.
9. Use Unit Price. When shopping, compare the unit value of products instead of price. Many products are packaged to appear as if you are getting a good value when in fact the actual product size is smaller. Instead, look for the unit price on the shelf label and compare these prices for one of the best ways to save on food.
10. Ask for Manager's Special. Manager's specials are perhaps the best way to save on food costs. The best values are often found in the meat department as meat that is close to it's sell by date is marked down up to 75% off. Look for shopping carts filled with manager special items near the checkout line for additional ways to save on food.