24/7 MOMS

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Beat Rising Grocery Prices

Amy Hannold

247Moms Frugal Living Editor

It’s all over the news, the warning that prices of everything are going to go up.  How can we keep our goals of spending less?  Intentional, educated spending is essential.  Being aware of what you’re spending, making good choices and having a plan will help you maintain your budget.

Time Can Be On Your Side: 
Any shopper, with or without coupons, can spend less everyday by realizing the sales cycle in their area.  In most areas, sales cycles range from 6-8 weeks to 12 weeks.  Buy “staple” items when they’re on sale.  Buy enough to see you through until the items are on sale again.  Coupons can increase your savings, especially when you “stack” the coupon discount with a sale price.  Track the sale prices of your most-used items so that you know your “buying” price is.  You’ll then be able to quickly spot a good deal.

Use Your Resources Wisely:
What you have at home, can make, or “make-do” is money you’ve already spent which will save you money today.  When money is tight, shop from home first – then add inexpensive ingredients from the store.  Note expiration dates, utilize pantry inventory sheets and be creative.  Always have a “Friday Night Falldown” meal on hand – when you’re tired and tempted to order-in.  Don’t let food go to waste; research fun “leftover meals”. 

Plan to Save:
It begins with making a grocery list (statistically, you will spend less!) and could grow into a habit of menu planning.  Don’t walk into a store unarmed.  Know what’s on sale, where the discount aisles are, and what you need.  Save time and money with your list – you won’t buy what you don’t need – and you’ll save on extra, costly trips later on.

Go to “Frugal School”
In your circle of friends/family, find people who are more frugal than you are.  If you look around and don’t find anyone, become that person!  Get a group together and make some “Frugal Learning Goals”.  On the internet, follow a local blogger who writes about good deals in your area.  Grocery store deals, coupons and policies are regional; be sure to connect to local people “in the know”. 

Once You’re In the Store:
Have your list, coupons, and perhaps your menu plan in hand.  Educate yourself on the store’s promotions and any policy which will save you money.  Shop the outside areas of a store and you’ll buy healthier meals. Buying fresher ingredients will encourage you to find new, less-expensive recipes.  Try the store brand, many are good – some are better!

And Onto Next Month:  When you see you’ve spent less this month, note what made the difference.  Learn an additional resource or tactic for spending less.  Keep the competition on with yourself and a shopping partner or frugal friend.  Share this adventure with your kids as they’re able – and you’ll be leaving a legacy of smart shoppers!

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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