We’ve all seen at least one of those couponing shows in which whole families eat for about $2 a week. Have you ever wondered how they manage to pull it off and why it doesn’t happen to you? Well, for one, couponers live off minimal fresh food and learn to live with frozen or non-perishable foods. While this may be an economical way of life, it is not for everybody. Most people need fresh food to sustain themselves but the price of fresh foods is rising exponentially and it is getting harder and harder to afford fresh, healthy food for you and your family. But, there are quite a few strategies to avoid overspending on groceries. Here are a few of them:
Stick to a plan:
Try looking at weekly flyers every week to determine what is on sale and what is not. Fresh foods often go on sale for low prices. Build a list based on what is on sale and what your family will eat every day. Making a list every week will also help you determine what your weekly grocery spending is. This can help you stick to a budget and in store, it will prevent overspending on groceries. Sticking to a list that you’ve made at home is super important. Know that sticking to a list will protect you from needless spending and sticking to a budget. In addition, you can save even more money by stocking up on non-perishables that are on sale and will not spoil. Nonperishable healthy foods like oats, peanut butter and healthy cereals can be bought on sale and stored in dry locations for a long time.
Buy what is IN:
It is important in every season to know what is in season in your area. Have you noticed that you can find tomatoes for half the cost in the summer than in any other time of year? This is because, tomatoes are in season in the summer. Buying what is in season can help you prevent overspending on groceries while also eating what is fresh- which is healthy for you anyway. In addition, you could also consider canning or freezing vegetables and fruits that will freeze or can well, so you have a supply of fresh foods even when they are not in season.
Plan you week:
You absolutely need to know what you are going to do with the food you buy every week. While you are building your weekly grocery list, also be sure to build a meal plan for the week. Know what you are going to cook and how you are going to use the groceries. While you are adding items to your list, ask yourself ‘Do I need to buy this? What would I use this for’ and only when you get a good answer should you put it on the list. This planning meals every week can help you prevent wastage and in turn overspending on groceries. Another good strategy to use might be to prepare foods when you see fresh foods on sale and cook in huge batches. While you can eat some now, you can also freeze some for later use- on a busy night or when you don’t feel like cooking. For example, make a lasagna of fresh summer vegetables and tomatoes- this freezes well and can be defrosted for a future dinner. Remember, though, to consult a food pyramid while you build your weekly plans so you or your family are not deprived of any essential foods while you save those all-important dollars.
Know what you need and what you don’t:
In case you haven’t noticed, supermarkets really don’t help you stay within budget. They often have display cases in strategic locations to induce customers to buy more. Healthy foods are not easily found- they are usually found at the edges of the supermarket. Know what you need for yourself and the members of your household and get those first.
Shop with cash or debit:
The last step to staying away from overspending on groceries, is to pay for your grocery bill in cash or by debit. This allows you to keep track of your spending, by paying with cash. Paying with debit, offers even more benefits as it keeps track of your grocery spending and allows you to see where you are overspending and what spending is essential. Online access to your debit cards also allows you to determine what your average spending on groceries every week is.
With these few strategies and some clever planning, you will soon be out of the habit of overspending on groceries. It is only with consistently applying these strategies that you can control your spending on groceries. But, controlling your spending on groceries, does not mean you need to stay away from fresh foods, just that you need to shop wisely.