7 Tips for Cutting Down Your Grocery Bill

I know it is my job to feed my family, but come on! Every time I go to the supermarket — and I try to go to the less fancy ones even though I end up wanting to rip my hair out at the long check out line — I spend hundreds of dollars. If I could convince my kids starvation is cool, their college tuitions would already be in the bank. Strolling the aisles looking for something to make for dinner is hard enough, tack on trying to save money and shop healthy, and I may never get out alive. But, by following some simple strategies, you may be able to both shorten your trip, and save some money. In this economy, every little bit helps. Several of these strategies can be used for any kind of shopping.

Here are 7 Tips to Saving:

1. Take inventory before you leave the house. Too often, I buy what I already have. If you have some vegetables in your crisper, make them tonight. Don’t buy more.

2. Plan ahead. If you take ten minutes to plan your meals for the week, I guarantee you will spend less. Going to the store every day results in both impulse buying and waste.

3. Don’t be tempted by sales. Consider the value behind the discount. Don’t buy things your family doesn’t eat, and don’t be fooled by the “Get 5 for $10 Avocado” sales. Suddenly you find yourself running back to the store to get cilantro, lime and red onion to make guacamole with all the rotting avocados on your counter.

4. Don’t shop when you are hungry. If you have to drag small kids with you, shop after a full meal. Otherwise you will have a cart full of junk.

5. Know what foods are worth buying organic. Amy wrote a great piece on this a while back. Take a moment to check it out. You are not an unfit parent if your child gets the occasional whiff of a pesticide.

6. Keep coupons in your car. I have 5% off coupons from the food store cluttering my junk drawer. I have every intention of using them, but they are doing me no good at home.

7. Understand portion control and decomposition. Unless you are going to have enough leftovers for the whole family to enjoy, your extra pork chops will probably wind up in the trash after a couple of days. Start to take note of how much your family eats in one meal and buy just enough — or twice as much to have for another meal. Don’t load up on produce unless you plan on cutting it or cooking it within a couple of days. I have a crate of fuzzy strawberries and an overripe cantaloupe in my kitchen right now. Thats about six whole dollars that could be working for me right now … or at least, paying for my mid-afternoon Starbucks.


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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Physician, founder and president of Tips From Town. She loves combining all she learned as a doctor with all she continues to learn as a mom of five to bring you interesting, useful and fun information on the Family Pages.