$500 Per Month’s a Lot to Pay for Food when You Can Save – 3 Tips for Smart Shopping [Infographic]

Aug 21

shopping-infographic

The average American family spends over $500 a month on food.  In 2012, the yearly average of money spent on food per person was $2,273.  That’s a scary statistic; especially since food is something we have to buy. Starving isn’t exactly a pleasant option….but neither is spending 13% of your income on breakfast lunch and dinner year after year.

So how is it possible to cut down the food budget and tuck away the savings?  Here are three tips that every shopper needs to know.  With these firmly under your belt, you’ll be amazed at how much time, money, and energy you can save.

Make a List:

It sounds basic, but creating and sticking to a shopping list has definite benefits.  Some people prefer to write out a menu for the whole week and write their shopping list based only on what they need.  That cuts down on impulse buying, giving you a pretty fair idea of how much you’re going to spend before you even reach the checkout.

Other shopping experts prefer to list out food groups and only buy things that fit their categories. Fruit, vegetables, beef, soy milk, gluten free etc.  On top of that, they will only buy the fruits that are on sale, the vegetables for half price, and will say no to whatever is full price.  They plan their weekly menu based on whatever deals and sales they find.  Find a method that fits your family and stick to it.

Make your plan, and don’t succumb to all the other tempting items that you see on the shelf!

Recycle Your Food:

That might sound scary, but it’s simply an economic term for leftovers.  Never, ever, throw food away unless you can help it.  Once you’ve gone to all the effort of comparing prices, hunting bargains, and writing out a list and menu, it’s a shame to watch it go to waste.

Your fridge contains a good portion of the food items you buy, and letting them spoil is just as bad as paying full price when you could have used a coupon. Make sure you’re rotating the containers in your fridge so that things get eaten in time.  Keep the shelf surfaces wiped down and clean.  You want a healthy atmosphere; not something gross and sticky with mystery meat slimming out of the corners.

Before you begin to cook,  take a quick peek in the fridge and see what you can use to supplement your meal.  Toss leftover veggies in a soup, add the grilled chicken to your Mexican rice.  Not dumping good food will mean more time before you have to shop again, and spend more money.

Use Coupons:

This is a no-brainer.  If there’s a way to get it cheaper, who wouldn’t jump at the chance?  Even a few cents difference will quickly add up to dollars saved.  Looking through the Sunday papers, prowling the weekly ads, and enlisting the help of great online sources such as Hometown Values, are all ways to find the coupons you need.

Many coupons available are for processed foods or dry goods.  Even if you prefer not to make these items a staple in your diet, Friday morning’s sugar cereal will definitely be worth it when you buy for less.  But even hot pizza and soda coupons exist, so you’ll almost never need to buy almost any food for the full price with this option available! Also stock up on fun snacks or lunch box treats when you find a coupon for something you know the kids would enjoy.

Be extreme! Take the use of coupons out of the grocery store and apply it to all areas of daily life.  Make it a point never to go out to eat, see a movie, or get a tan without a coupon in hand.

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Becoming shopping savvy is an art.  And it’s a mix of all different tricks and methods.  But keeping these three in mind as you walk down aisles with an empty cart, will help steer you towards the best deals.

Remember, a dollar saved, is a dollar you have a choice to spend on something else!

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