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Ka-ching! Hang on to $200 this month.
We’ve all heard of so-called extreme couponers—you know, those rabid coupon clippers who somehow manage to snap up their groceries for mere pennies (and who live in houses stocked to the ceiling like Costco). But you don’t have to be obsessed to save big. These simple tips can slash a $500 monthly grocery bill for a family of four nearly in half, or even more!
Make grocery list.And stick to it! By planning your meals in advance
and making a grocery list, you’re far less likely to succumb to temptation and buy impulse items (a.k.a., things you don’t need) at the grocery store. In fact, researchers at the Wharton School found
unplanned purchases can tack on at least an extra 20% to the average grocery bill. The Menu Planner on Allrecipes.com makes it easy to plan meals and create a shopping list
(allrecipes.com/menuplanner). Monthly savings: $50
Paper or Plastic?We’re not talking bags here, but cash or credit. If you use plastic, make your credit card work harder for you. Look for all-purpose cards that offer cash back on groceries, or store cards (such as Target’s) that give you an instant discount. But beware: You lose the savings if you rack up interest charges, so pay off the balance every month. Monthly savings: $15
Snip ‘N’ Save.Yes, coupons can save you money. No, you don’t have to go coupon crazy. Spend just 10 to 15 minutes a week thumbing through your newspaper’s weekly flyers or cruising a couple coupon websites like Coupons.com, and you can easily find savings on stuff your family needs. Monthly savings: $15
Cash Incentive.Take the all-cash challenge! According to the market research firm D&B, consumers who shop with cash alone spend an average of 12% to 18% less than those who shop with credit cards. So leave the cards at home and take only what you’ve budgeted for groceries in cash. Monthly savings: $25
Try Generic.Store –brand products have come a long way. Not only are they often produced by brand-name manufacturers, they can be upwards of 20% cheaper than name brands. So give generics a try, and stick with the ones your family likes. Monthly savings: $20
Avoid Gimmick Pricing.Supermarkets can be clever in getting you to spend more. Promotions like “10 for 10” and “4 for $5” seem like a great deal, but watch out: Those products may not actually be on sale. Even if they are, remember that you rarely need to buy the stated number to get the sale price. Monthly savings: $5
Pricey Things Come In Small Packages.Tiny items are cute, but your best bet for snack foods is almost always to buy the largest size and divvy it up yourself. (Use the nutrition label as a guide if you’re concerned about portion control.) For example, Mini Oreo cookies in snack packs cost three times more per cookie than Oreos in a family pack. Monthly savings: $20
Time Is Money.You pay a premium for “convenience,” whether buying pre-packaged salad greens, pre-cut fruit or spice mixes. Overall, it’s cheaper to just make your own salad, cut your own spices. Plus, going DIY in the kitchen only adds about 10 extra minutes to meal prep, according to the UCLA Center on the Everyday Lives of Families. Monthly savings: $1