Whether you’re buying food for yourself or stocking up for an entire family, groceries can take up a large portion of your budget. Even if you cut down on eating out, you can still find that filling stomachs is emptying your bank account and making it difficult to save in the long run. The good news is there is a way to optimize your grocery shopping to save you hundreds each month without letting you or your loved ones go hungry. Here are some simple ways to optimize your grocery spending.
Use the Right Credit Cards
Using credit cards for the points is a no-brainer, as long as you pay them off each month. If you know you’re not good with credit cards, maybe skip this step until you figure them out (credit cards are seriously awesome if you pay them off on time). If you’re good at budgeting on credit, then figuring out which cards provide you the most cash back with grocery purchases. Obviously, the 1% or 3% might not sound like much, but money is money.
Buy in Bulk and Take Advantage of Savings
There are several things in your house right now that fit the following description: You use them daily, and they do not expire (or they last for a long time). Think about foods like pasta, frozen meats, frozen bread loaves, hard cheeses, rice, and flour. Items like toilet paper, paper towels, and laundry detergent also fall into this category. By waiting until these items are on sale and buying a several-month-long supply, you’re going to save tons of money. You’ll also have the convenience of always having something on hand to cook and hopefully not running low on toilet paper. Just don’t forget to replace your stockpile as needed.
Meal Planning and Leftovers
Think of planning out your meals ahead of time as a sort of food budget. You can inventory what you have at the beginning of the week, determine what you want to eat, and then buy what you still need. You can also plan to make extra and eat leftovers for lunch, saving you both time and money through bulk purchasing. If you truly want to cut down on spending, you can plan your meals around which items are on sale or have coupons that week.
Cooking From Scratch
Of course, keep in mind that planning out meals and saving money comes easiest when you cut out processed foods. Learning to cook can save you money and impress your loved ones. Plus, it can be a lot of fun!
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Eating well-balanced, delicious meals is a luxury that should be available to everybody. Fortunately, once you get used to it, the grocery store and cooking are not as intimidating as they once might have been. In fact, once you’ve figured out a way to make your grocery shopping cost-effective, you’ll look forward to each trip to the grocery store.