6 Ways to Save on Your Food Budget

by on August 5th, 2010
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Are you looking for ways to lower your food expenses? There are many ways you can lower your spending budget for food. Here are just 6 ways to help you get started.

1- Bread Outlet Stores-

Bread companies often have outlet stores that sell their day old products to the public at a discount. Since they also produce products like snack cakes, stuffing, cookies etc., you can get these at a discount as well. The bread they sell is what was not stocked that day at local retail stores and is then considered “day old” bread. The fact is, after their trucks finish stocking grocery stores and convenience stores they take what is left to the outlet store. This “day old bread” is still good bread and is just the same as what was stocked in the retail stores. Let’s face it, when you buy it at the grocery store you do not eat it all in the same day, right? Do you throw out what is left and buy more? No! I have gotten name brand bread (butter top even) at the price I would normally pay for a store brand! There is a lot of money you can save going to a bread outlet store and remember, they stock a lot more that bread too.

2. Know what you need (make a list).

Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of what you need and eat something so you are not hungry. If you are hungry, everything looks good and you will over buy. If you do not have a list, you are much more likely to impulse buy and, worst of all, forget to buy something you really need. That will cause you to have to make another trip (wasting gas!) and probably buy more than just the item or items you had forgotten. Minimize you trips to the store so you also minimize your impulse purchases. The worst thing you can do is buy food for meals only a day at a time. Most people do not buy only what they need for the meal. Those extras really add up at the end of a week and you have now spent more than you would have if you did your shopping all at one time.

3. Look for unadvertised in-store discounts.

Check out any discount bins or manager specials in the meat, produce and bakery departments. Product that is on the last day it can be sold is still good to use for several days more. You can also freeze it to use at a latter time and still benefit from the discount. This is also a good way to stock up on items you use regularly. Stores will also discount items that are being discontinued. More stores are also offering discounts with use of a store savings card. Sign up for one at all the stores you use (even if infrequently) and you can save on top of coupons and manager discounts!

4. Save by shopping smarter.

Always check the lower (and sometimes the top) shelves for lower cost products. For example, you can get spaghetti sauce from name brand companies that cost less (about a dollar a can) than the ones in the jars that are stocked on the middle shelves. Stores normally stock the highest priced items at eye level because most people will tend to purchase from those shelves.

5. Use Coupons (both store and manufacture).

You should use coupons to get discounts on products you would be buying any way. If you do not use that product, don’t buy it just because you have a coupon. It defeats the purpose of saving money on your food purchases. Manufacture and store coupons can often be used together on the same product and some stores will offer double coupons on specified dates. Cut out and organize your coupons according to your store’s layout before shopping to save time.

6. Buy store brands whenever you can.

Store brands are often made by the same companies that make the name brands. They just package it differently for the store. If you have never used them, start by trying just one at a time. Most of the time they are as good as the name brand (even when they are not the same product) and sometimes they are even better. I purchase a store brand instant oatmeal from the store I shop at that is better than the name brand for me. It has no sugar and less salt but still has a little sweetness. The name brands are way too sweet for me and I do not need the extra calories. The one thing that is very consistent with store brands is that they cost less than the name brand!

I hope these tips help you to start saving money on your food purchases and make you more aware of the saving opportunities all around you. You can have great food and still save money!

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