In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor found that the average American spent $6,604 annually on groceries. And this may be on the low end for some families. It becomes even more expensive trying to eat healthier, but does it have to be? Imagine what you could use the money for if you split your monthly bill in half? Perhaps a down payment on the new house you’ve been wanting? Here’s some tips to get you started:
Plan simpler meals. If the word dinner means a nice cut of meat, two steaming sides, a crusty loaf of French bread and cheesecake for dessert, you may need to redefine your meals! Dinner doesn’t have to be a big production.
Make a Detailed List and Plan Ahead
You must plan out what you’ll make and then write out each ingredient you’ll need for those meals (plus a few snacks, of course). And then only what’s on your list! Remember that your leftovers can be incorporated into other meals. Your leftover vegetables can be added to soup, or your leftover grilled chicken can be a delicious salad topper.
Once you have a plan, click on the links below to find see if there are any coupons for the ingredients you need. I have compiled a list of monthly/ weekly coupons for your Austin-area major grocery stores for the month of March:
- Sam’s Club
- Central Market Austin Westgate
- Central Market Austin North Lamar
- Sprouts Research Blvd
- Sprouts S. Lamar
- Sprouts Manchaca Rd
- Natural Grocers
When you enter the grocery store with cash in hand, you know exactly how much you can spend. If you still find you’re spending more – make a cash run every two weeks, instead of every month. This way, you’ll have a better picture of how much you can actually afford to spend each week, versus for the entire month.
Don’t Just Grab the Brand You Recognize
Look beyond the label and compare the ingredients. You’ll find that most of the time the ingredients are the same, but the price is different. So don’t just grab the brand you recognize.
Eat Smaller Portions & Less Calorie-packed Foods
Start by using a salad plate as your dinner plate. There’s a greater tendency to serve larger portions on bigger plates because of the empty space. Once you get used to the portion sizes of the smaller plate, you’ll then know how much you need to buy at the grocery store. Don’t buy calorie-packed food that has little nutritional value. Stick to foods that will fill you up but aren’t loaded with sugars such as sodas and bakery items. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and water, which will keep you full, but won’t add many calories. Beans are another great option because of their fiber content.
Buy Produce In Season
While blueberries make for a delicious addition to yogurt and cereals, and squash would be an easy side to whip up for a weeknight meal, they aren’t always in season. Buying produce out of season is much more expensive because of the greater cost and effort in production.
Plant a Garden
Take herbs, for example. A pack of herbs from the grocery store can cost anywhere from $3 to $6 and you can use the pack for one, maybe two meals. Potted herbs, on the other hand, cost from $2.50 to $4 and they last for about eight months.
Don’t just assume that Whole Foods is the most expensive, and H-E-B is the cheapest. For example, here are some items actually cheaper at Whole Foods and Costco according to Cheapism.com.
Cheaper at Whole Foods:
- Almond milk.
- Shredded cheese.
- Cream cheese.
- Organic frozen berries.
- Almond butter.
- Organic canned tomatoes.
- Saltine crackers.
- Cereal and breakfast Bars.
- Organic coconut oil.
- Natural frozen burritos.
- Natural thin crust frozen pizzas.
- Concord grape juice.
- 5-Inch potted flower plants.
- Organic green peas.
- Organic green beans.
- Dried basil.
- Cayenne pepper.
- Organic long grain brown rice.
- Hearts of palm.
- Organic sweet corn.
- Vegan cheese.
- Organic breakfast cereals.
- Organic ice cream pops.
- Vegetarian sausage links.
- Organic lentil soup.
- Organic broth and stock.
Cheaper at Costco:
|Dyson DC50 Animal bagless upright vacuum||$299||$450||$151|
|Philips 32PFL5708 32||$249.99||$349.99||$100|
|Panasonic DMP-BDT230 3D Blu-ray player||$79.97||$109.99||$30.20|
|Shark Pro Steam & Spray mop||$119||$143||$24|
|Philips Norelco Multigroom Pro men’s shaver||$49.99||$69.99||$20|
|Champion ladies’ full-zip hoodie||$9.97||$27||$17.03|
|Speedo girls’ swimsuit||$11.99||$25||$13.01|
|Apples (10 lbs.)||$8.99||$17.90||$8.91|
|Carter’s 2-piece playwear set||$8.99||$16.99||$8|
|Huggies size 1 diapers (156 ct.)||$29.99||$37.12||$7.13|
|Sharpie ultra-fine permanent markers (24 ct.)||$12.99||$19.99||$7|
|Roku 3 streaming media player||$94.99||$99.99||$5|
|Coke (32 12-ounce cans)||$9.59||$11.99||$2.40|
|Onions (10 lbs.)||$7.99||$9.90||$1.91|
And Never Go To The Grocery Store Hungry!
So start saving now! And remember, when you are ready to purchase your next home just let me know and I can follow up with a preferred lender to get you pre-approved!
Happy Savings my friends!