Using cash — only cash — is one of the best ways to make a grocery budget work. Take $300 out of the ATM and don’t let yourself use a penny more. If you’re out of cash and you have 10 days of the month to go, it’s time to start raiding your pantry. You might be eating macaroni and cheese for a few days but your budget will stay intact.
- Plan It Out Peruse through magazines or Pinterest to find recipes and plan your meals for the week. It becomes easy to find exciting recipes that fit your budget. You can also cook for 2-3 meals and freeze some, which can be a lifesaver at times.
- Know When to Shop Coupons and promotional offers found in weekly circulars aren’t the only ways to reduce your grocery bill. Knowing when to visit the grocery store in the first place can also work
- Shop on Wednesday This is often the best day to shop because it’s when many grocers release their weekly circular. You’ll have first dibs on sale items for the week ahead and, if you’re lucky, the store may still honor price reductions on items you forgot to pick up from the previous week’s sale. Some stores have senior discounts on certain days so plan to shop on those days.
- Avoid Tuesdays and Saturdays Tuesdays can be crowded as people try to take advantage of expiring deals, and the week’s sale items may be sold out; Saturday is the busiest shopping day of the week.
- Shop early or late The early bird gets the worm because clearance items are usually placed out in the wee hours of the morning and can disappear in a flash. An hour before closing is when department heads get desperate and drastically reduce prices on items set to expire.
- Shop Local Produce Stands/Meat Markets Shop local when possible – the items are often fresher. Even though prices might be a bit higher, you can actually end up spending less — because you’ll avoid wandering the aisles, adding unnecessary items to your cart.
- Ignore Coupons Often purchasing sales items are cheaper than using coupons. To slash your grocery bill – if you spot a rock-bottom deal on a particular item and happen to have several coupons that will enable you to stock up, not only do you run the risk of exceeding your budget for the week, but you may end up with a surplus of items you won’t actually use.