When it comes to the big three for daily spending, our money goes to home, food, and transportation. Food is by far one of the more challenging areas. The big issue with food comes from a lack of planning. When you don’t have a plan, you resort to fast food, restaurants, and prepackaged meals.
All of these are okay, but they come at a heavy premium. If you can get a good solid footing on having a meal plan and a shopping list, you are 90% of the way to cutting your food costs. Here’s what you need to do before you go to the grocery store.
1. Sign Up For Your Store’s Reward Plan
I can’t tell you the number of times the person in front of me in the checkout has been asked for their rewards card and said, “Nah, I don’t have one.”
If you don’t have a rewards card at the grocery store you shop at the most, you are throwing away money. Period.
Sign up for your grocery store’s reward plan. Most people don’t sign up or take advantage of this. By giving your email and/or getting a loyalty card, your grocery will be able to learn your eating and spending habits in the store.
This is a really good thing.
These stores understand that everyone sells potatoes and meat. When they know that you like meat, they will offer you deals on it (and anything else you eat, but seriously, meat is friggin’ expensive).
When you buy cereal every week from them, but never buy milk, they will catch on and give you a coupon for milk. They want your business, and this is a great way to manage your meals. Grocery stores know they sell a commodity (food), so to make sure they keep your business, they will make you better offers if you share a little information with them.
So do yourself a favor: sign up for their program, and let them give you offers on the things you already buy, or in some cases don’t buy, from them. They want to target you personally, and you want to be targeted — otherwise, you are leaving money on the table.
Grocery Stores With Loyalty Programs Or Cards:
2. Load The Following Apps Onto Your Smartphone
There are three ways to earn with Ibotta: you can use the app to save in-store, link your loyalty rewards card, or use the mobile app to make purchases.
Checkout 51 is a great app for getting additional discounts on your grocery shopping. Make sure to load the app and check out the great additional discounts on your more commonly-consumed groceries.
Coupons.com is a great site for loyalty discounts and printable coupons. Make sure to visit them before you go shopping. It’s so easy to sign up and start saving money.
This book has come a long way. Now, there is a great app you can check out and see if there are grocery coupons for your area. They usually have a few good coupons for everything. Make sure to check and see if there are grocery stores in your area offering coupons.
Ever been grocery shopping and you realize that you forgot your coupons? Or maybe you hate clipping coupons and going through all of that stuff. Flipp makes it easy. All you have to do is download their free app and show the digitally “clipped” coupon when you get to the checkout, and you are good to go.
3. Bring Your Price Book
This is a great little thing to start, if you haven’t already. In it, you have all your prices on your most commonly purchased items. That way, when you get to a store and see that chicken is 30% off, you know to check the price per lbs and see if it’s actually a good deal — and not a mark down on an inflated price (a.k.a. not actually on sale).
4. Make A Grocery List & Meal Plan
The best way to shop for groceries is to make a meal plan and a grocery list before you leave your house. But the list is only as good as the person using it. Make it a rule to stick to it; one of the best ways to stay on budget is to stick to the list. If something isn’t on the list we don’t get it.
Make sure to use the grocery list and meal plan together. For instance, say you are planning Monday night’s meal, and it is chicken and rice. When you write chicken down on the meal plan, also be sure to add it to the grocery list.
Andrew Daniels is the blogger behind Family Money Plan, where he writes about how he and his family paid off their mortgage in 6 years and are now beginning their journey towards financial freedom.
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