10/5/2011 6:00 PM ET|
5 ways to trim your grocery bills
It's the grocery cycle: You shop, you buy, you eat, then start over. But being prepared along with being vigilant on prices, coupons and brands can save big bucks.
To help you get a grip on this tasty but often expensive cost of living, here are five ways to cut the fat from your grocery bill:
1. Make a grocery list and check it twice
Going through your kitchen before hitting the supermarket is free, and a little planning can fatten your wallet by preventing expensive impulse buys. You might even save on gas by being organized, because you won't need to make a second shopping trip to buy those forgotten items.
Use this free printable grocery shopping list to help you plan your next trip to the market.
2. Watch the price scanner
Mistakes on price scans are common at the grocery store and can cost you additional dollars. A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 6% of respondents were overcharged at the grocery checkout, and no particular chain stood out as more or less accurate than the others. Watching while your grocery prices scan and verifying their accuracy at checkout can save you money and may even score you free food -- many grocery chains will give you the item for free if it scans at the wrong price, but it's up to you to spot the error.
3. Buy generic items over big brand names
Save a huge 10% to 50% on every shopping trip by switching your brand-name buys for generic items. It costs big bucks to market brand-name products, and you're paying for that expense when you buy a food item with a recognizable label. Compare many generic items to the brand-name equivalent and you'll find that the brands are not necessarily better than their less-advertised alternatives.
4. Stop clipping the wrong coupons
Take a good look at the grocery coupons you're clipping before getting excited about the deal. Many coupons offer deals on highly packaged foods low in nutrition and high in unpronounceable ingredients. Skipping the coupons for bad buys and opting to pay a little bit more for whole foods may be a better deal for your health in the long run.
5. Skip the cans, buy dried beans in bulk
Why are you buying beans canned in captivity? Buying dried beans in bulk and soaking them overnight is a frugal way to add protein to your diet without paying for the high cost of meat. Besides, dried beans are extremely cheap and expand when soaked, so your family gets more meal for every dining dollar spent by forgoing the canned variety.
Finding simple ways to cut your everyday food expenses takes a bit of practice, but the payoff can be huge. Keeping track of your budget using this free household budget spreadsheet can also help you save money on all your other living expenses.
This article was reported by Kerry K. Taylor for U.S. News & World Report.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
If you worry about money after the streetlights come on, these actions may help you rest easier.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'