If you have been working to cut down on your household budget, one method that you should consider is saving money on groceries, especially if you’ve got a large family.
Instead of reaching deeper in your pockets to fill everyone’s bellies, there are some budget-friendly methods that I personally use that can help significantly reduce your grocery bill.
Make A Grocery List – And Stick To It!
Take some time prior to your grocery shopping to make a list of the things you need.
Having a list will prevent you from impulse shopping. If it isn’t on your list, it does not belong in your trolley.
The only exception is if you are shopping for a special event, such as a kid’s party, but even those can have a specialist list and be budgeted for accordingly.
Calculate As You Shop
You can save yourself a shock at the checkout if you know what the bill is going to be prior to the cashier giving you the total.
Calculating the cost of your shop as you go can also help ensure that you are only spending the set amount that you budgeted for.
A great trick I’ve found is to not calculate exact numbers.
For example, instead of £2.95, calculate £3. That way, if there is a slight error in your calculations somewhere along the way (easily done, especially if your grocery shopping with the kids), it should be covered.
Coupon, Coupon, Coupon
Cutting coupons might still exist, but there are easier ways to save money on groceries for a large family.
Many supermarkets now rely on apps that will help you identify sales or discounts before you even head to the store. You can know which brands or quantities will give you the best deal.
I recommend using this price tracker I created if you’re in the UK. Which is designed to help monitor the prices of what you are buying.
This creates a base price for the items so you can better understand what’s a good deal when you’re in the store.
Buy Items In Bulk
Another great way to save money if you have a large family is to buy in bulk when you can.
It would be best if you have a large freezer to store perishable food, but canned goods will last much longer. If you find an amazing deal on food that your family will actually eat, definitely buy in bulk and stock up.
That said, if you see an amazing deal on food that is not popular in your household, you will be wasting money and pantry space.
Check out our article on stockpiling for beginners for more information.
Check ALL The Deals
Watching for sales and taking advantage of them is great.
Yet, stores are there to make money.
They will make some sales seem like a better deal than they are. In some cases, an item will not be on sale at all but instead is advertised like it is to trick unsuspecting consumers into buying something at full price.
Big box stores especially make their prices seem like good deals when in actual fact that’s not the case.
To avoid this I have two rules.
Always check the price per pound / gram / ml etc.
Only buy it if you’re going to use it.
If you find the price per amount is good, and you know you’re going to use the item then yes, it’s probably a good deal. Otherwise, stick to the budget brands or items you’d usually buy instead.
We have all been conditioned to think that brand-name items are somehow superior to generic or store brands.
This is a misconception.
Not only are they comparable, but there are even instances where a popular brand sells their items under a store brand name.
It is all just a marketing ploy.
While there are some items that are understandably preferable under a well-known brand, general foods are going to come out the same.
Pay With Cash
Paying cash is a great way to make sure that you don’t spend beyond your means when it comes to the grocery shop.
If you set out with £100 to spend and have it in cash, you know that you cannot go beyond that amount.
If you are calculating your totals as you go on top of it, you will not be faced with having the total run-up beyond that amount that you set out with to start.
You find that by going in with a fixed amount, you’re much more strategic and conscious about the items you buy which can save you a significant amount of money.
Save With Seasonal Produce
While eating strawberries in January sounds amazing, however, they are not readily available in England during January.
Instead, they are imported from other countries. The cost of transporting them will make the cost to purchase them all the higher.
If you watch for what fruits and vegetables are in season where you live and stick with what’s in season, you should be able to get healthy foods for less.
If you’re in the USA I recommend this seasonal produce website to find what’s in season where you are.
If you’re in the UK then this website is the one I’ve found to be the best for finding seasonal produce information.
Compare Store Prices
While going to the store that’s closest to you might seem more convenient. You may find it’s much more expensive compared to the other store just a couple of miles away.
Be sure to compare prices between stores and see which store will give you the best prices for the items you’re buying.
In the UK I’ve found MySupermarket is a great website for helping me find the cheapest store.
In the US I recommend using Basket to find the store that’s selling the items you need for the cheapest price.
Never Shop Hungry
Finally, it is important to not go shopping when you are hungry.
You’ll compensate your hunger with the amount of food you put into your trolly – I speak from experience!
Seeing all of the food in a store on an empty stomach will make you more likely to impulse shop and make it harder to concentrate on your end goal of getting some fantastic food to make some incredible meals for your family all while on a budget.
Checking The Dates To Avoid Food Waste
One of the best ways that you can save money on groceries is by looking at the expiration dates. This way you can see how quickly the items you’re purchasing will need to be used by.
This is especially important for fresh food (vegetables, fruits etc.) and foods kept in the refrigerator (yogurts, cheese, milk etc.)
Canned items tend to have a longer expiration date. However, if the grocery store has not been restocking them regularly, then there’s still a risk that these items may have a shorter than expected shelf life.
This ultimately results, in you potentially wasting money on food that expires prior to being eaten.
Using What You Have
It is all too easy to run out to the store to pick up an ingredient or food item that you want to use for dinner. However, what about all of the food that you have already in your cupboards?
Take an inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what you have on hand to decide if you really do need to go to the supermarket, and what exactly you have and therefore need.
Hopefully, everything on this list will help you to save money on groceries for a large family. However, don’t forget that you can get short term financial help from Polar Credit if you’re in need of some quick cash to help you buy groceries.