How to Cut Your Grocery Costs

One of the easiest and most effective ways you can cut costs in your monthly budget is to save money on your grocery bill. Everyone has a different system that works for them whether it is creating books of coupons or shopping only on certain days when certain items tend to be cheaper.

Groceries have gotten so expensive now that many people spend more feeding their families every month than they do on their car. It tends to be the second-highest monthly expense next to shelter (mortgage or rent). But while food is a necessity, there are ways to reduce the chance of losing control of the food budget and overspending.

Do the math. Simply shaving off a mere $20 off your weekly grocery bill can save you $1,000 a year. If you buy a lot of packaged and prepared foods, you might be able to save as much as $60 a week by changing the types of foods you purchase. This could lead to an impressive savings of more than $3,000 a year.

Here are some tips to consider if you're interested in cutting grocery costs.

Avoid the Premium Outlets

High-end chains do provide better service, but you pay for it. You also pay for the better lighting, fancy displays and lovely layouts. But if you can make do with not as many services (Is it that difficult to bag your own groceries or load your own vehicle?) and less elaborate layouts, then you can save as much as 30 percent on some of the same foods that come from the same warehouse.

Brand Names Are Not Always the Best

You can cut a significant amount of money from your grocery bill by purchasing more store or generic brands instead of national brands. Many (although not all) store and generic bands have comparable quality to the national brands. The reason why the brand-name product is so much more expensive is because you're paying for the fancy packaging and the high-visibility advertising. No name batteries, camera film, blank CDs, cleaning products, canned beans, bottled water, nuts and raisins are examples of products that provide comparable quality to a brand name product for a cheaper price.

Shop With a Plan

Resist the appeal of impulse buying by shopping with a plan. Create a weekly or bi-weekly meal plan so you know precisely what you need to feed your family for the next days. Create leftover meals. Include everything for personal needs (for example, toilet paper) to all meals (including children's school snacks) and the occasional treat. Then do not buy anything else except for perishables (milk, eggs, some fruits).

Do not shop when you're hungry because a growling belly will make it so much easier to buy that extra expensive product you don't need. If your children are constantly demanding that you buy more things for them and you find it hard to say no, then don't take them shopping with you if you can help it. Junk food is one of the biggest ways to waste your grocery dollars and it provides no nutritional benefits. Only buy food you're sure you'll eat.

Coupon Clipping

You've probably heard this before about how much a person can save by clipping coupons. You've likely heard some sort of story about a thrifty woman who basically gets all her groceries for free for her family by careful use of coupons. But she spends four or more hours a day hunting down coupons. Realistically this isn't an option for many busy moms. The good news is that there are services that will do this for you often for free or for a nominal fee. You set up an account, log in, search through the available manufacturer's coupons the site found, select which ones you would like, order them and wait for them to be mailed to you.

Get more savings out of your coupons by finding markets that allow you to double or triple the savings on each of them, or allow you to use more than one at a time.