Hope Wissel

How to Save on Your Grocery Bill

You many not save a BUCKET of money but you will save some.  As the cost of groceries continues to rise, I’m sure you are like us and feeling the pinch.  Meal planning is already stressful for some NOW factor in the soaring cost of food and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Despite the state of the economy (no political comments please), stocking your kitchen pantry to feed yourself and your family is a weekly necessity. So, today, we’re making things easy for you by providing everything you need to know about shopping wisely, getting a good deal, and keeping your expenses low.

5 EASY WAYS TO SAVE BIG ON YOUR GROCERY BILL

1. PLAN YOUR MEALS AND CREATE A GROCERY LIST

Start by taking an inventory of your kitchen before going to the supermarket.   Make note of the things running low or you want to be sure you have a back up for.  You know those things that could cause you to make an extra stop or run to the store because not having them would cause havoc in your household. Take the time to write out a grocery list.  It will help you stick to a budget and avoid overspending by reducing unnecessary purchases.   I keep mine on my phone and as I think of things, I add them to the list.  My meal planning journal is on the fridge.  I usually plan on Saturdays, and shop on Mondays.

2. BROWSE THROUGH FLYERS AND GROCERY STORE WEBSITES

This is a simple but effective way to check for sales, lowest price options, and discounts.  It doesn’t mean you have to always go to multiple stores to get what you need.  I mean with the price of gas, this would be CRAZY, right?  I tend to compare prices, see who has most of the things I want on sale and start there.  Honestly, my two stores are usually Aldi’s and Acme.  So I hit Aldi’s first then stop to Acme on my way home.  Be sure you are part fo your store’s rewards program.  Try using apps like Ibotta or Fetch where you earn money or rewards for the shopping you do every day.  I also use Shopkick to earn discounts. For more rewards tips, see #6.

3. CONSIDER BUYING IN BULK

Not only does this save you more trips to the grocery store, but it’s often more cost- effective too.  If you are shopping at the BULK stores be sure you know what your per item cost usually is.  WHY? If you are not careful, you may end up paying more than you would if you bought multiple items in the grocery store.  Since there are only 2 of us, we don’t do bulk stores BUT I do keep a stocked pantry.  We are prepared for any and all emergencies.

4. EAT MORE PLANT-BASED

Meat now costs nearly 24% more than it did two years ago, and the prices continue to rise. The good news is there are tons of budget-friendly options out there to meet your protein needs. Plant-based proteins like chickpeas, edamame, beans, and tofu are great alternatives. We don’t do tofu since I have never been able to cook it so it tastes good BUT we do do other plant based options.  For more ideas and recipes, be sure to check out this blog post all about plant-based eating!

5. BUY SEASONAL

Out-of-season produce is typically more expensive.  If you have a local community farm, join it. Yes, there is an initial cost BUT in the long run for approximately 12 weeks plus, you will have awesome healthy fresh produce.  Don’t know what is in season?  Doing a fast search before you start planning and/or preparing your meals.  Also, remember to store your produce in air-tight containers, like our Stay With Me Produce Savers, to limit food waste while stretching your dollar!

6. MAKE USE OF LOYALTY PROGRAMS & PRICE-MATCHING APPS

Find a grocery store with a loyalty program so you can get a rebate with every spend. Make a game out of it.. wouldn’t you love to see the savings line at the end of the grocery receipt? Most grocery stores will honor a price match – bring your circular with you from the other store.

7. SHOP YOUR GROCERY STORE BRAND PRODUCTS

They are just as good and often a lot less expensive than name-brand products! Did you know many store brands are made by your favorite “name” brand company?

8. CARVE OUT TIME FOR MEAL PREP AFTER GROCERY SHOPPING

It may take some extra time, but it makes your week so much smoother. Tuna, pasta, quinoa, rice, canned tomatoes, rolled oats, beans, and peanut butter are some of my favorite low-cost pantry staples. When the kitchen is stocked with healthy options, there’s no need to eat out.

9. USE THE FREEZER TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE

Yes, there are only 2 of us in the house.  Yes, I do buy family packs of chicken breasts, then divide and freeze into smaller batches. I buy bulk meat and re-package them into smaller amounts based on our average dinner recipe. Frozen vegetables and fruit are also great when not in season.

What money-saving tips have helped you when grocery shopping? Which new recipes or tips are you most likely to try? Let us know – share them with us.

Have an Epic Day!

Hope Wissel

Simple Money Saving Tips for Families

3393c2a0e337453fa47f6298bf868a79Leaving my part time job and a guaranteed paycheck was scary.  Yes, I have a growing Thirty One business BUT FEAR was starting to knock on the door.  Reducing credit card debt and school loan debt has been a big focus for me BUT I have to be honest, I may not have worked at it as hard as I could.  Yup!  Me being accountable.  The new year kicked off new attempts to truly bring this debt down while at the same time giving up my part time job.  Seems impossible right?

So, I went looking for ways to save some money on our monthly expenses.  While it’s rare eliminating a single expense will give you control over your finances, you can usually save a lot of money by combining savings from several different directions.

1. Organize your grocery shopping

Be more organized when you go grocery shopping, you actually can save money. Of course have a list of what you need to buy, and coupons (I’m still working on this one).  Shop early in the week to avoid the stress of over crowded stores.

2. Eliminate one service each year that you can do without

I have to admit the first thing we cut was the cable bill.  Yup, we went from what seemed like 1000 channels to maybe about 300 although the cable company said there were only 143.  By doing this, we saved about $65 per month.  Next step is canceling the land line telephone service for an additional $30 per month. I am also doing this with my businesses to make sure I’m not spending money on tools or subscription services I’m no longer using.

3. Never buy “off the shelf”

Now, I don’t mean all of the time BUT when you are buying something fairly costly, do your homework first.   Surf the web for the lowest price, or upcoming sales.  Is it something you can buy second hand. Thrift stores and Facebook yard sales are great places for this.  You don’t want to do this for small purchases but maybe set a threshold of say, $50 and above.

4. Participate in – and use – your rewards programs

Admit it!  You have tons of reward cards, right?  How many of them do you actually use?  Sign up for them where ever possible, and keep tabs of your points. I love Ebates because the notification pops up about a rebate when I am shopping online at a store which offers it.  I have rewards plan with Verizon Wireless which gives me discounts on a variety of things from restaurants to gift certificates.

5. Sell what you no longer need

Instead of throwing away items you no longer use, try selling them first to make some additional money. Then put the money towards a bill.  We are not allowed to have yard sales at our condo complex so I have tried this on Facebook and Ebay.  This is something which requires a little bit of your time or to be organized.  Both of which I am working on right now.  When items don’t sell, donate them to a local non-profit and be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes.

6. Buy clothing in thrift or discount stores

I have been a fan of thrift stores for years, since before Belinda was born.  Thrift stores don’t have a huge selection, but you can often come across the perfect item from time to time, sometimes barely used. This is great especially for buying kid’s clothing. They outgrow clothes so fast, thrift stores allow you to buy good quality clothes for low prices.  If thrift stores aren’t your thing, then take a look at discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s.

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Thirty One’s Soft Utility Tote is perfect for these kinds of trips.  It can be a large purse and then expands to carry all of your treasures home.

7. Never buy new what you can get second hand

You sell what ever you no longer use, others are doing the same all the time. Be sure to look into garage sales and estate sales in your area – you’ll be surprised at the stuff people are looking to unload.  Best of all, all prices are fully negotiable! Take advantage where ever and when ever you can.

8. Buy when everyone else is selling

Retail sales usually fall off in January, so nearly everything goes on sale. Wouldn’t it be better to do the bulk of your buying in January rather than November and December.  This also has a seasonal application, too.  Buy your winter clothing in late winter or early spring, when winter items go on clearance.

What ways has your family found to save money?