From time to time I have the pleasure of reconnecting with the adult world by watching a little news. Today I saw a report that food prices are likely to rise 10-20 percent over the next year! It's the biggest increase since 2008 and the economy is worse now, according to some "experts" than it was then--this was based on loss and lack of jobs and rate of foreclosure. So much for reconnecting, next time I'm sticking with PBS kids.
Now that this cheery news has reached my ears I have some tips to help lift the burden of the upcoming "economic storm."
1. Coupons--use them on everything. Even if you don't want to clip them out, you can use e-coupons at many stores that offer loyalty programs. Smiths uses a program called Cellfire and you can download coupons onto your Fresh Values card. If they are Kroger or Smiths coupons, you can also combine these with Manufacturer coupons to increase your savings. Target also has their own coupons and you can combine Manufacturer coupons with them too.
2. Have a list. Only buy what you need unless you've made room in your budget to stock up on certain items that are on sale.
3.Go shopping in your pantry. Lots of times things get pushed to the back or you forgot you bought something. Using what you already have saves you time and money.
4. Make a menu of meals for the week(s) you are shopping for.
5. Buy frozen fruits and veggies. If the fresh things you need are out of season it's often cheaper to buy frozen. Also if you are purchasing fresh produce, buy in season since they are cheaper.
6. Shop your ads-if you don't want to use coupons, you can still save money by planning your menu by purchasing what's on sale at your local grocery store.
7. Dual Use products- there is no need to buy many basic or specialty cleaners. Chances are you can use products you already have like liquid dish soap, hairspray, Vaseline, white toothpaste, Alka seltzer, etc. to clean things around your home.
8. Buy generic brands. Sometimes even with coupons the generic or store brand is cheaper and often tastes very similar to the National brand. One word of warning, if you haven't tried an item in a particular store brand buy only one box or can before you stock up to make sure you'll eat it. Long ago, when Andy and I were first married I bought Rainbow macaroni and cheese. I was sure Kraft was not better and the cheap stuff would be the same. I was wrong. Kraft does have a different flavor and texture and we pay a little more for it rather than generic. This is the exception in my experience, not the rule.
9. Be ware of impulse purchasing. Studies show that when you try a lot of food samples at grocery stores you begin salivating and this leads to you being enticed by food and buying things you don't need, but just look good to eat because you've been eating tasty samples. Also be aware of your store's layout. Many sale items are up front, nicely displayed or on end caps of aisles. If you need a sale item great, you know where to go. However, if you weren't planning on purchasing a sale item, these things will catch your eye and if you're not careful those "great deals" you don't really need will pad your final bill.
10. If you are going out choose where you dine carefully. Many restaurants have early bird specials or family meal deals or a certain night where discounts apply. Also using http://www.restaurant.com/, http://www.citydeals.com/ or Happenings coupons can cut your bill drastically.