When times are tough, you need to get creative. It’s time to tighten that belt and the purse strings during an economic crisis. Since it’s cheaper to prepare your meals from home than to eat out, more and more families are doing groceries amidst the tough times.
When you want to keep your family well fed and healthy, here’s how to buy groceries during an economic crisis.
- Plan your meals. Look for recipes that have the budget conscious cook in mind. Cut down on red meats and substitute other protein sources such as beans and tofu. Try to think of more than one recipe that you can use the same ingredients in so you can buy in bulk and not have the rest go to waste. When you have a list of ingredients that you need, you’ll be able to make a grocery list.
- Make a list and stick to it. Avoid buying impulse items, which can add about ten percent to your total grocery bill. If it’s not on the list or not necessary, don’t buy it.
- Use coupons. Manufacturer’s coupons let you save a few cents to a few dollars off items you buy. You can also combine it with in-store coupons for additional savings. Check the weekly inserts to see any sales and specials at your local grocery store.
- Shop at the grocery store that gives you the best value. Limit your grocery trips and consolidate all shopping in one store. The more stores you go to, the more likely you’ll end up buying more than what’s on your list. Go to a grocery store that you know gives good value. Prices do vary widely so check around. Walmart and Target have grocery stores that have reasonably priced items. Costco is also a great resource if you can buy in bulk. The dollar store may also give you some good deals.
- Buy what’s in season. Fruits and vegetables that are in season will be the cheapest and freshest to buy. It will also taste delicious! Forgo items not in season and stick with what’s readily available.
- Check out the meats on sale. Perishable food items that are nearing their sell by date are usually marked down thirty percent off the original price. As long as you’ll cook or eat the item immediately, it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Buy in bulk. Usually, items that are packaged in bulk are cheaper. Calculate or check the unit price of the item before you buy. If you are a large family or have items that are easily consumable, such as cooking oil, rice, cereals and milk, then it may make sense to get the larger packaging for more savings.
- Go generic. In store brands give great value for money at about thirty percent less than national brands.
- Don’t go to the store hungry. Have a light snack and drink water before you hit the stores. You’re less likely to impulse buy and choose items based on hunger. If you have kids, make sure they’re fed as well, or don’t take them along if you can.
Be a smart shopper and you can stretch your hard earned dollar a long way. Buy only what you need to avoid waste. Even when times become good, you’ll enjoy all the savings by being a smart shopper.