How can I save money on groceries?

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Answered by: Tejah, An Expert in the Grocery Savings Category
There are many ways to save money on groceries. Traditionally, coupons and sales have been the preferred method, but there are so many ways to stack those two options, as well as combine other lesser known options. With some simple planning and flexibility, you can eat well for very little money comparatively. The work put into the planning quickly pays for itself, and stretches your food dollar much farther. You'll have a bit more money to apply to other things you find important.

Meal planning is going to be your first and most crucial step. This alone will be your biggest money saver. Think about what your family likes and eats regularly, and create a list. Come up with some new ideas that your family may be interested in trying. Once you have established this list, you know what to purchase with planning and not on impulse. This also helps avoid running out of food or have any excess to be wasted. Planning also helps meet any nutritional or diet needs and anticipate times when you may end up just going for convenience foods. After you have determined what meals you are interested in, create a detailed grocery list based on your menu. This menu could be for a week, two weeks, a month. The time frame is based on your budget, time available to prep foods, family size, and storage space. Include every thing, right down to spices. Many times a meal has to be cancelled or modified because of one specific component missing.

Coupons are definitely one of your biggest allies to save money on groceries. Do a bit of research at the stores you frequent in regards to the coupon policy. Some stores allow you to use two coupons (one on each item) that you purchase in a buy one, get one free sale. Some stores will double coupons, or allow you to use a manufacturers coupon as well as a store coupon or store card. A few retailers offer points or in store rewards good for future trips that can be combined with sales and coupons. You can print coupons online, join swap groups, find them in newspapers, or request them directly from manufacturers. Mobile apps pair well with these, either direct apps from the grocer you are using, or with money rebate apps. Mobile apps give you a small refund on several items by scanning receipts or taking photos of your purchase. Often times, you can use the same receipt for multiple apps and stack rebates. The rebates are in addition to coupons, sales, and meal planning.

Once you put in the initial work and get a system down, it becomes easier and easier to follow. You will find your self saving immediately, and continue saving even more as you become experienced in menu planning and savings stacking. There are so many other ways to invest the money you save. You will be able to eat better with less money, or create an upgraded menu from your current meals. Over time you could apply the savings to a bigger purchase, go on trips, or create a rainy day savings fund. There are so many benefits to saving on your food budget that extend beyond just your plate.

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