Most of us here is the good ole US of A are feeling the pinch this summer, and with predictions that the economy is only going to get worse for awhile, many people are scrambling to make ends meets, my family included. We are young, Cody is still in school, we have a one year old, I stay home wit her, we each work a part time job (he warehouses, I nanny), and I am still in start up mode for CheyLoCreations...so we have had to get creative to save money on daily expenses. Here are some tips I've picked up that might be helpful to you!
Grocery Store/Food: Plan before you shop!
- Use coupons. If you get the newspaper, clip coupons; if you don't, check out these two sites (smartsource, couponmom ), or google "grocery coupons" and you will find a bunch online that are free to print.
- Look at the ad. The real trick to making coupons worth the work to find them, is to combine them with sale prices. Stocking up on what's on sale can be super helpful too!
- Shop around. I have been known to go to several grocery stores to get the best deal (with gas prices the way they are now, that may not be so practical, depending on your area).
- Plan your menu. A planned menu means fewer eating-out-at-the-last-minute splurges.
- Make a list. If it isn't on the list, and isn't a necessity, don't buy it! This keeps impulse buying (which the stores are designed to make you do) to minimum and saves money!
- Plan your trips. Shop your list, which should be written with your menu in mind, and only go once a week, or every other, or whatever works for you. I have found that if I am only at the store once a week, that is less opportunity to impulse buy, buy unhealthy food, and waste gas.
- Buy the store brand. With few exceptions, the store brand is going to be cheaper than name brand products. Usually, they are even made in the same factory/plant (that's why their bottles/cans/etc look so similar!)
- Stock up. If something you use regularly is on a great sale/coupon, stock up! Be careful to not stock up just because it is a good deal though (I have thrown away more expired cake mixes just because they were on sale), make sure they are products you will really use, before they expire.
- Buy bigger. Believe it or not, the larger packages of a product are usually cheaper bu the unit than the small ones. It may cost more up front, but you are getting more for your money.
- Eat in. We have pretty much quit eating out, and it has saved us a lot of money. Consider that even making a gourmet type meal at home will cost up to $5/person (and there will probably be leftovers), and eating out will be ($5 at the low fast food end) an average of $9-$20/person! That's a big difference! If you like eating out for the variety, dig out some cookbooks! We made buttermilk brined fried chicken for the first time last night and it was great! (I'll post the recipe later, but it was from the Betty Crocker book) If you eat out to avoid having to cook all the time, try assigning your husband or older kids a night. Another fun way to make it easy, when you make something like soup, chili, or casseroles, make double and freeze half to pull out another night!