My wonderful colleague, Dages Keates of Delicious Dialogues shares her super Top Ways to Save Money on Groceries. Money management tips come in all shapes and sizes. They don't just have to be on your bank statement - you can also get personal finance advice at the supermarket.
Prices gone up and got you down? If you are like the average American, you eat 4-5 meals a week on the town. Many New Yorkers consume considerably more than that. My clients find that when they start preparing more of their own meals, they spend less, feel better, and lose winter pounds more easily. Embrace the opportunity and try some of the tips below to get started with cooking and shopping on the cheap!
* Shop smart. That means eating before you go to the store and bringing a grocery list. About two-thirds of what we buy in the supermarkets are impulse buys, and the stores are well organized to capitalize on this. From the smells of fresh breads baking to the placement of convenience foods, there is not a lot in the market that hasn't been placed to maximize profit.
* Budget. Decide in advance how much you want to spend on food and bring a calculator (or your cell phone), to keep a tally as you shop.
* Leave the kids home. Studies have found that folks spend up to 40% more when young ones tag along. Kids are strongly influenced by advertising for expensive and non-optimal food products and will use their "pester power" to get them purchased!
* Decide on your meals (and snacks!) for the week, write them down, and use this list as your shopping guide; you may be shocked with the results to both your wallet and your mood as planned eating can curb hypoglycemic moments!
* Eat vegetarian meals a few nights a week. Meat free meals that focus on whole grains, greens and beans will not only ease your spending but will soften your arteries and help lower cholesterol * Avoid prepared foods. Instead of purchasing expensive convenience foods, get into the habit of freezing larger amounts of staples like hearty soups, lasagna, and pasta sauce.
* Buy in bulk. Refill your spices and seasonings from the bulk section; you'll save about 30% on packaging costs! Organic brown rice is just over a dollar a pound when purchased in bulk. When it comes to bulk purchases, remember that the more you have around, the more you will consume, stock up on tomato paste and frozen peas rather than frozen pizzas.
* Be picky with products. Manufacturers pay top dollar for "bull's eye" placement at your eye level (or at kids' eye levels for kid oriented products). Purchase items from the top or bottom shelves, or try the store brands, which are often the exact same products in different packaging.
* Coupons are available for healthy products too!
* Choose to pay in cash rather than with plastic. You will notice the difference when you see and feel what you are spending.
* Prepare some of the food you purchased as soon as you get home. Sticks of celery and radishes stay crisp soaked water, remove the skin from garlic and put whole cloves into Tupperware, whole grains can be cooked up while you are putting other groceries away....
* Cook your goodies! The number one way to save food money is to use your kitchen. Start by setting aside at least one day a week to make some versatile staples like a pot of whole grains or a soup.
About Delicious Dialogues:
Have you ever been on Atkins™, the Zone™ or Weight Watchers™? If so, are you still on it? Most diets works for someone, but no diet works for everyone. The question is, what works for you? Delicious Dialogues' holistic approach to nutrition integrates various dietary theories ranging from the traditional to the scientific; from east to west; from ancient wisdom to bestselling trends. Down-To-Earth Finance community members are invited to a complimentary one hour consultation! To schedule please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ~~ DailyWorth Contributer Galia Gichon is founder of DownToEarthFinance.com