It may be surprising to find out that people who do not know how much they spend on groceries each month are twenty times more likely to be over their heads in debt than those who know exactly how much they spend on food each month.
Those who are struggling with debt are always surprised when they keep a record of every food-related purchase made for just a month, including dining out, fast food stops, vending machines, etc., and they realize just how much they are spending. It is important to keep in mind that the fast food lunches and gourmet coffee purchases really add up.
If you have kept a record of every penny your family has spent on food, including dining out and fast food purchases for two months, you might be highly surprised to discover just how much you are wasting on unnecessary items too, such as prepackaged or ready to eat meals. Financial experts recommend that you keep a record of what your family spends on food for a two month period so you can determine how to reduce your monthly food budget.
Here are some other tips that will help you cut the fat from your family food bill-
· Stop eating out or at least cut down on how much you do. It is an obvious fact that dinners you prepare at home are significantly less expensive than meals you pay someone else to prepare. If you must eat out be sure to check out discount sites that often offer up to 75% off of restaurant meals by buying a gift certificate for pennies on the dollar. If you still can not find discounts this way then think about going to your favorite restaurant for lunch instead of dinner when meals are known to be much cheaper with the same quality. Or be sure to ask the staff of the restaurant when they offer specials and deals. A little planning can allow you to still eat out occasionally without completely blowing your family food budget.
· Avoid buying frozen meals. If you were to empty the contents of a frozen dinner onto a plate you will quickly realize that you are getting very little food for what you are paying. You can save significant amounts of money if you lead a busy lifestyle simply by setting aside a weekend afternoon to make your own frozen dinners and meals prepared from scratch.
· Do not buy pre-cut meats or vegetables. You should keep in mind that you are paying a premium for the supermarket to cut up your meat and chicken for you. The same is true for pre-cut vegetables. Keep in mind that someone has to be paid for doing the labor for you and that is reflected in the price of the item.
· Be sure to compare stores. You should not shop at the closest supermarket just because it’s more convenient. Simply by driving a mile or two down the road can save you as much as $50 per week on groceries. You may find that products you routinely buy at one supermarket are priced as much as $1 or $2 less than they are at another supermarket. Shoppers should also compare the unit prices on the store shelves to find the better bargain. For example, many shoppers simply assume you get a better deal if you buy more product, but often the unit price reveals that buying the 8 oz. instead of the 12 oz. is really more economical.
· Do not be afraid to buy generic. You may be surprised to learn that generic and store-brand products are often processed at the same plants as name brand products, but they are much cheaper because they are not advertised. You should know that a significant portion of the price you pay for a name brand product is to cover the high cost of advertising it in the various media. This is why shoppers often find that name brand breakfast cereals cost $1 or $2 more than the generic brand along with many other popular products.