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Seven Tips for a Grocery Budget that Works for You

How Can You Save Money on Groceries in WNC?

As costs rise, many people are asking themselves how much they should spend on groceries. After all, the grocery bill is one of the first places most people tweak and cut back.

Although, you do have to eat. We can’t forget that.

If you are working on creating a budget, it’s useful to know that the US Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans spent 8.6% of their disposable personal income on food, spending an average of $411 per month per household. How many folks per average household? 2.5. As you can tell, this average falls out over people in every different situation and in every different age group. And if you’ve tried to feed your family on $411 a month, you know that’s a tight budget.

While this gives you a good place to start, your own food budget will probably end up being very different. For example, if you are on EBT (also known as SNAP or Food Stamps), you already have a number in mind. The income limits on North Carolina Food Stamps mean that the amount budgeted for food usually ends up being somewhere between 15-23% of your gross income, with awards in North Carolina ranging from $188-250 per person. 

Once you decide how much money you’d like to spend on groceries, you can compare that to your latest grocery bills. Are you trying to spend less money on groceries, or just dealing with the fact that the same amount of money purchases less groceries than it has in the past? One way or the other, these tips can help you save money and establish a grocery budget that works for you.

How Can You Save Money on Groceries in WNC?

A quick stroll through the internet can give you a long list of ways to save money on groceries. Here’s a list of our favorites!

1. Shopping List

Making a shopping list keeps you on track and under budget. Take a bit of time to put together a shopping list based on products you usually purchase and menus you’ve planned. You can also organize it by section of the store (produce, deli, household goods, etc.) so you can easily see what products are on the list. With an organized shopping list, you can easily refer to the different sections as you visit multiple stores to make sure you get everything you need at the best price you can find.

2. Meal Routine

Remember when your mom planned out the week’s meals? Tuesday was always Taco Night. Thursday was Spaghetti. Meatloaf held the honored Monday dinner slot. It might have seemed a bit boring to you, but Mom was actually hacking her grocery budget.

Stock up on boxes of spaghetti, create a stash of frozen meat, and fill your pantry by keeping an eye out for sales on any items that you eat regularly. By having a meal routine, you keep these items at the front of your mind and can jump on any surprise deals you may find on your grocery route.

3. Shopping Routine

Shopping at the same stores on the same day of the week allows you to predict the items that will be there and budget for their cost at the appropriate time. Also, when you set up your shopping routine, it’s best to put grocery stores where you find the biggest discounts first. We’d all like to shop at only one store, but the simple truth is that even the fanciest stores can’t provide for every need. Start at the grocery store where you’ll find your biggest discounts. Pluck up everything on your list and then go to the next one. End at the store that’s at the high end of your list to cross off the final items. This way, you get everything that you need at the best price possible.

4. Be Careful with Coupons – but Use Them!

If you always purchase particular items, using coupons for those things will save you money. However, if you are trying out a new item watch out. Those are often promoted using a “two for one” coupon or coupon code. A “two for one” deal on something you don’t like wastes money instead of saving it. That said, if you find a “two for one” on something you love—JACKPOT!

5. Shop on Sale Days and After Holidays

Keeping an eye open for sales often saves you money, and quite often you’ll find these sales on particular days. After holidays is a great time for saving money on items like candy after valentine’s day. After all, your taste buds could care less if that Reese’s peanut butter cup is shaped like a cup or a Christmas tree or a heart.

6. Shop More Often, Not Less Often

If you love variety in your meals, shopping more often might work for you. With groceries, shopping more often encourages you to purchase just what you’ll use for the next couple of days. With less wasted food, you’re actually saving tons on your grocery bill.

7. Shop at a Grocery Outlet

People don’t talk a lot about it, but discount grocery outlet stores can save you a ton of cash. While you never know what exactly you’ll find, you can usually find groceries you need at a radically slashed price. And, according to the USDA, if you find something on the shelf with an expired “sell by” or “best by” date, most likely, it’s safe to eat. Those dates are often based on the peak flavor instead of food safety. 

Whether your budget is held firm each month by government limits or you just like getting great deals, these tips and tricks will help you save money and feed your family each month. And Uplifting Deals, LLC – the parent company of The Price is Right Discount Warehouse – is happy to assist by consistently delivering fabulous deals on products you need and use.