We often go to the grocery store planning to spend a certain amount of money, but what usually ends up happening?
You end up stocking up on all the wrong stuff, and to make matters worse, you’re out of money.
Tricia Sloma continues our special series, seeing how to feed a family of four on $100 a week.
Coupons or markdowns? Brand names or store bought?
If the deals make you dizzy, then experts say you should back up. Before you even go into the store, you need to make a plan.
“We start with looking at the sales and seeing what’s on sale that week,” says Purdue Extension educator and consumer expert Edie Sutton.
Sutton says to look through the ad inserts from your paper, and come up with a week’s meal plan based on the bargains.
“Plan a week’s menu based around what’s on sale. That will allow you to save so much money.”
It’ll especially help you to save on certain meal items.
“Meat is the most expensive in our budgets,” says Sutton. “Also, look at your staples to see what prices they are, because staple items you can purchase in bulk, and you can have them on hand and they last for months. So if there’s a good buy on that, stock up.”
Once you have your meals planned out, make your list and try to keep it organized. Sutton writes down the items in order of where she finds it in the store.
“It’s very organized for me, and I won’t be so tempted to veer off my path and buy a few items that aren’t on my list.”
She also warns against going “coupon crazy.”
“If you don’t normally buy that product, don’t use that coupon,” says Sutton. “But if you are planning to buy a can of soup and you find a coupon, use it.”
And stick to your $100 plan for food, and don’t include the other stuff.
“Try to stay within a hundred dollars for food items. That’s excluding, as you say, clothing, oil, even cleaning supplies.”
Sutton also says to remember that your hard-earned dollars will go farther if you’re aware of what you’re buying.
“The key is to plan ahead of time how much money you’re going to spend. If you plan a grocery list, you’ll know exactly how much each item costs and how many of those items you’re going to purchase,” says Sutton. “You can add it up and you’ll know before you even enter than store how, approximately how much money you’re going to spend.”
Sutton’s meal plan for the week totaled under $100, it was around $85 for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a family of four, for one week.
In addition to insert coupons, Sutton suggests going online. You can look up brand names and store names, and print off a coupon.
Also, keep your trips to one or two stores, so you become familiar with their sales and cut down on gas.
Tomorrow, we’ll venture inside the grocery store for more great tips on saving money.
For money saving recipes from Edie Sutton, click here. For more tips, click on the link below.
To read Part 1 of our special series, click here.
For Part 3, click here.
For Part 4, click here.
For Part 5, click here.