18 October 2013

When it Comes to Being Shopping Savvy It's First Things First

Every day I am asked "how do I get my grocery bill down?", it's something everyone wants to know.

Your grocery bill is the one bill you have absolute control over. You, and you alone, decide just how much money you spend on groceries each week. You choose what to buy, the brands you buy, the quantities you buy and where you buy those things.

So with those choices in mind, here's an outline of the strategies you can use to get your grocery bill down.

1.  Clean, organize and inventory your pantry, fridge and freezer. Cheapskates Club members can login and use the downloadable inventories on the Printable page.

2.  Decide how much you are going to spend and set your grocery budget
. It doesn't have to be the amount you are spending now. Try trimming last week's grocery bill by 10 per cent to start. If that works, next time you shop take another 10 per cent off and see if that works.  Keep going until you find you aren't buying everything you need, then add 10 per cent and stick to it for a few weeks. If it works, great, that's your optimal grocery budget. If after a few weeks you find it doesn't work, add 5 per cent and see if that makes a difference.

3.  Create a meal plan.
Whether it's weekly, fortnightly or monthly you need a meal plan. It is easier to work a meal plan to fit your shopping routine so if you shop weekly, meal plan weekly. If you shop monthly like I do, work on a monthly meal plan. Login and download the  current month's blank meal planner and my meal plan for the month to make meal planning easy.

4.  Collect the junk mail, the local papers and get online to find the store ads. Use them to write your shopping list and more importantly to familiarize yourself with the sale cycle, and just what comes on sale.

5. Stock up on staples. Every family has different staples, foods they always have on hand. Use these staples to start your grocery stockpile, buying one or two extra staples each time you shop and stocking up when they come on sale. Items such as baking goods, meat, breakfast cereals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, canned or frozen foods are usually staples in most homes and are a good starting point.

6.  Donate your extras.
Cheapskates live by the 10-10-80 rule: give 10 per cent, save 10 per cent and live off 80 per cent. Use some of your stockpile to donate to food banks and soup kitchens in your area. You don't need to give money, you can be generous with your time, skills and energy too.

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