It can be hard to stretch food dollars at the grocery store. This
article is all about tips that I use to make my food dollars go further at the grocery
Almost everyone loves a bargain! It can be hard to decide if the
food item on sale is really a bargain. Some people are using bulk-buying clubs
like Sam’s or Costco. I don’t have the space to store the larger amounts, so I concentrate
on saving money at my local grocery store. Inside you will find a moneysaving grocery
store guide and a bunch of tips to help you stretch your food budget. Food that
is in-season can be a smart buy.
What are Your Food-Buying
Cash, Food Stamps, WIC Program, School Lunch Program, etc., or all
of the above?
Many resources are often available and can be used together to
help lower food cost. Check into them through your local food stamp office, health
department, and school system.
Ways to Lower Food Cost
- FIRST: Figure out how much money you can afford to spend on food
for the month. This amount of money can be divided by 4 in order to get a
weekly amount that can be spent on food.
- SECOND: Plan out your meals for the week. This is the secret to
success!! Just sketch out your main meal items on a list. You will have a ready
made list when you go to the store and your food will last all week.
- THIRD: Shop from your meal list first, then add the treats in.
- Do not shop when you are tired, hungry, or rushed.
- Buy store and/or generic brands of good quality when possible.
- Use unit pricing to get best buy. There is a "how to use unit
- Try to shop at a grocery store rather than a convenience store
(like CoGo’s or Seven-Eleven).
- Look for “in-season” bargains. For example, Ham is a good buy around
Easter. Try to buy an extra and freeze it for later.
- Always keep a “back-up” dinner item in your cupboard. I usually have
a can of salmon or beans (my kids like baked beans and black bean soup) and
canned fruit or veggies.
Kids and the Grocery Store
It can be a challenge to make it through the grocery store with
the kids. It can be a long time for them to behave. They naturally see things
they want. It can be hard to say no and not a good idea for the budget to say
yes. Here are a few ideas that may work for your family. Peaceful Shopping!!
Tell your child what to expect. “We
are going to the store. You can ride in the buggy and be my helper. We will get
a cookie with our cookie card” They may need to start with shorter grocery
store trips to learn what to expect.
- Praise your child frequently for good behavior. Say things like,
“You are being so patient. Thank you. You are a good shopper.”
- Feed your child before you go to the store. This will help them
be less cranky and whiney.
- Set limits on the treat buying and tell them the limits in
advance. Children can learn limits if they are consistent and seem fair to
them. For example, when my kids were little I had them take turns at picking
out a treat for the week. They always knew whose turn it was!! Every shopping
trip does not have to include a treat for the kids. This can get out-of-control
really quickly. You are the decision maker about this.
- It may be best to leave the children at home with an adult. If
taking your children to the store stresses you out, arrange for someone to
watch them. This may save on your grocery bill too!
Unit Pricing in
the Grocery Store:
to spot a bargain
What is unit pricing? It is a method to show exactly how much a
food costs per ounce, pound, quart, gallon, etc. The unit price can be used to
figure out which brand or is a better buy. Unit prices are usually located
on the shelf right below the food item. For example, if a 16 oz. (1 lb) can of
peaches costs 49 cents and a 1 lb and 13 oz. can costs 63 cents, it's hard to
figure out which is a better buy. With unit pricing, you can find the unit
price for each, and then determine which is a better buy. In this case the
larger is a better buy for its unit price per pound is 35 cents instead of
49 cents for the smaller can of peaches.
Peaches 16 oz. (1 lb.) can
Cost = $.49
Unit Price = $.49
Peaches 1 lb. and 13 oz.
Cost = $.63
Unit Price = $.35
In this case, the larger can of peaches is the better buy.