Millions of Americans and Canadians are experiencing what the emptiness feels like…the emptiness of their savings accounts, the emptiness of their wallets, and the emptiness of their kitchen cupboards. Many of us are struggling to make ends meet (as in what’s at the end of the receipt meeting what’s at the end of your checkbook), and sometimes we discover that money for enough groceries to feed a family just isn’t in the budget.
While eating less is certainly an option, it shouldn’t have to be, not when there is plenty of food to go around. The truth is that you can fill your cupboards to overflowing even on a tight budget, if you know the tricks.
What are these pantry filling tricks?
Dare to Compare
If you ask someone if they like to sit around and compare things; people, clothing styles, shiny cars, neighborhoods, they’ll tell you, “No, of course not, it isn’t nice to compare.” Still, if you really want to know that truth, the art of comparing things comes naturally to everyone–except the art of comparison shopping.
Comparison shopping can be easy if you know where to look, but most people assume that to compare prices between stores you have to write out a lengthy shopping list and take that list from store to store seeing which store offers those products cheapest. That may have been the old way to do things, but comparison shopping can now be done online. In order to please their internet savvy, on the go customers, many grocery stores, department stores, and home goods stores list all of their products and their costs online. That means that you can comparison shop for the best prices while you’re catching up on last episode of Grimm.
Learn to Match
Oh, the absolute beauty of price matching! Large store chains typically offer their shoppers the ability to bring in ads from competitors and buy those advertised products for those discounted prices right in their store. Consumer goods juggernaut, Wal-Mart, offers its consumers the chance to bring in ads and essentially use them as coupons at the register. This means that you can completely forgo comparison shopping and just get everything you need in one place–if you don’t mind the frantic pace you’ll have to set to beat other shoppers to the deals, or the overwhelming amount of products you’ll have to sift through to find the things that are on your list.
While many assume that off brands are usually the cheaply made underachievers to their brand named cousins, this is a fallacy. If you look at the label on off brand products, you’ll discover that they are usually made from the same materials, using the same processes–they just come in a less pretty box. Many stores offer their consumers off brand store brands so that they can have high quality goods without paying brand name prices. Why should you pay an extra $0.50 for packaging?
You can save tons of money over the course of the year by buying off brands, especially when stores offer deals such as buy one get one or buy 10 for $10. Don’t let pride make you go broke because there is no shame in buying Weis spaghetti sauce instead of Ragu.
With websites like Pinterest and happy homemaker blogs gaining popularity, more and more people are looking to make and preserve their own goods at home. You’d be amazed to find the amount of things you can make! Buy the product ingredients in bulk (which may cost more initially, but will pay off once the products are made), purchase the containers needed (jars, plastic tubs, etc…), and make your own homemade goods.
Many people have discovered the joys and money saving brilliance of making their own: salsa, pickles, spaghetti sauce, jams and jellies, canned or frozen vegetables and fruits, soups, dish soup, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, baby wipes, household cleaning supplies, pet food, and MUCH more.
Can you really save money making your own stuff? Well, after purchasing the ingredients needed to make your own laundry detergent, you’ll see the price difference. For 40 loads of store bought detergent, you’ll pay $0.20 per load or more (depending on how fancy the detergent). For 40 loads of homemade detergent, you’ll pay $0.05 per load or $2 per BATCH of homemade detergent. Yeah, that will save you some money.
For the family looking to cut back on grocery costs, you now have the information you need to grocery CHOP without having to clip coupons. Saving money and saving time has never been easier.
What tactics, other than coupons, do you use to lower your grocery bill?