Shopping on a Limited Budget
Next to the cost of gas, food is one of the most expensive recurring bills that any household is faced with. With food though, we are faced with a problem in that we cannot go without food. We kind of need it to survive. So, what can be done to lower this bill, and allow families to have more cash for other needed things? There are several things that can be done to help with this situation.
- Create a weekly menu. This means that you try to plan ahead each of the meals that you are going to be having, and shop accordingly. It is much easier to stay within a budget having planned out each of your meals. The reason for this is that you have a list right in front of you, and as long as you stick to that list, there is less impulse buying going on.
- Pick your shopping day. Pick one day a week, and only one, that you are going to do your grocery shopping. Personally, I would suggest that you go near the end of the week, as this is usually when the better deals are coming out as the stores have to start moving some of their "expired" food. I say "expired" because, while it is not really expired, most stores go through their products, and get rid of food if it is past the sell by date. This food is still good, and you can usually get it at a discounted price.
- Stay away from instant products. Those wonderful instant, and time saving products and meals are actually a whole lot more expensive, than if you purchased each of the ingredients separately and cooked them yourself. Take that extra time used to cook and spend it with your family. One way that you could do this would be to use that time to teach your children how to cook.
- Become a coupon clipper. Take the time to go through your Sunday paper, and clip out the coupons for the products that your family uses. This ensures that you will save even more money, particularly if you go on the day of the week when the store starts to rotate it's products around.
- Eat prior to shopping. This may sound extremely silly to you, because I know that it did when I first heard it. What's really silly about this is that it really works! Have you ever noticed that when you shop hungry, you buy more (much, much more) than you originally planned? This is because you are shopping with your stomach, and not your head. By having a light snack prior to making a store run, you end up reducing the risk of impulse shopping.
- Use a calculator. If you really want to stay within your budget, be sure that you bring a calculator along with you so that you can do so. As you are shopping, either add the price of each item up, or subtract the price from your total budget for that trip. This way you are going to know exactly how much you have left for your use, and so that you do not get a nasty sticker shock when finished.