You and Your Grocery Bill
by Nikki Willhite
Do you ever wonder if you are spending too much money on
groceries? Do you think that just because you don't eat out that
you are doing a good job with food expenses?
If you look up the statistical data for 2016, you
will find that the average family of 4 spends nearly $200 each week for food.
That is a $800 per month.
I am not surprised that some people spend that much
for food. I have been to stores like Safeway and seen the prices.
They are twice, if not more, than the prices at Winco. If you want to
quadruple the price of your groceries, try QVC or Trader Joes. Winco may
not be the most pretty store, but the savings are unbeatable.
If you want to save money on groceries, start with
shopping at the most economical store. One thing you won't find at Winco
is stale food. Food moves in and out of there to quick to get old.
Grocery Shopping Tips
Spend more time in the produce department, and less time in the cereal aisle.
If you must buy cereal, but the generic brand. If you kids are picky, and
don't want anything other than food from the boxes they see on television, buy
one name brand box. When that gets empty, fill it up with the generic
brand. They will never know the difference.
Most of the nutrition in the store is found on the perimeter of
the store, in
the refrigerated sections for fruits, vegetables, dairy
and meat products. Avoid going down aisles with food that is over-priced
and of little nutritional value.
Avoid over processed food, sugar laden food, and food full of chemicals.
Again, this food is not frugal and not healthy.
Always shop with a list and plan your meals for the week, making
use of any leftovers from the previous week. If you have leftover sour cream, make beef stroganoff or
cheese enchiladas. Don't pour money down the drain or put it in the
kitchen trash. Just because you have a food budget doesn't mean you can
buy food until you hit that number, including extras you really don't need.
Shop alone if possible. The more hands and eyes that go with you, the more
you will spend.
Buy as many items as you can in bulk at a warehouse like Costco. Take advantage of bulk
Use your freezer to store items for a future meals.
Keep your tastes simple. If you develop a taste for gourmet
snacks and food, you will never keep your food budget down.
You don't have to eat meat every night. You can get the same nutrition from beans
and eggs. Even vegetables have protein. You can still have a hot meal for
dinner with sandwiches and soup.
Don't be above eating tuna noodle casserole or macaroni and cheese. Kids
usually like macaroni and cheese from the box, but when macaroni and cheese is homemade with fresh
cheese it is a real comfort food.
Sometimes it is not the food you eat, but what you put with it that makes the
difference. Macaroni and cheese served with corn is not nearly as
appetizing as macaroni served with a colorful lime jello salad, cherry jello
with bananas or bright orange carrots. Plan your meals using your sense of
Add soup and rolls to dinner for those who need more food.
If you don't know the price of food, keep a price book. List
all the foods you buy on your computer, and then write down what
you have been paying for them. Carry it with
you when shopping. When you see a true sale, stock up.
Make a place in your home to store food. You have more room than
you think. You can store a ton of food under your bed, and upper
closet space is usually wasted. The price of food is going up.
When you see it on sale, you need to stock up.
Cook as many items as you can from scratch. When time is
limited, cook items that are easier, but still less expensive
than fast food.
If you are eating out for dinner, just stop it. The prices,
as well as the portions, are insane. Go out to lunch instead. The prices are significantly less, and you can often
split a meal among family members.
Don't be a "meat and potatoes" family. In addition
to the cost, you will be digging your own graves with your knife and
fork. That goes for hamburgers also.
Have at least one slow cooker recipe for days when you know you
will be unable or too tired to cook dinner.
Plan your meals, make economical substitutions in recipes when possible,
and cook, bake and freeze to make life easier. Your food is building the bodies
your children will use for a lifetime. Spend your frugal dollars on food
that will strengthen them for their future years.
About the Author: Nikki Willhite,
mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing
articles on the topic of
frugal living for over a
decade. Visit her at
- where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal
Happy Families- more than just money!