Nine Ways to Save Money on Food
Saving money can sometimes seem like a huge effort, especially when it comes to necessities like food, clothing and toiletries.
All that coupon clipping that your mom did added up to a few dollars of savings each time you went to the store. But is that worth the two hours she spent scanning the papers for deals and then scanning the aisles for the correct brand so that she could use those coupons. Of course, this is a stereotype that is not always true. But the fact is that saving money takes effort and time. There are some ways to make it easier.
- Sam’s Club – The gigantic kin of Wal-Mart offers bulk goods, from food to toiletries to other things like home and auto items. You will have to do a little research because not everything is cheaper when bought in bulk at Sam’s. However, for non perishable necessities, it is generally a good venue for money saving a few dollars without clipping coupons.
- Buy Bulk – Some other stores offer bulk items or have “family-size” or “economy-size” versions of their products. Again, you’ll have to do the calculations, but, for the most part, these larger sizes are cheaper by volume. Again, the bulk-buying strategy only works for non-perishable items.
- Visit farmers markets – Farmers markets can be a good source for fresh foods and fresh produce. Prices are usually (but not always) reasonable and the freshness of the food cannot be beat.
- Visit ethnic markets – If you have a large immigrant community or cultural grouping your city, then you probably have a market that caters to this demographic. Prices for “exotic” goods can be high at traditional supermarkets, but the price can be significantly less at ethnic markets.
- Clip coupons – you can simply scan the newspaper and find out what’s on sale at your favorite supermarket. Better yet, simply set aside the Sunday paper ad and simply bring it with you when you shop. No need to scan manufacturers coupons for hours in order to find something useful. You can use the internet to find coupons for exactly what you want rather than buying whatever is on sale. Printable coupons are often available from manufacturers or on coupon sites.
- Buy generic brands – Most major chains have their own line of generic foods, clothing, and even medicines and beauty products. These have the same ingredients or come from the same places as brand name goods, but are cheaper because there are no advertising costs and distribution is limited to a single chain. If you are unsure, you can buy one item to sample or simply look at the list of ingredients or place or origin on the package in order to make sure that the generic and brand name items are similar.
- Shop second hand – If you are in the market for clothes, consider outlets for charity organizations like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. They sell second-hand clothes that have been donated. Sure, there are bound to be a lot of ratty clothing items and outdated styles, but if you truly dig deep and explore the clothes racks in depth, you could come up with some good finds.
- Grow your own – yes, seeds are cheap, and so is cloth. It is possible to save money by growing your own food or making your own clothing. This can be time consuming, but if you are able to choose the heartiest plants for your garden, they will require little tending.
- Dollar stores – there is a lot of junk at the “dollar stores” that are now prevalent around the country. These stores sell all their inventory for a dollar or two each. This is useful for some items, like toothpaste or wash-clothes. You’ll have to find items of reasonable quality by trial and error. These stores are generally not good options for quality food or clothing.