Mistake #1: Getting Stuck in a Routine
When it comes to saving money on food and implementing budget eating it really pays to get creative and forego buying the same items and same brands over and over each week. Every week grocery stores feature different items on sale. Taking advantage of these sales is crucial if you want to save a few bucks. Often consumers shy away from items on sale because they don’t commonly use them or are unknowledgeable about how to prepare meals with them. Don’t be! Pick up a cookbook from a local library, check for recipes at the grocery store or from recipe websites. Many of the larger grocery stores have computers in numerous places throughout the store offering recipes. Simply type in the food you want to use and a few recipe selections appear.
Mistake #2: Not Shopping Sales
Often you can get really great deals on some of the sales at the stores. It makes sense to take the time to look at the weekly circulars for the different grocery stores and go to the one who’s offering the most sales on the items you need that week. Some people take the time to shop at several grocery stores to get what they need at the best prices. When you plan budget eating look at the circulars for what’s on sale, then plan you’re weekly meals; not the other way around. This way you can take advantage of great sales each week!
Mistake #3: Not Using Coupons
One great way to make eating on a budget work is to use coupons. Cutting coupons is time consuming and many people avoid this simple way to save big at the store. Make it a habit to cut coupons or search for coupons online and use them. Get a coupon folder and keep it in your car so you don’t forget it when you go shopping. You can really save a bundle when using coupons. If you have a coupon for something that’s on sale you can end up paying close to nothing. Remember to know when your grocery stores offers double coupon days or some send out ‘coupon doublers’ with the circulars. Take advantage of this too.
Mistake #4: Beginning Shopping in Produce
This may sound like a silly mistake but it’s not. Grocery stores are arranged in a way to encourage the consumer to spend. When you enter at the produce your senses are immediately stimulated; colors and smells all leading you to want to buy. The grocery stores do not want to encourage budget eating or spending. Start in the middle section of the store, the aisles with boring cans and boxes. This way you hit the bakery and produce last.
Mistake #5: Not Shopping Local for Produce
Produce can be found at local farmers market, co-ops, and even right on farm stands along the roads. This is the best way to get the freshest and cheapest produce on your table. Sure you have to make one more stop but this really beats out buying produce at the grocery store that has been shipped thousands of miles and undergone numerous temperature changes. It’s also usually significantly cheaper and what’s great is that you’re supporting your local economy and neighbors. Do a web search for community supported agriculture to find farmers markets near you.
Mistake #6: Buying Name Brand Cheese
Did you know that cheese is certified by the government? A brand name cheese (say New York Mild Cheddar) and a generic cheese (also New York Mild Cheddar) are the exact same cheese. When you opt for name brand cheeses you’re basically paying for the pretty packaging. Buying the store brand cheese is a great way to increase success when eating on a budget.
Mistake #7: Buying Damaged Products
Many people mistakenly shop the ‘clearance’ section of the grocery store thinking anything is a bargain. Not true. Dented and damaged can goods can spoil more easily and ruin the food. If a food item is close to the expiration date this is okay, or if it’s simply a discontinued item. Avoid buying products in damaged packages as their content can be unsafely compromised. Budget eating shouldn’t risk your health.
Mistake #8: Choosing Products from the End of Aisle Displays
You know the displays I mean, cereals, or crackers stacked sky high with supposedly great deal prices displayed boldly. Beware! These items aren’t always on sale; sometimes the manufacturer or store is just promoting those items that week. Before you’re fooled look closely and be sure it’s a sale.
There are other easy and smart ways to save big with budget eating. Becoming a savvy shopper means you’ll save much needed cash in the long run.