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One trip to the grocery store for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread will likely leave you scratching your head. How can two little items cost so much? Shop for a family and you're almost certainly scrambling for practical ways to feed your family for less.
With a projected 3-4 percent increase in food prices this year according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consumers need savvy savings solutions more than ever to combat rising food prices.
Here are some of the best ways to get started slashing your grocery bill in half:
1. Plan your menu: Planning your menu in advance allows you to locate the best deals on the items you’ll need, rather than pay full price for the same items on the day you need it. Planning can also save money on gas since you will be making fewer trips to the grocery store.
2. Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk is a great way to save money at the grocery store. Learn how to properly store the excess and how long it will last in your pantry, fridge or freezer, and plan accordingly.
3. Make a food budget: Of course it’s not enough to simply make a food budget, you actually have to stick to it. It might seem simple, but many people have a problem sticking to their grocery budget. If you find you’re running low on food and funds toward the end of the month, your last week of meals may have to include some less expensive items on your list.
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4. Don’t buy premade: Convenience will cost you. Don’t buy premade what you can easily make yourself. While this might be a tough one for people without a lot of time on their hands, once you break the convenience habit, you’ll realize the savings are worth the slightest bit of extra effort.
5. Buy generic: Go generic when possible or try a new brand on sale. Even if you’ve been brand loyal for years, you may find there isn’t a big difference once you try another. If there is, go back to your favorite next time. The savings are worth the risk.
6. Search for savings: Don’t be afraid of clearance or manager special items at the grocery store. Short shelf life items such as meat and bakery goods go on clearance daily. Snag up the items and ring in the savings! You can either choose to prepare the clearance items to eat that night or freeze them.
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7. Shop around: Don’t do all your shopping at one store. Know which stores have your basic products priced the lowest and plan trips to each throughout the month as needed. Also, keep an eye on the weekly sale ads from each store to stock up on items you regularly consume when on sale.