Sure, we all welcome the reduction of the cost of gas, but it doesn't change the fact that inflation is still a reality and on the minds of anyone who is grocery shopping. The grocery bill keeps growing, yet the number of grocery bags loaded in the trunk keeps getting smaller. It's no surprise that higher food prices helped contribute to the current inflation readings.
Even if you are not struggling financially, you should still be aware and concerned about your increased spending. One way to start saving is by cutting back on reoccurring expenses, like your grocery costs. If you are like me, it is easy to spend way more than you should. Even though food at its basic level is necessary, many of us spend more than we need to.
As a financial planner, I have the skills for formulating a plan down pat without a second thought, yet when planning for grocery shopping, my planning skills sometimes fail miserably. As an exercise for myself, I'm going to use my planning skills as an advisor to help provide important tips to save on your groceries every month, and me too!
Plan Your Meals
Every great financial plan starts with identifying your goals for your future. Similarly, you should have a plan for what you want to eat in the next week before heading to the grocery store.
Consider your situation; are you working, do you have planned activities, and who are you feeding? Accessible internet or app searches can help you identify dishes based on preparation time and your individual tastes.
Not only can pre-planning your meals take the mystery out of "what's for dinner?" but it also helps you stick to buying the things you need. Plus, it's easier to work on other benefits like eating healthier, avoiding waste, and resisting the urge to use uber eats.
Make Your List—And Use It
Once you have a plan for what you will eat for the week, it should be easy to make a list while considering the items in your pantry. Nearly everyone has food already sitting on the pantry shelves.
Once you are in the store, try to stick to buying only what you will need for the meals you plan to prepare and avoid being distracted once you are in the store. If you find you have trouble staying on track and can't resist passing on the newest chip flavor, or loading up on the yummy ice cream, consider using a grocery delivery or pickup service. Grocery services may save you more than time, it may save you extra money from impulse purchases, even after factoring in the cost of delivery (pickup is generally free).
Passing up on small impulse purchases can add up quickly. Saving just $10 on your weekly grocery run adds up to $520 a year.
Be a Smart Shopper
Comparison shopping among stores, store reward cards, and coupons can all be vital to saving. Many of my current clients share details about who has the best deals on various items. Consider buying your name-brand staples from Walmart and non-name-brand items from places like Aldi. Reserve Publix for those special treats.
Being a smart shopper goes beyond the store and coupons; you should pay attention to the items you buy. Even though you may be paying less for something, you should consider the unit cost and compare it to similar products. Sure, the four-pack of toilet paper at $4.99 is cheaper than buying the sixteen pack at $12.99, but in the long run, the sixteen pack provides more value.
Buying in bulk is not always cheaper, especially if it is not an item you will routinely use; however, spending more upfront for a lower overall price creates savings for things you regularly consume.
Make it Super Easy
Wouldn't it be nice to complete all three steps into one easy action? Several meal kit companies now offer delivery right to your door. Depending on your interest, kits include do-it-yourself options or already prepared kits. Over recent years companies have developed niche packages to cover various dietary needs, including calorie-conscious, gluten-free, and vegetarian.
Subscriptions include multiple weekly choices with lots of scheduling flexibility. No looking for recipes to plan out your meals. No making a grocery list. No going shopping with the temptation to deviate, and the strong possibility of eliminating waste. You simply pick your menu selection in advance, and your kit is delivered to your door.
Most companies offer promotional pricing at rock bottom deals; however, many options are available once you subscribe, from $9-$10 per person per meal. Once factoring in time, impulse purchases and waste, this option could become price competitive and is certainly cheaper than most dining out options.
Savvy investors and high-net-worth individuals may be able to afford the impacts of inflation, but they also know that every little bit of savings can help. That is how they can most likely afford these current high inflationary periods. Give these tips a try and see how much you can save.
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation. This article contains links to articles or other information that may be contained on a third-party website. River City Wealth Management is not responsible for and does not control, adopt, or endorse any content contained on any third-party website. The information contained herein is derived from sources deemed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results.