Five Ways To Save Money On Food

We spend a huge portion of our income on food, learn how to reduce your food expenses with our five tips.

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• Money & Finances: Budget • Money & Finances: How-To
• Money & Finances: Saving • Money & Finances: Tips & Tricks

Full Description
The typical American has been contending with increasing food bills during the past few years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical American household spent $6,129 on food in 2010. This number jumped to $6,599 in 2012, which is the equivalent of $550 per month spent on food.

If you do not have room in your budget to shell out over $500 each month on food, there are ways that you can reduce your food costs. Read on to learn more.

Consider Buying Store Brands


You may not be drawn to the boring packaging used for most store brand foods, but chances are that you will not mind the taste of these lower cost items. A taste test described in an article published in an October 2012 edition of Consumer Reports compared store brand products to name brand products. Out of the 19 products tested, ten of the taste tests resulted in a tie between the store brand and the name brand. Furthermore, the authors of the article explained that in the year prior to the taste test, they surveyed about 24,000 readers, and 74 percent of them reported being "highly satisfied" with store brand foods.

If you want to save money without sacrificing taste, store brands are a viable option. According to Consumer Reports, you can expect to save 25 percent when you buy store brands instead of name brands.

Eliminate Unnecessary Items from Your Grocery List


You may enjoy a cold soda with your lunch, but the cost of drinking one every day can be significant. If you go through a 12-pack of soda every week, you are likely spending at least $20 per month, or $240 per year, on soda. Soda provides no nutritional benefits, and the added sugar likely is not too friendly to your waistline. Hydrate with water and eliminate soda from your grocery list, as it is just an unnecessary expense.

Snacks like cookies and chips also provide little nutritional value. They cannot be used to prepare meals, and they are not a necessary part of your grocery bill. Resist the urge to toss snacks into the cart to reduce your spending.

Plan Ahead


Before going to the grocery, write a list of meals you plan to prepare during the week, and create a shopping list based on the items needed for those meals. If you know exactly what you need to buy, you will be less likely to throw unneeded items into your cart.

Skip the Takeout


You may be tempted to pick up food from your favorite Chinese restaurant during your lunch break, but doing so regularly is an easy way to empty your bank account. A takeout meal can cost $10 or more, but you can pack a lunch from home for just a few dollars.

According to Mary Krisco, a dietician featured in a 2009 publication of The Janesville Gazette, you can save $1,500 per year by skipping takeout and packing your lunch. This is equal to $125 per month!

Clip Coupons


You may have noticed that couponing is becoming more common. It turns out that taking advantage of coupons can add up to considerable savings. Browse coupons.com, couponmom.com, and smartsource.com to find printable coupons that can be used during your next trip to the grocery store.

By using coupons and making other tweaks to your food buying habits, you can reduce your monthly food bill to a more affordable amount. Take advantage of the five tips discussed here, and you may be able to cut your food bill in half!
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