When the economy goes sour people naturally look for ways to economize. For most families, one of the earliest places they look is the food budget. Fortunately, saving money in that area does not require sacrificing nutrition, taste, or even quantity.
Several avenues for saving on overall grocery bill expenses have been around for many years now. The ‘big box’ grocery stores like Wal-Mart, CostCo, and others can easily help you save 20% or more over your regular grocery store bill.
Many people are reluctant to try stores like that for various personal reasons. They range from not wanting to appear ‘low class’ to just disliking crowds. But the experience of millions show that those stores are frequented by people from all walks of life. Shopping at odd hours (easy, since most are open 24 hours per day) can solve the problem of bumping elbows.
What you buy is just as much a determinant of how much you save as where you shop, too.
Think of all the not-necessarily nutritious, non-essential food and drink items you purchase. Some people crave sugary cookies, others enjoy pie, ice cream, and other goodies. Some have a weakness for high calorie soft-drinks or alcohol.
You can improve your health and save money without making life miserable by exercising some restraint. No need to deny yourself every indulgence, just buy them in moderation. Instead of three packages of cookies per month, think about only two. Rather than a half quart of wine per day per person, lower the amount to a couple of glasses at most.
Add up all those individual ’shavings’ and they lead to big savings over a period of time. A dollar here and there, multiplied by a couple of hundred items per month, totals up to over two thousand dollars saved over the course of a year. That’s not chump change in these tight times.
At the same time – just to select one example – less wine provides the benefits of modest consumption with fewer of the drawbacks. It lowers overall calories but still supplies you with the antioxidants that help improve heart function and decreases the odds of certain cancers.
Even greater savings are possible, with small sacrifice, by altering your restaurant-going habits.
Some couples eat out several nights per week. It’s convenient and provides a variety of foods, so who wouldn’t? But reducing that to a weekly ’special night out’ can save hundreds of dollars per month. Also, you can explore new options and save money by looking at places you hadn’t been before. Family ‘all you can eat for $X’ restaurants are one way. Selecting a second-tier place you’ve never tried before is another.
The overall theme is to explore, be flexible, and change long-standing habits. A little thought and a willingness to be adventurous can keep you satisfied and fit, while keeping your wallet fat.