by Kathy Wilson
et's face it, with the way things are today with gas and grocery prices going up (and just about everything else) most of us are doing what we can to save money on groceries. I know you've heard it all; coupons, shop the sales, using rebates...but I have a simple technique that I have found is the best way to save money on groceries for my family. So no matter how much money you make, or how much you spend, anyone can save money!
First of all, all those tried and true grocery saving ideas really can work. But honestly, I don't have the time. I do cut out the occasional coupon, and wish I had the time to work all the couponing angles, but I don't. My secret to saving money happened accidentally as I was trying to become more organized to be able to run my online business from home more efficiently.
I make a weekly menu. That's it, that's the secret. I know, like I said, seems more like organization. But the fact is, when you make a menu each week, then develop your grocery list from that menu, you can save up to 30% on your grocery bill every week. If your grocery bill averages $100 a week, that's $33 bucks, folks. That adds up to more than $1700 dollars a year. That's a lot of money to be throwing away. And the savings are higher if your grocery bill tends to be higher than $100 a week, like mine.
The reason this works is that it eliminates impulse and unnecessary buying. The menu and list keeps you on track so you know everything you need. How many times have you bought a couple heads of lettuce and some tomatoes, thinking it would be great to have a salad "sometime this week" only to find them later in the frig, $9 worth of trash? We've all done it, sometimes so many times its embarrassing to admit!
Better still; use the weekly sales flyers to create your menu from discounted items. For instance, if round steak in on sale this week, make sure a couple of meals on your menu use round steak. Apples on special? Buy a bag and make apple pie for this weeks dessert. Getting it?
It really does work to save you money on groceries, and the side benefit is that you avoid those last minute (and unhealthy) trips through the drive thru. Every morning you know what's for dinner, so you can thaw your meat, or start your slow cooker without the guilt and expense unplanned meals can cause.
So try it. Get out a paper and make a menu for this week. (Or you can visit Women on the Net for free menu printables.) Create a shopping list from your menu. Feel free to interchange a meal here and there if you come across a good sale, but be sure to change it on your menu list. Now compare your grocery bill to the last few you've had. Pretty cool, eh? From a mom who has raised 5 kids and three stepkids, this is my secret for the best way to save money on groceries, and keep you on track at the same time!
For free ideas for women learning to make money on the internet, visit Kathy at http://www.women-on-the-net.com. Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For thousands of free budget home decorating ideas visit her at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com.