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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Budgeting Blues: How to Save Money Now - S Post

Inside every budget are opportunities to save money right now. The budget area that offers the greatest flexibility for savings is food. If you have plans to make a big purchase and want to find ways to save money, cutting back on groceries is one way to find hidden cash quickly. Here are some tips that help address your need to save money now. 

Short-Term Money Goals

Every month, in addition to income, your budget reflects expenditures. These include items such as your car payment, car insurance, groceries, and money spent on eating out for lunch and dinner. Let's say that your goal is to cut short-term expense. So let's look at a few tricks that help you save money on groceries.  

Groceries and Food Costs

Image via Flickr by Jaro Larnos

Groceries: How and where you shop for groceries impacts the price that you pay for food. Be willing to shop around when you buy groceries. Check out dollar stores. They sell name-brand groceries that you know and trust. They can sell items cheaper because they buy entire lots that are in damaged crates. Just the crate is damaged, not the food or other items. So dollar stores offer outstanding value on most food items. You can still shop at your favorite store for items that are on sale. 

Coupons: Coupons save customers billions of dollars each year. Get your share of that savings. The best and easiest source for coupons near you are Valpak coupons. Those are an entire envelope stuffed full of savings. Use them. There is an expression: "Crumbs make bread." What that means is that little savings add up to dollars. Twenty-five cents off here and 35 cents off there add up to cold hard cash that stays in your bank account. Coupons work. 

Eat Less Expensive Foods

Image via Flickr by SammyJayJay

Cheaper foods are just as delicious as more expensive food. When you buy groceries, the packaging drives up the cost of the food. Learn to cook food yourself and stop paying for packaging. Boxed foods have inflated prices because of the packaging. Instead of using a box of starch for dinner, learn to cook different types of rice. Vegetables like potatoes are easy to cook. Even mashed potatoes take very little effort to make from scratch. 

Choose foods that we consider "Paleo." You don't have to follow the Paleo diet, but that diet does target foods that are often less expensive. Dried beans, lentils, and grains such as barley are inexpensive and healthy. Learn to follow the produce and fruit season. By buying vegetables and fruits that are in season, you save money. When something is scarce, the price goes up. When vegetables are at the peak of production, their prices drop. How and when you buy food is important. 

Pack Your Lunch

A PBJ is not as glamorous as a burger and fries, but it costs a lot less. If you spend $10 on lunch every weekday, then you spend $50 each week. That adds up to $2,600 a year just for lunches. You'd like to have $2,600 in your savings account just about now, right?

You don't have to eat PBJs everyday to save money. Coffee is another treat that adds up quickly. How much do you spend on your $4 mocha habit? Twenty dollars a week if you have one Monday through Friday. That adds up to $1,040 a year. Those little things add up quickly, especially if you have a significant other. Make sure that you sit down as a couple and agree to make a few lifestyle changes. Be open to trying new foods and different brands. 

Buying groceries is one of the biggest areas where people can save the most money. Changing how you shop for groceries takes practice. You get tired, or you don't want to cook. Learn to use your freezer. It is just as easy to make a second lasagna as it is to make the first. Set yourself up for success by planning ahead. As an added plus, you can apply what you learn here to other areas of your budget too. 


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