by Arthur Vitale
Here are a few simple and easy-to-do ways that any frugal mom or dad can use to save money, and have more money to pay down debt. These are simplistic things that many people already know about, but sometimes we forget or get lazy, and we need someone to remind or motivate us.
The four biggest expenses for the average American family are housing, transportation, taxes, and food. While every household has some fixed expenses, like your mortgage payment and utilities, you do have control and flexibility over other expenses, like your grocery bill.
Here are five ways to trim your monthly grocery bill, so you can have more money to pay down your mortgage, loans, and credit card debt…
First, before you leave home to go to the grocery store, look through your kitchen to ascertain exactly what you need. Making a grocery list, and checking it twice, will fatten your wallet, because you won’t buy more than you need, and you won’t have to make a second trip.
When you are organized, you know exactly what you need to get, and you’ll also save on gas by making only one trip. By the way, leave your credit card at home. You will usually buy more than you need with plastic-in-hand than you will with cash-in-hand!
Second, watch the price scanner at the check-out stand. Price scans make mistakes all the time, and can cost you more money. Consumer Reports Magazine recently reported the results of a shopper’s survey where 6% of survey participants said they were overcharged at grocery checkouts.
While no particular chain’s price scanning mistakes stood out any more or less accurate when compared to others, it’s up to you to watch the grocery price scans, and verify their accuracy. In some cases, grocery chains will actually give you the item for free, if it scans the wrong price. So spotting the error, not only avoids getting overcharged, but you might just get the item for free!
Third, make the switch from buying big-brand names to buying generic food items. You’ll save between 10% and 50% when you buy generic foods. It’s still the same item and nutritional value as the big-brand name, but without the added marketing costs big-brand companies pass on to the consumer.
You’re actually paying for the false sense of superiority that you feel when you recognize a big-brand label. For example, green beans are green beans, and you don’t need a “jolly-green-giant” to help you cook and serve a better green bean casserole!
Fourth, quit clipping the wrong coupons. Some coupons make you buy more of a product than you needed in the first place. Many of these items are highly packaged foods that are low in nutrition, high in sodium and sugar, and a whole bunch of other ingredients none of us can pronounce. So, skip the coupons which are for low or no nutritional foods. Paying a little more for “whole foods” is a worthy investment in your family’s health!
Fifth, avoid the cans and buy dried beans in bulk instead. One of the best frugal ways to add protein to your diet without paying the high cost of meat, is to buy dried beans in bulk, and soaking them overnight. You will also avoid all of the sodium that comes with canned food items. Therefore, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also eat much better, and have more money to pay down your debt!
Saving money at the grocery store takes consistent practice, but having more money in your pocket to pay down credit card debt, and any Military Home Loan payments, is the benefit you receive for being financially frugal!