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Does the state of your finances accelerate your pulse? Does your brain crunch numbers each night long after you’re supposed to be asleep? Being a single mom can be hard, especially with making ends meet. Here are some tips on how to save money on your grocery bill.
Groceries are expensive. A family of four can expect to spend between $712 and $1,106 per month on food alone. Even if you’re only feeding yourself, food costs an average of $250 per month on a moderate budget. For many single-parent families, those numbers are far too high. So, How to save money on your grocery bill is a question most single moms ask. Thankfully, there are ways to bring your grocery bill down to a reasonable number.
How To Spend Less On Groceries
These tips will not include making changes that will impact your family’s health. After all, we still want our kids to be healthy, and having access to nutritious food should not be a privilege reserved for the wealthy. Instead, these tips will show you how to save money on your grocery bill by shopping smarter. This way, you’ll get more “bang” for your buck!
How to Save Money on Your Grocery Bill
- Only Buy What You Can Eat Before it Rots
Produce is often perishable. Your fruits and veggies won’t stay fresh for long, even if they’re stored in your fridge. Only buy produce in quantities that you know will be eaten before your next food run. What’s the point of buying 5 bunches of bananas if they’ll go brown before your family can get to the third bunch?
2. Find the Cheapest Grocery Store
Not every grocery store is priced equally! Compare local food stores to find the best prices for food your family eats. Oftentimes, this means shopping for groceries at Walmart, Aldi, or even Dollar General instead of high-end places. You can sometimes get even bigger savings by shopping on Amazon Prime Pantry – but once again, compare that to local options.
3. Buy Ugly Produce
Misfits Market is a subscription box company that sells discounted produce that is misshapen, yet still perfectly edible. They deliver the produce to you, and they promise discounts as steep as 50% off what you’d pay at the grocery store. Or check out a local farmers co-op. It’s worth looking into if your family eats a lot of produce!
Sometimes, grocery stores will offer a discount on “ugly” produce as well. Ask your favorite stores if they have promotions for misshapen, harder-to-sell items. Also, know when your local grocery stores put out their discount food items. Knowing when your local grocer puts those discounted food items out helps you to know when to stop by those stores so you can stock up on discounted meats, frozen items, fruits, veggies and more.
4. Buy Generic Brand Food
Save money on groceries by purchasing generic brand item. If you’re shopping for groceries at a chain store, they oftentimes sell generic goods for cheaper than name brand food. Walmart’s Great Value brand can leave you spending less than a dollar on items you’d normally pay several dollars for! You can get 6 boxes of macaroni and cheese from Great Value for just $3.24, whereas 3 boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese will cost $5.66.
5. Use the Food Bank
An unfortunately high number of single mothers are raising families in poverty. Single moms are among the most disadvantaged people in the United States, with 30% of them living below the poverty line. If your family meets the criteria for poverty, you’re eligible to shop at local food banks. They’ll provide your family with free groceries based on the number of people in your home. There is no shame in needing that extra assistance, especially since it’ll save you money to spend on other necessities.
When using the food bank, keep in mind that some of their fresh food may be expired. That’s because chains like Walmart donate their newly-expired items to food banks, since they legally can’t be sold. Always check the dates on fresh food that you pick out from the food bank to stay safe.
6. Apply for SNAP Benefits
If you qualify, this will help single moms save money on food. This tip also applies to single moms who live below the poverty line. With every child you have, the poverty line goes up – in other words, you’d need to make more money to be above the poverty line. Single moms who are raising families below the poverty line can apply for SNAP benefits (food stamps). They’ll want proof of income, proof of home expenses (a copy of your lease, for example), and information from past and present full-time employers (they are legally required to give requested information to the government). Have those documents prepared when you talk to the Department of Social Security!
The Department of Social Security will give you a stipend for food each month that can be spent on eligible items. Your stipend will depend on who lives in your home. Learn more about SNAP benefits here!
7. Save Your Leftovers
Save money on food by saving your leftovers. Store your leftovers to eat later! You’ll have more food in the house, which means you’ll have less to buy on your next food run. This is especially true when you’re buying family size products that offer a better value for more food. Make sure your family eats those leftovers, too!
Keep in mind that while some food heats up well in a microwave, some food needs to be re-heated on a stove. Knowing the difference between what can be microwaved and what can’t be will help you to preserve the same quality you had when your food was fresh.
Don’t throw those leftovers away! There are several creative ways use leftovers to save on your grocery budget.
8. Tally Up Your Total as You Shop
Calculate while you shop to save money on food. Instead of being surprised when you get to the register, calculate your total cost as you shop. Use the calculator on your phone to keep track of how much you’re spending every time you add something to your cart. You may find yourself putting things back if you don’t truly need them, or finding less expensive substitutes. Since it may be hard to calculate tax as you shop, simply round up each item to the nearest dollar for a more accurate number. You may even wind up spending less than you thought you would!
9. Make a Shopping List and Stick to It
Make a list (either on paper or on your phone) of what you need to buy before you head to the food store. This will prevent you from picking up items impulsively, and it’ll ensure that you get everything you need. Go over this list with your kids so they know what you’ll be buying and what you won’t be.
Saving money on your grocery bill can be difficult without direction – after all, we all need to eat. Your wallet doesn’t need to suffer due to making healthy food choices for your family! Download my FREE Printable Meal Plan.
10. Check out Store Sales and Coupons
Saving money on food can be just a click away. If you’ve got a smartphone, you’re basically walking around with a couponing power house in your pocket. Gone are the days when you needed to scour newspapers, magazines and even coupon websites for the best savings on your weekly grocery buys.
Say goodbye to the cutting, clipping, printing, sorting (and losing) of paper coupons with a host of easy-to-use digital tools for savvy shoppers. Today.com has 3 great tips on using your phone to check out your local store sales and digital coupons.
11. Pray Over Your Finances and Grocery Budget
If financial fears dominate your thoughts, be encouraged! Jesus isn’t just the God of our salvation. He’s our Jehovah-Jireh—our provider, guide, and ever-present help, and He longs to lead us into deeper levels of freedom in every area, including our finances. Here are 10 prayers that will transform your finances.
How can I save a lot of money on groceries?
- Crunch some numbers while you shop.
- Get creative with the food you have on hand.
- Start freezing and storing meals now.
- Round up your grocery cost estimates.
- Don’t allow for budget-breaking surprises.
- Stick to a meal plan.
- Don’t buy more than you need.
How much money should I spend on groceries?
According to the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the average expenditure for a low-cost meal plan for a family of four in the United States was $731.20 in late 2017. This is substantially less than the liberal food plan, which came out to $1,093 for a family of four for a month.