One of the largest expense categories in most budgets is for groceries and dining out. It also may be one of the easiest to control.
Grocery shopping is dreaded by many people but if you take some steps it can be more enjoyable. I will also share ways that you can save money without having to clip coupons.
Stocking Up to Save
Another tip to saving money is stocking up on items you use regularly when they are on sale. Not that you have to buy a bunch but just one or two extra. Sales usually run in 12 week cycles so if you have enough to last until the next time it comes on sale. If you have an extra of items on hand then when you run out you don't have to go pay regular price for it.
If you take a few minutes each week to set up a menu plan can make it easier getting dinner on the table each night. When you know what you are going to make each night you can have everything on hand and get things ready if you need to the night before. This is one way to save you from stopping for take out as much.
When planning your menu it is helpful to be looking at the grocery store fliers to see what is on sale and try to plan around things you have on hand and are on sale.
Once A Month Cooking
Another way to save time and money cooking is Once A Month Cooking (OAMC) or freezer cooking. The idea behind this is to buy enough ingredients and set aside one day to cook enough meals for a month. There are many cookbooks and websites with recipe plans and tips on this. Or if you don’t want to devote an entire day to it, double or triple some recipes and freeze. You can also make a meal item or baked item if you have some spare time or while your current meal is cooking.
Use a Crockpot
Using the crockpot is both a money saving and time saving way to cook. It is nice to come home after a busy day and smell supper ready. Its money saving because it saves you from the possibility of going out to eat or bringing home take out if you don't have time or don't feel like cooking. Also, some cuts of meat, you can use a cheaper cut of meat and it gets tender from cooking all day.
One way people are using to save money is to participate in a Pantry Challenge. They try to go a month by using items in their pantry and freezer. They do buy some groceries, but try to limit trips to the store by using things they have on hand.
I am working on an E-Book with more information on these and other ideas to save on groceries.