It seems like every week the grocery store is increasing its prices on fruit, vegetables, meat and condiments. This makes it look like that it would be extremely difficult for a family of four to feed the entire household on less than $400 per month.
The quintessential question that a low- to middle-income class family must ask is: can it be done? Living off of approximately $100 worth of groceries each week can certainly be done, but it takes planning, at least a novice skill in cooking and the will to overcome obstacles, such as no cookies for one week, no red meat for another and no soda pop for another week.
How can a family live off of $100 per week? Here are some tips and tricks for the average American and Canadian families.
Sit down with the entire family, look through your past grocery bills and highlight the important grocery items, like bread, vegetables and chicken, and scratch off the unimportant ones, such as chips, coke and pasta in a can (a ranking system can suffice).
Making a grocery list is absolutely crucial for every single person that does his or her own grocery shopping. This ensures that a person is sticking to a budget, a list of must-have food and beverage items and not going overboard. Again, make a weekly list with the family to see what everyone wants and if they have any ideas.
If a family wants to stand by the list and budget, they must plan a menu for the upcoming week. Having set meals for each day will allow families to get the right ingredients and not improvise the day of, which will then force the cook to purchase extra items at an added cost or make something else entirely different and compromise the entire plan.
Everyone needs a snack, but instead of buying a bag of chips on the list, consider purchasing a bag of carrots, apples and other produce that’s light and affordable. Remember, a bag of baby carrots is cheaper than a large bag of chips and even more filling.
Cheaper grocery stores
Why pay more for the same item that a different grocery store is selling for less? It doesn’t make any sense, and this is the standard mistake that most people make. Just because it’s more expensive that doesn’t mean it’s better in quality. A box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes will be the same anywhere a customer goes.
Convenience equals more
One word when it comes to convenience stores: avoid. Never, under any circumstances, shop at these places because it’s just way too expensive for the average person.
Generally, shoppers like to go for the brand names of meat, oatmeal, fibre bars and beverages. If a consumer compares a bottle of Coca Cola and a bottle of generic brand, there won’t be any difference except in price. In most cases, always opt for the generic brands, whether it is tomato sauce, noodles, bread and other grocery items.
Grocery stores always have major sales. Stores up here in Canada have dollar sales where much of its items are on sale for $1, $2 or $3. If a certain product is guaranteed to be used within a day or two, be sure to stock up on the product when it is on sale.
Let’s face it. Meat is quite expensive nowadays, especially when it comes to the healthier meats, like chicken and turkey. The best way to save money on meat, other than avoiding it entirely, is to divide it in half or in quarters. For example, one chicken breast can be cut into half, while grounded chicken can be divided into four quarters – a meal can be composed of more vegetables than meat.
For some reason, a lot of people tend to think cutting coupons, going on a website or using the certificates in a grocery store is beneath them. Forget that. If a company is willing to give something for free or at a discounted price go for it. It will save you money in the end.
Bring leftovers to work or school
What’s the point in spending $5 on a sandwich to go when a person could have brought food from home? It is tempting to purchase that delicious meatball sub from Subway or buying that tasty French Vanilla from Tim Horton’s, but it’s a waste of a few bucks when it could’ve been saved.