Reduce the grocery bill with these simple tips

Keep to a budget by focusing on how much is being spent on food. Courtesy photo

TEMECULA – Expenses for the average household can pile up quickly. One of the easiest ways to keep a budget in check is to focus on how much is being spent on food. Chances are grocery bills can be reduced dramatically without upsetting daily routines.

A 2012 Gallup Poll found the average American family spends $151 a week on food. Cutting food costs often involves making smart choices. The following are some tips to help get started on the path to decreased food spending.

Make more meals at home. Although there are plenty of budget-friendly options at area restaurants, the average price for one meal enjoyed in a restaurant is still much more than the cost of cooking the same meal at home. Incorporate more home cooking into the mix and save.

Shop for sales. Rather than planning meals on a whim, let sales guide what the family eats each week.

Go mostly vegetarian. Meat tends to be more expensive than produce and grains. As a result, vegetarian-inspired meals provide an easy way for shoppers to trim their grocery bills.

Reduce ready-made options. Convenience costs money, so anything that is premade, prepackaged or already sliced and diced is bound to cost more per unit than the same items that have not been prepared.

Use a list. The experts at the financial site The Simple Dollar said that making a list of items needed before setting foot in the store is a great way to stop impulse buys that can foil a budget. Only purchase the items that are on the shopping list.

Consider a discount grocer. Many people get hung up on brand names. But remember, the advertising costs for making those names known in households are passed on to consumers. Discount grocers like Fareway, Aldi, Price Rite and Lidl, for example, have many high-quality comparable goods at a fraction of brand-name prices. Plus, shopping these grocers’ sale items helps shoppers save even more.

Use leftovers. Don’t be wasteful with food. Practice portion control so the family is not wasting food and consume leftovers before they spoil.

Reducing grocery bills is a great and simple way to save money.