Q.) What does the average family of four spend on food in a year?
A.) The average family of four spends roughly $235 a week at the supermarket.
Supermarket spending isn’t just a grocery budget, it is an investment. It is in fact probably the largest investment you make in any year. It is equivalent to purchasing a car annually for cash! Scary. We tend to think of our supermarket shopping as a few dollars here and a few dollars there. Stop and think about how much you actually spend. Did you ever save all of your cash register tapes for 30 days? Put all of your register tapes from your supermarket shopping, when you run out to “pick up a gallon of milk”-and come back with $32 worth of other “necessities” and tally up your expenditures for the 30 days. You might be shocked. Get a great budget-friendly recipe for Biscuit Bacon Chicken Casserole here.
So what’s a shopper to do? There are hundreds of ways you can live better for less starting at the grocery store. Start by doing a little budget CSI and determine how much you are actually spending. Next set a goal for how much you are going to lower that bill by next month. Start slow and put just one or two money saving techniques in place. Putting yourself on a budget is like trying to quit smoking-old habits die hard. This 8-Pepper Chili is another terrific budget-friendly recipe.
Food costs increased 10% in 2009! Coupons provide a great instant savings at the checkout, but don’t forget to use your other money saving arsenal! Comparison shop. Plan to use your coupons, but do not overlook comparison shopping right in the store. Sometimes a less expensive item may be cheaper without the coupon OR you may run into unadvertised specials that you should stock up on if they are buy one get one free or available at a really excellent loss leader price. Compare price, size, ingredients, available promotions, quality and any other issue that is important to you and your family! Remember, due to increased supermarket costs you will have to work 10% harder in 2010 to retain your 2009 food budget. How to compete? Just RESOLVE to beat your 2009 budget! (Keep track of what you spend week to week). Spend less on meals when you prepare things like this tasty Creamy Potato Tuna Casserole.
You can earmark specific savings as well as the broad savings you achieve on your weekly shopping trip. For example, if I am making a recipe that doesn’t require special ingredients, like a pot of chili, I use generics or store brands for the canned items like the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans etc. Don’t sacrifice quality or taste for price, but store brands can save you 10 – 20% if you can use them. To learn more ways to save and to download your free e-copy of The Coupon Encyclopedia, click here.
— Jan Leasure, $uper $aver