Note from Aubrey: From time to time, I like to have Guest Posts about different topics, to give you guys a little variety. The bloggers at Instawares talk about a great variety of subjects involving two topics very near and dear to my heart: food and kitchen equipment! Today, I'm excited to let them give you some great (and creative) tips for saving money on your grocery bill, something I'm definitely trying to do these days.
Saving Money on Your Household Grocery Bill
With the economic outlook still on rocky ground, people are trying to find more ways to cut back on their spending. If you have a family to support, this can present a bigger challenge, especially where your household grocery budget is concerned. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can save a few bucks while still feeding those hungry little mouths.
Grow Your Own Food
If you have a little yard space or a sunny location to set a few pots, you can grow some of your own food during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Veggies like tomatoes, carrots and greens do well both in potted plants or garden beds. They're healthier and more flavorful than anything you'll find in the store, and they cost next to nothing to grow. If your kids don't like to eat their vegetables, home-grown produce may quickly change their minds.
Instead of relying on your regular grocery store for fresh fruit and veggies, check around your area for ethnic grocery stores. These places sell a wide variety of both familiar and exotic produce for a fraction of the price of the big chain stores. Furthermore, this is a great way to foster an appreciation of different foods in your children.
Shop Low-Overhead Stores
Grocery stores with low overhead are able to offer products for much less than their fancier counterparts.
Unfortunately, many people pass these options up because they've been convinced that the product selection is of poor quality. This is simply not the case. Much of the time, the products in these stores are made by well-known manufacturers, they've just been outfitted with the store's branding label. Although you may have to bring your own bags or use one of those quarter-operated carts, the selections are often a fraction of the cost as at other places.
Browse the Discount Bin
In some stores, there is a special place reserved for discontinued, clearanced or slightly damaged goods. Stores mark these items down so that they can still make a profit off of them, but you're the one who truly benefits from the drastically reduced prices. Be aware that these discount bins aren't always easy to find, so if you don't see one at your local store, ask the manager where you can find it. If they don't have one, consider suggesting that they start one.
Use Natural Cleaners
Keeping the house clean is also a significant expense for many people, with most cleaning products costing upwards of $5 per item. When you need a cleaner for every purpose, this can quickly become a huge expense. However, there are many natural and effective products that can be used in their place for pennies on the dollar. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, lemon oil, peroxide and even table salt can be used for almost all cleaning jobs and on any type of surface. If you feel like putting in a little more effort to save money, you can even try making your own laundry detergent. Many recipes can be found online, so try them until you find something you like.
Hit the Farmer's Market
Farmer's markets are popping up all over the place these days, thanks to the growing demand for natural, locally-produced food. Chances are that there's one close to you, so consider taking advantage of it. While you might expect it to be a more expensive way to shop, it's usually the opposite. Because the produce comes straight from the grower, there's no distributor or other middleman to inflate prices in order to turn a profit.
The costs of living can often seem difficult to keep up with. However, by employing a few of the tips above, you can help reduce costs while still keeping your family healthy and happy.
P.S. from Aubrey: NowI really want to try using natural cleaners, and I'm already scheduling a trip to the farmer's market on Saturday morning. Thanks, Instawares for the guest post!