SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) The choices we make at the grocery store can either break or build our budget.
The USDA found Americans spend an average of 11 percent of our overall income on food. For a family bringing home $3,000 per month, most budget $330.
However, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor Amanda Christensen advises families to spend $75 per person per month.
“People are spending a lot because their lives are hectic and they don’t take time to sit down and talk as a family,” Christensen said.
Tried and true advice to save money isn’t a secret but often ignored Christensen said.
“People want the new trick, ‘what’s something I’ve never heard before.’ In reality, what people need is a plan and the gumption and where-with-all to stick to that plan,” Christensen said.
Before even starting a grocery budget, Christensen advises families to track their food purchases for a month first. That information becomes the baseline for families to decide unnecessary expenses by planning meals in advance.
Experts advise it’s best to go shopping alone without children, calm, on a full stomach and with plenty of time to shop.
Mobile technology is making it easier to save at checkout. Many stores such as Smith’s offer apps and digital coupons to save time and money.
“If you really pay attention to what you’re buying and there are so many things you can save two to three times on,” Smith’s store manager Nate Valdez said.
- Prepare foods from scratch instead of buying more expensive pre-packaged meals. They’ll be healthier, too.
- Buy produce in season.
- Try out less-expensive brands.
- Avoid convenience stores and consider using cash if you have trouble sticking to a budget.
- Pay attention to unit pricing. Economy sizes aren’t always a bargain.
“A look at package size is a lot of where you’ll save,” Valdez said.
In the end, if you’re not going to eat it, it doesn’t matter how great of a deal you got, you’re still wasting money.
More stretching your dollar advice from Utah State University can be found here.