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Family Meal Plan Money Saver Tips

Family Meal Plan Money Saver Tips


Many families are always looking for a way to save a few dollars.  Meal Planning can help! 
Having a set plan for dinner can reduce the number of times a family eats dinner out.  Choose a meal plan each week then stick to it!
A meal plan can be set around the current week's grocery ads to optimize a food budget.   If chicken is on sale, add in some extra chicken meals.  Or stock up on what's on sale and freeze it for another week.  The same is true for pantry staples;  if rice or canned vegetables are on sale buy a few extras to use another week when they aren't on sale!
Use coupons!   Would you throw away $5 if it was tucked in your newspaper this week?  You are probably throwing away more than that if you throw away the coupon circulars without clipping a single coupon.  We've all heard the amazing stories of the coupon experts who pay just a few dollars for a shopping cart full of food.   Most people will not do that, but every day families can realistically save $15 - $20 a week with coupons.  Add that savings to the bonus card sales offered at many major grocery chains and you can realize a substantial savings on your weekly grocery bill.  There are many websites offering the ability to print coupons, too.  Clip the coupons, then don't go to the grocery store without them!
Remember to only use the coupons for items that you would normally buy.  It is tempting to purchase an item just because you have a coupon.  If it is not something you need or would normally have purchased, then you have spent money instead of saving it.
Try not to go to the grocery store more than once per week.  Buy everything for your weekly meal plans in one trip.  Many people run to the grocery store for one item and end up making several impulse buys.  Those extra items can increase your grocery expenses considerably.
If possible match your coupons to items on sale that week for added savings!
Use leftovers!  Even if you have a small portion left, it can be added in with something else to enhance another meal.  Our family has a leftover lunch twice a week.  Every leftover is heated up and used during that meal.   We have fun coming up with different sandwich filling and creations to use up the leftovers.
If your store is sold out of a sale item, ask for a rain check.  You will get the item for the sale price the next time it is in stock.
Stick to your shopping list!  Impulse buys can cause a lot of damage to your food budget.
Go to more than one grocery store on shopping day, as long as the stores are close enough not to cost you too much in gasoline.  Buy the super specials (loss leaders) at different stores to stock your pantry and collect ingredients for your week's recipes.
Think you don't have time to clip coupons?  Grab some scissors and clip while you watch TV.  I use that time to also go through cookbooks, plan the week's menu and make a grocery list. 
Always check the cost per serving on different sizes of the same item.  Often times the larger package is a better deal but not always.  Sometimes it is actually cheaper to buy two smaller packages (especially if you have two coupons to use!) than one bigger package.
Take just enough cash to the grocery store to cover your food budget.  Carry a calculator with you and total your purchases as you go through the store.  You will have no choice but to stick to your budget!  Remember to figure in tax so you are not short of cash at the checkout.
Don't shop hungry!  Every snack item and bakery good will seem like a necessity if you shop hungry!



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