How to Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half

Your food bill is a variable expense; you can cut your grocery expenses in half and continue to eat well. A change in grocery-shopping habits reforms your eating habits. Healthy foods are often cheaper than unhealthy foods. If you are the family shopper, you hold the future health and wealth for your entire family. One in seven Americans received food stamps or supplemental nutrition assistance in the first half of 2011, the largest number ever to do so, CNN Money reported. Whatever your status in life, you can benefit from cutting your grocery bill in half.

Things You'll Need
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Create a master list of the foods you need for the meals you cook most often. A master list saves you hours of shopping and assures that you have the items needed to make the dishes your family prefers. Build your master list over a period of weeks by adding ingredients to the list when you cook. Your master list should include the cuts and kinds of meat you eat; the fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits you use; and all the basics such as sugar, flour, pasta, rice, milk, bread, spices, coffee and tea.

Read the local grocery advertisements before you shop. Plan your meals using the foods that are on sale. Purchase extra sale items for future weeks. Plan meals with chicken every week, as it is often inexpensive or on sale.


Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season and on sale. Purchase fruits and vegetables that last. Apples and oranges keep for weeks in the refrigerator. Buy potatoes. This vegetable keeps in the refrigerator and when properly prepared, it is nutritious.

Save money on drinks. Cold drinks, juice and water are a large part of the food bill. Filter your tap water if you need and buy a powdered sugarless drink mix for flavoring. These mixes are often 10 or 12 for $1 at time of publication. Use a sprinkle in a glass of water and a package lasts all week. Fresh lemon added to water is refreshing and much less expensive than sugared drinks, juice or cola.

Eat leftovers. Leftover roast makes sandwiches or soup the next day. Make casseroles to use leftover rice and vegetables. Remove leftover fried chicken from the bone and make a wild rice casserole.

Cut the number of your shopping trips in half. If you shop once a week, start shopping every two weeks. If you shop every two weeks, shop once a month. Once you have pantry and freezer items stocked, you can easily shop once a month for the majority of the items you buy. You will find that the products you run out of first are the ones you don't need -- cookies and chips in many households.

Skip the "stuff" and the convenience foods. You don't need salad mixes, meat helpers, canned spaghetti products, prepared packages and individual servings. Also, skip the pots and pans aisle, the pharmaceutical items and maybe the paper products. Find the best prices on paper towels, luncheon napkins and toilet tissue in your local newspaper. These items are not often a bargain at the grocery store.

Tips & Warnings
Look high and low at the store. Grocers shelve less expensive items at the top or bottom; the eye-level items are usually most expensive.

Luncheon meats are deceiving in 6 or 12 oz. packages. Lunchmeat or crackers and meat packets are some of the most expensive products on the market. Compare the price per pound with the price of a pound of ham and a box of crackers.