The best way to Save $5,000 This Year
The best way to Save on Food and Clothes
With a family of seven children, Mary Crotty, 49, feels like she can never save enough. She and her husband, Dan, 49, a bond trader, cut hundreds every month by streamlining their food prices. Eating out has become a thing of yesteryear, and the three instances of sports drinks that she was purchasing weekly have now been replaced with powdered mix or water in the faucet―economy them $50 a week. To cut urge spending, Mary subscribes to Relish!, a service that creates dinner menus and puts together an ingredients list for those meals. She subsequently faxes that list to an area supermarket that offers free delivery.
The typical family spends $3,744 a year on grocery stores. For a big family, this amount could easily triple. Follow these hints to set your food budget on a diet:
Monitor your food budget. At the start of each month, attach an envelope to the fridge. Every time you purchase food, lose the receipt in the envelope. By the end of the month, examine your spending to see where you may make reductions. Plan to spend no more than $125 a week for a family of four, says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, the writer of Zero Debt ($15, amazon.com).
Make a list and stick to it. You’ve learned this before, but it bears repeating: Individuals who avoid impulsive shopping save large, spending up to 23 percent less on market bills, based on research in the University of Pennsylvania. Yearly savings: $861
Join a food co-op. Become a member of a locally owned grocery store in exchange for a share of the bounty. Locate a coop in your area at coopdirectory.org.
Cut your meat. “Any recipe calling for a pound of ground meat can be replaced with 13 to 14 oz,” says Melissa d’Arabian, host of Food Network’s Ten Dollar Dinners With Melissa d’Arabian. Those few dollars of savings accumulate fast.
Purchase more fruits and vegetables. Research from the American Dietetic Association demonstrates when families add more produce for their diets, their waistlines get smaller and their food funds can decrease by 25 percent. Yearly savings: $936
Befriend the supervisors. The people responsible for the produce, meat, dairy, and seafood sections can let you know what time of day food is marked down in order to score the best prices.
Slit your own veggies. Those prepackaged foods will set you back. Choose a minute or two to wash your own greens and cut your own fruit and you’ll slit up to 78 percent off your invoice. Yearly savings: $408
Store brighter. Hit up a local factory outlet for baked goods from Entenmann’s, Arnold, and Boboli at up to 50 percent off. Seek the factory outlet locator at gwbakeries.com for places.
Enroll with couponmom.com. This website supplies a helpful list of what market prices can be found near you, plus a load of printable coupons.
Swap coupons. Become an associate of eCoupon’s Market Coupon Trading Club. Gather a stack of coupons for things you don’t want, then send them to the web site. In return, pick up to 25 that you are doing need.
Take advantages of the rivalry. Many supermarkets will match other retailers’ reductions, but most don’t advertise this. Question a supervisor if your shop has this coverage.
Setting clothes in your back shouldn’t cost $1,800 a year. Here’s how to fill up your cupboard without spending a bundle:
Save up to 15%. Your AAA membership gets you more than roadside assistance. It scores you discounts at retailers like Target.com, New York & Company, and more. See aaa.com for details.
Store the middleman. Brand names have a tendency to go on sale more frequently (and at deeper reductions) at retailers with lots of variety, like department stores, compared with a label’s own shop or web site.
Get secret deals. Several department stores (like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus) now offer publicized, on-line-only rush sales to their email subscribers. Sign up and you’ll receive buddies-and-family promotions, also (typically 25 percent off). Yearly savings: $450
Cash out. Some stores, especially independent ones, will provide you with at least 10 percent off when you pay with cash. Request a supervisor or the owner before paying. Yearly savings: $180