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2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard Magazine

2018-19 Magazine

2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard. Magazine

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I tend to be a little short on funds before I get my paycheck, so grocery shopping is a little challenging during those times. Do you have any tips?

When money is tight, watching how you spend every penny is important. Grocery shopping on a limited budget can seem like an overwhelming task and cause stress.

When money is tight, watching how you spend every penny is important. Grocery shopping on a limited budget can seem like an overwhelming task and cause stress. Making some small changes can make a big difference:

  • Take an inventory - Check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. You may have enough food in your house to make a few meals, food items you can make into other meals or items that only need a few more ingredients to make a meal.
  • Plan meals - After you know what you have, you can make a plan. Check local ads to plan meals around items on sale. The protein of a meal is typically the most expensive, so checking those prices can help save money, or make a meatless meal.
  • Make a list - Write out everything you need before heading to the store. Stick to your list, but be flexible. You may decide to purchase a generic brand of an item that is on your list to save a little more money. Make sure to get everything on your list; the fewer trips you make to the store, the better because you won’t be tempted to make impulse purchases.
  • Head to a dollar store - Dollar stores stock many food items at much lower prices than grocery or discount stores. You probably won’t be able to buy everything on your list, but you may be able to get some items.
  • Plan snack foods - Grabbing a few extras because you didn’t plan for snacks can add up fast. Buy items to make your own grab-and-go snacks. For example, buy a box of crackers and jar of peanut butter to make your own sandwich cracker packs.
  • Use coupons - Every little bit helps. But don’t buy something just because you have a coupon. If you don’t end up using what you buy, you’re wasting money.
  • Sign up for loyalty rewards - Some stores may offer discounts or money back on purchases. You may not receive the benefits immediately, but you may be able to stretch your dollars in the future.
  • Check for rebates - Again, you may not get immediate benefits, but rebates are a great way to get a little extra money for the future. As with coupons, only buy items if you will use them.

 

Carrie Johnson, Assistant Professor and Extension Personal and Family Finance Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

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