INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — When you're talking money, here's a simple fact: Groceries take the biggest bite out of a family's household budget after rent or mortgage.
For just one person, food can cost $250 per month which means knowing what to buy and what to avoid can steer you toward savings. The first tip is trying to save money on fruits and vegetables because the pre-cut fruits and veggies cost more, so pick a night for cutting up what you'll need for that week.
“It's fairly simple if you plan ahead. Keep what you cut up in small containers, throw them in a zip-lock bag that you can even throw in your freezer, this way you have it ready to go and ready to cook while saving money,” said Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert.
“Considering the fruits and vegetables are frozen at peak ripeness, you still are getting all those amazing nutrients, sometimes they are even better than the fresh options,” said Woroch.
Another way to save money is to stick with in-season fruits and vegetables because getting the produce here from another part of the world can cost you a pretty penny and you can also go frozen, which can save you 30%.
Bagged produce, like a bag of apples is cheaper and you generally get more for your money than buying an individual piece of fruit and one of the biggest money savers is when you are dealing with name brands. They are often double the price of store brands and we have two examples from the people at Kroger concerning two staples for many, coffee and cereal.
“This is a great example right here on the shelf, you’ve got the national brand Rice Chex for $3.69. If you go to the Kroger brand, it’s only $1.49, so you’re saving more than $2. And now let’s talk about coffee because there is the $8.99 Folgers brand versus the Kroger brand which is less than half the price at $4.29.
"Also make sure you pay attention to the number of cups in the box because in some cases, you’ll spend more and get a couple cups less,” said Eric Halvorson, Kroger Spokesperson.
To save daily, look for coupons, and stack them onto of sales because you could end up with 70% savings on much of what you buy. One of the biggest money savers has to do with the meat you buy because any prepared meats that have been pre-cut, chopped, cleaned or marinated are going to cost you up to 60% more.
To save, buy in bigger slabs, cutting and marinating the meat yourself in olive oil, lemon and your choice of spices and to save upwards of 50%, look for manager mark downs because it’s produce that’s still good but heavily discounted.
“Here at Kroger, the items are still great and the nutrition is still there along with the flavor, so if you go over and pick up the produce in the red bags, then you’re getting a great deal on great nutrition,” said Halvorson.
Another big budget buster is paying for pharmaceuticals, but there are ways to save, including signing up with a store where you shop.
“So the Kroger RX Savers Club has a membership fee for 36 dollars for an individual, and $72 for a family of up to 6 people and that includes pets and it includes big savings on more than 100 common generic medications. You also get great preferred pricing here at Kroger Pharmacies and some of the drugs are even free with the membership,” said Nick Madison, Kroger pharmacy manager.
One final way to save is on bottled water which is anything but free as the markup can be 4,000%! Some taste tests show there’s little difference between bottled water and quality tap water, so you can also try filtered water from your refrigerator to save a bundle and if you must buy bottles of water, buy in bulk from your grocery story or from a membership place like Sam’s Club or Costco.