Sunday, March 14, 2010

Set Your Grocery Budget

County Market knows that families all over the midwest are concerned about making ends meet. That's why they are stepping up their coupon program and helping customers learn more about saving at their stores. Setting and sticking to your budget is one way to keep your expenditures in line. Most families have some idea what their monthly or weekly household budget looks like overall. Usually they start with their income and spend until the money runs out. When times are tight, people start looking to cut items back. The only problem is that a lot of people think setting a budget, or cutting expenses means doing without. It doesn't.

Let's not give anything up! Keep your lifestyles the same. Maybe we can even add more to your shopping cart when we're finished reworking your actual budget. Let County Market help you to put more groceries in your cart, and keep more money in your wallet.

In order to set your grocery budget, you first have to look at the overall household. Let's be realistic. Let's not hope to not run out of toilet paper every three months, when we know we have to buy it every two months! Most families break down their monthly income with four simple categories.

First, the mortgage or rent payment is in a category by itself. It’s usually the largest one expense that is paid each month. Second, is the household consumables sector, and is second largest. This is where all expenses associated with the people living in the home incur. Groceries are included in this sector. Some other things in this sector include prescriptions, pharmacy items, personal hygiene products, and pet supplies. Third is the household non consumables, including insurance, repairs to the home, furniture, appliances and items that are necessary but not consumed. The fourth includes the discretionary spending, those items that are completely discretionary like satellite TV, entertainment, travel, and dining out. Finally, what most families handle last is savings.

The two categories that are easiest to cut in tough times are the household consumables, and the discretionary spending sectors. The only way to cut is to know what you should be spending in the first place.

This is where our budget comes in. Most homes spend $50 per week per person in the home. This budget includes $35 on food and groceries, $15 on pharmacy or personal items. A family of four would spend $200 per week, or $800 on the average month on both groceries, and consumables inside the home. Does that seem high? If it does, pull out your debit card statement, your checkbook, and receipts. Be sure to look at all the times you spent money on consumables. It may shock you to realize how much you were spending.

Let's shop smarter. You can start by using manufacturer coupons and store issued food coupons. This usually saves 20-35% on each item you redeem a coupon. You can also only buy sale priced items when you are at the store. Typically stores mark 50-75 products down each week to entice shoppers into the store. We're lucky because County Market marks down over 100!

If we buy items that County Market puts on sale, and we use a manufacturer's coupon, we can save 50%. This is called Price Matching, or Coupon Matching. We have a new program where I am going to find all the coupons I can for you each week across the web, so you can simply print and save. Even better, we're going to let you sign up to have the email list of sale items and Coupon Matches delivered to your in box each week.

There is no reason to give up the best juices, or skim in the meat department. Simply, save the money on products that are on sale and match up your coupons to "Find" the money to save your budget.