A dollar just doesn’t go very far these days. Prices seem to just keep going up and many struggle to afford the higher cost of living each month. One big expense in a family’s budget is usually spent for grocery shopping. If you find yourself running back and forth to the store each week or even every few days to restock your food supplies it can really take a toll on your wallet. Using a few of the following tips and cutting the bulk of your grocery shopping down to a once a month trip can save money and hassle.

Step one – Plan a menu. Decide what you will eat for the next month. This will help you get a clearer idea of what you will need to buy on your shopping trip and you can make money saving choices when planning your meals.

Step two- Make a list! Sit down each month and write down everything that you will need. If you planned a menu this will be pretty easy.

Step three – Be prepared. Shopping once a month requires being a little prepared. Keep a cooler or freezer bags in your vehicle so your food won’t spoil as you go to different stores. You can bring along a half gallon plastic jug with frozen water to keep your items cold while you shop.

Step four – Shop around. Visiting several different supermarkets on your once a month designated shopping day can save you money if you compare prices and go after the best bargains.Having a detailed list on hand and doing little research as to what is on sale you’ll walk away with more money in your pocket.

Step five – Keep a running total. Bring a calculator or keep an approximate dollar amount in your head as to what is in your cart. If you start going over you budget put something back!

Step six – Don’t buy brand name. Many products are just as good if you try the cheaper version. Especially with common items like milk, eggs, rice, oats, etc.
If you like a brand name peanut butter buy it but try the cheaper route on other things.

Step seven – Avoid impulse buying. Buying only what is on your list will avoid surprises when you check out your groceries.

Following these steps and adding some of your own like clipping coupons can save you money each month.