Has grocery shopping been leaving you with sticker shock lately?
You're not imagining things - food prices are creeping upward thanks to a variety of factors, from higher oil prices to rotten weather. To make matters worse, most Americans are still reeling from the recession and dealing with debt. Today's rising food and gas prices can feel like the last straw. But while we can't exactly cut food out of our budget, we can lower costs, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.
Grocery stores set prices, but consumers can still decide what - and how - buy. Making a shopping list and using coupons really does work. Maybe you've heard the spiel before, but have been too busy to put in the effort. Consider today's prices as an excuse to finally give it a try - your finances will thank you.
Think you don't have the time? Clipping coupons doesn't mean sitting down with the newspaper and scissors like it did in Grandma's day. Today, chain grocery stores will often send coupons right to your e-mail - simply click and print. Most stores also offer club cards. And sites like TheKrazyCouponLady.com find steals and deals targeted at 20- and 30-somethings.
But remember, the idea isn't just to buy things that are on sale - it's to buy things you need that are on sale. That means searching specifically for coupons for staples like cereal, bread and milk, and planning meals around things that are on sale - for instance, spaghetti when there's a pasta sauce special and blueberry pancakes when blueberries are half-off.
But coupons are just half the battle. The other half? Not falling victim to your supermarket's marketing plan. All those tempting end-of-aisle displays are there for a reason - and despite what the signs say, it's not to save you money. Stores know that by enticing you to toss uplanned items into your cart, they'll ratchet up your receipt total. By sticking to that list you prepared with this week's sales and coupons, you'll avoid temptation - and busting your budget.
Saving money is a combination of effort and know-how. And that doesn't just apply to the grocery store. If you're knee-deep in debt, your situation isn't going to better until you start paying down your balance. But if you're doing your best to get out of debt and it just isn't working, maybe it's time to get the help of a professional. At DebtStoppers, our professional Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys can help craft a plan for you to lower or eliminate debt. So you'll be better able to deal with rising prices and whatever else life throws your way. Want to learn more? It's free with our one-on-one debt analysis.