The easiest way to drastically reduce your grocery bill is to avoid the cleaning and non- food aisles. When I think about the layout of my local supermarket I could easily spend one third of my budget on cleaning and 'lifestyle' products before I even get to the food section. As I stroll down the aisles I first come across the pet food then toilet papers and glad wrap, foil , plastic bags etc. When I think of alternatives I can use my plastic containers instead of plastic wrap and foil and also use them to replace those sealable bags. I am not ready for the 'cloth wipe' era that seems to be sweeping the green bloggers in the US, so yes I will put toilet paper in my trolley.
In the next aisle I see batteries, fly sprays, cockroach baits, toilet cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, carpet cleaners, stain removers, washing powders, ironing spray and cleaning cloths . Hmmmmm I think to myself - if I use rechargeable batteries, keep the doors closed and use a fly swatter, use my Grandmother's recipe for getting rid of cockroaches, clean the bathroom with bi carb and vinegar, use my Enjo and home made cleaning cloth, and spray my ironing with a fine mist of water - I will never have to go down that aisle again.
I think to myself, if it wasn't for advertising, I wouldn't even realise that I NEEDED these products.
My point is this, a lot of what you buy at the grocery store you don't really NEED. You could spend $40 or more without having a thing to eat in your trolley. If you are trying to reduce expenditure, then prioritise your list and shop in order of importance. Start with essential food items like your staples and fruit and veg and forget the non food items (except the TP of course!)
I saw an ironing aide spray for $4.67 this week. Considering that I made a lasagne yesterday from scratch that fed us last night and tonight plus enough for lunches as well for about this price, I can't really justify the cost of the product for that cost.
I went through my master grocery list and wrote an alternative to most things on the list. It was really quite easy once I put my 1940s hat on. There are now so many aisles in the supermarket that you don't need to venture down.
The choice is always yours of course to spend what you like, but if you are having trouble coping with increasing prices, try the concept of shopping in order of importance or going without the cleaning and lifestyle products and see if it makes much difference to your bill. It has really changed ours! Let me know how you go!