grocery shoppingAre you one of those people who spend entirely too much money on groceries every month? You are not alone, as this is a big problem for many people all over the country. Everybody needs to eat, however, though you certainly don't want to spend so much that you blow through your budget and put your finances at risk.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to spend less money on groceries without really seeing much of a change on what you have stocked in your refrigerator? This may sound difficult, but the challenge is not nearly as daunting as it appears.

Here are three easy tips that can save you a bundle of money every month:

1. Shop at Budget Stores
Rather than opting for regular supermarkets, seek out those that are known for offering budget prices - some of the most popular options include Aldi and Bottom Dollar Food. You don't have to shop solely at these stores, but you can supplement your grocery shopping by picking up a number of items at a greatly reduced price. Believe it or not, many of these stores have the same brands that you have grown accustomed to.

Does this mean that you need to make an extra stop every time you go grocery shopping? It's likely. However, the money that you can save is well worth the effort.

2. Use Coupons
In the past, there was a perfectly viable excuse for not clipping coupons: You had to purchase a newspaper in order to find them and realize the savings. But nowadays, this is no longer the case.

With the help of the Internet, you can search for and print coupons for just about anything. From food, to personal hygiene items, to pet supplies, and much more, there are endless supplies of coupons online, available for the taking.

Don't be shy about printing out as many coupons as you can find. You may not use each and every one on your next shopping trip, but it's nice to have many options at your disposal. Just remember, most coupons have expiration dates, so be sure to use them on time.

3. Shop With a Full Stomach
I never thought this would help me save money until I tried it - and now, I never head to the grocery store on an empty stomach. When I am full, there is a less of a chance that I will make impulse purchases for items I don't need. When I am hungry, anything that looks good ends up in the cart.

Give this a try. You may find that it is the best way to spend less money on groceries.

Final Thoughts
Some people ignore the fact that they overspend on groceries, solely because they consider groceries to be an absolute necessity. While this may be true, this doesn't mean you can't save money. There a number of ways to spend less at the supermarket without sacrificing the quality of food you bring home. Having a few extra dollars in your bank account at the end of the month makes it well worth the effort.

What other ways can you suggest to save money on groceries?

One of the biggest obstacles people face when trying to solve their personal debts is understanding that being frugal doesn't necessarily have to be a lifelong strategy. If you've got a hefty credit card debt that you need to eliminate, you may only have to resort to clipping coupons, turning down the heat an A/C, and eliminating most entertainment expenditures until your debt is gone.

Once you've wiped out your debt, can return to your old ways - if you choose to do so. However, this can be a dangerous maneuver, as it could very well lead to you back into debt.

Though you can relax slightly when you escape debt, there are many great reasons to continue living a smart, frugal lifestyle.

1. Retirement
The most important reason to continue on with your frugal ways is to maximize your retirement investments. The future of Social Security is uncertain, which makes it that much more difficult to determine how much you'll really need for your golden years.

If you've just solved all your debt woes, I suggest setting aside the money that used to go to credit card interest in a diversified retirement portfolio. Once that's up and running, then you can possibly relax and spend a little more freely.

2. Emergencies
During my struggles to escape nearly $40,000 in credit card debt, the last thing on my mind was establishing an emergency fund. In fact, I never thought I'd be able to set up such a thing, and you may feel the same.

However, you can set up an emergency fund - and you should. While the amount of the fund will depend on your ability, most experts suggest having at least three month's worth of living expenses set aside.

3. More Spending Options
When I was in debt, I had to critically analyze every single item on which I wanted to spend money. Now that my debts are long gone, and I continue to live frugally, I have all the expendable cash that I need. This makes it much easier to budget for large purchases, like a refrigerator or stove, and it's also less stressful when I want to make a purchase for pleasure, such as a new laptop or flat-screen TV.

4. The Future
Another reason to remain frugal is that it will make your future easier to manage, no matter what comes your way. You never know what's in store for you, whether it be marriage, having kids, paying for college, travel, or even divorce. You'll need funds to finance both planned and unforeseen life events efficiently, and having the ability to do so without going into debt is the key to a balanced, healthy financial life.

Final Thoughts

Once I solved all of my personal debts, I really had no desire to go back to my old ways of spending and not saving. Living a frugal life is quite easy, and once you form positive habits, you should have no problem maintaining them.

Living frugally offers much peace of mind that it offers. Personally, I know that I'm on track for a comfortable retirement. I have a sufficient emergency fund if I need it, and I pay my bills on time and in full every month. Although I am not 100% stress-free regarding my finances, I certainly don't have the daily trials and tribulations that I experienced when I was buried in debt. This financial strength has given me an increased level of confidence - I'll be able to face nearly any expense that comes my way, and I'll be able to do it without falling back into debt.

What are your thoughts on living frugally?

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying.."I will try again tomorrow."
~Mary Anne Radmacher

I’ve been looking forward to this day and dreading this day.

I look forward to today because I realize that I have finally feel that I know how to ride my figurative bike without training wheels. When I first started Frugal for Life, back in 2004, there were only a handful of frugal living sites and about the same amount of personal finance sites. There wasn’t much online in layperson information for someone wanting to live on less and make the most of their dollar - I made a site that I wanted to read to fill the void I couldn’t find.

Putting together the site was a learning experience from learning HTML coding and how to make some money from advertising to learning about what frugal living means to me and what I find of value through that process.

Over the last 6 plus years I have learned quite a lot from the other personal finance and frugal living sites that have sprouted up along the internet highway. I have been challenged by readers to question what I find of value, ethical dilemmas and been wonderfully supported along this frugal journey. It’s the readers I am most grateful for really, your opinion counted and I read each comment!

The reason I have dreaded this day is because I’m not the type of person to give long goodbyes. I usually just keep it short and figure I will see you around again later.

However, it is my time to say move on to other concerns. You might say I have a short attention span or that frugal living will never not be a concern for me; and you would be correct. Like I said above, I’ve come to a place where I no longer need the training wheels of the site to assist me on my journey and now it is time to move on down the road and venture into other areas of my life that need more attention.

There are five ideas that I will always keep in the back of my mind that I feel are at the heart of frugal living.

  1. Buy Quality - Get the most for your dollar and the most out of your dollar. Make it last and use it multiple ways.
  2. Do Research - Read labels, test results, consumer opinion and when I can, keep it simple.
  3. Time = Money - What amount of time at work am I putting in to buy or keep this item. Is the money saved worth the time invested.
  4. Defer Gratification - Use the 24 hour decision window, pop open my creative eye for alternatives to purchases
  5. Live Less - Live under my salary, not at my salary.
Now I know what to do in most situations, it has become second nature, I am living the life that I write about and it isn’t anything much to write home about. At the very least nothing that 6 people aren’t already writing about in their own unique ways.

Speaking of what other people write, I’ll still pop up every now and again in the comments to speak my mind on something. So we will probably see each other around the personal finance and frugal blogosphere. I even gave one final interview over at in their Best of the Best Blogger series.

Goodbye and see ya around!
flickr/cc- Klearchos Kapoutsis 

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you
Until we meet again!
~Author Unknown