(WXIA) -- How much does your family spend per week on groceries?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the average family of four with children between 6 and 10 years old spends about $240 per week. That figure is as of December 2013 and assumes the family is spending moderately. Those on a liberal spending schedule spend as much as $290 a month. Those on a thrifty budget spend about $146.
Here are five easy ways to slash your grocery bill by about $375 per month:
1. Rethink brand loyalty. Many store brands are simply brand names with different packaging. A Consumer Reports survey found 78 percent of consumers were satisfied by store brands, and they saved at least 15 percent. Some store brands are half the price of popular name brands! Assuming a savings of 15 percent, buying store brands could reduce your food bill by $36 per month, bringing it down to $204.
2. Spend 15 minutes a week planning. Go through the sale flyers and plan your menu around the best deals. Need some help? Web sites like I Heart Publix, I Heart Kroger and Southern Savers.com track prices and list the best deals of the week. Shopping the sales can save you at least 25 percent on your grocery bill especially if you buy extra stockpiles for your pantry and freezer. That brings the grocery bill down to $153.
3. Use coupons. Even if you're not an extreme couponer, take a few minutes to look through the Sunday paper or coupons.com for coupons on the items you regularly buy. That'll save you anywhere from 25 to 75 percent more, bringing the monthly grocery bill down to $114.75.
4. Go meatless one or even two days a week. A lot of thrifty families have adopted Meatless Monday, when omelets, veggie chili, canned tuna or other meatless items are served. Those are some of the least expensive sources of protein and cost less than meat. Going meatless once a week will save you at least another ten percent. Now that $204 grocery bill is down to $103.
5. Eliminate waste. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates families throw away between $1300 and $2500 of food each year. Cut your waste in half and you'll save at least $10 per week!
The final tally: $93.75, a savings of 61 percent from the original $240!
To see a list of everything I purchased click here.
To see a list of meal and menu ideas for the grocery shopping list click here.