Thursday, September 17, 2009
Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Trying to skim a little here and there off your grocery bill can really help out in other areas that you need money for. The Holidays are fast approaching and from now until Christmas money seems to be needed everywhere. So, I just thought I would list a few things that I do to stretch my grocery bill. I'm sure a lot of these are pretty standard with many of you but, maybe you can get a tip or two.
I probably don't even have to say this but, I will LOL. I am a major user of coupons. So, of course coupons are my first defense to cutting back on spending.
** make out your menu for the week by seeing what stuff you already have and what items are on sale that week. Match up coupons to get more savings. Never just sit down and come up with a menu and then shop for the needed items. It just doesn't make good money sense.
** When you hit the grocery store, do a perimeter check first before hitting the aisles. The produce, breads, meats and dairy areas is where most of the "reduced for quick sale" items are.
** Buy reduced items. Freeze what you don't need right away. That includes cheese, butter and milk.
**Veggies and fruits that are marked down, freeze them as well. If you see bananas at a super cheap price but, they are overripe, throw them in the freezer as soon as you get home. No need to peel them. These are great for baked goods or smoothies. Do he same with vegetables. If you have a little bit of time, throw the vegetables into a soup pot with lots of herbs or seasonings and water and slowly let cook on the back burner to create your own vegetable stock. Just drain when the flavor is rich and condensed.
**Don't be afraid of buying cheap cuts of meat. This is when a slow cooker becomes your best friend. Cheap cuts should be cooked slowly and they will come out tender. Also, another great method of tenderizing cheap cuts of meat is let them marinate in wine, fruit juices or even some vinegar. Add lots of herbs and spices to the mix, throw in a sealable bag and let stand overnight in the fridge.
** Don't buy ready made foods. The exception (in my humble opinion is if you get it on sale with a great coupon and the price is mega cheap!).
** Think outside of the box. For cheap cuts of pork, I love to cook it in juice from pineapple, peaches, apricots or pears. Also, add the same jams to the pork. Pork cooked in peach juice with some peach jam and spices is one of the yummiest pork meals!
** Start checking out other countries recipes. Most countries don't eat nearly as much meat as we do in the USA. Start having an "International Dinner night" with recipes with little to no meat in them.
**Don't buy non-food items at the grocery store. They are generally a lot higher priced.
** Buy fruit concentrate instead of juice already bottled up. Why pay for the water? once again, if you can get them almost free, that is when I will buy bottled juice.
** Don't buy flavored rice or noodle mixes. These are way to easy to make yourself. I posted some examples HERE.
**Check out outlet bakeries for cheap bread products to freeze and use later.
** Don't buy premade seasoning packets. What you are buying is primarily salt.
** If you buy a bag of fruit or vegetables, weight it to make sure you are getting the amount that is sated on the package. This was a real shock to me the first time I came across a bag of "3 lbs" of apples and when I weighed it it was 3/4 of a pound less that the 3 lbs I was supposed to be buying!
** Is popcorn one of your family's favorite snacks? Go to the thrift store and buy a cheap popcorn popper or use a pan on the stove. Stop buying the microwave packages. make your own caramel corn. Try this recipe.
**Same thing as above..love ice cream, find a cheap ice cream maker. Not only is it going to cost less in the long run but, when you make it yourself you are using "real foods" instead of buying all the extra chemicals added to most ice cream.
**Eat & buy what is in season. Freeze or can as much as you can afford to get.
** Buy locally grown produce whenever you can.
** Comparison shop. Don't just check you "usual" store to see whats on sale. You to see if your "usual" store price matches.
** Don't buy those individual portions of things. First of all, that's a lot of waste in packaging. But, it is also very expensive. Example: jello cups, individual fruit cups, pudding cups, "100 calorie pouches". The list goes on.
** also, like above, think about all the water you are buying. I'm not talking about bottles of water. I mean the premade things you buy that contain mostly water and generally a lot of salt or sugar. And water, salt and sugar are relatively cheap but, not when someone else makes something for you!
** Try to make one extra meal when you are cooking. Freeze it for a rushed day.
** Try to cook or bake something everyday. It helps you get into a rhythm of cooking.
**Always carry a calculator and notepad with you.
** make a Price Book. This will take time to build up. don't think you have to do it all at once.
** If you figure out that buying something in bulk is a very good deal but, you can afford or don't want all of it, find a friend that would like to get this discount and each go in half.
**You can do the same thing as above when there are "Buy one get one free" deals. go in half with a friend.
** Avoid even going into aisles at the store if there isn't anything on your list in that aisle. This is a major part of "suggestive selling". The grocery store is "talking" you into buying a product you don't need.
** When in the grocery aisle, look down. That is generally where the cheapest versions of what you need are.
** if you have leftovers, either freeze them right away (label first!) or make a "leftover fridge list". Whenever you put a bowl of some leftover into the fridge, write it down on your leftover list so you know it is there and can plan a meal with it. Otherwise leftovers have secret powers that allow them to quickly become hidden in the fridge!
** Use up leftovers. Here is a post I wrote awhile back about using up leftovers. And here is a post about freezing some leftovers
** And the 2 most important tips? Shop ALONE and don't shop HUNGRY!
I hope you found something that maybe you could try and decrease your grocery budget a little! Now see some other blogs for more food for thought:
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things of Life
Family Friday at Home Ever After
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