Fridays are tip days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Everyone I know is looking for ways to cut back expenses. Here are 12 ways I use to cut grocery costs.
- Buy produce in season. Seasonal fruits and veggies will be cheaper than out of season. It’s the law of supply and demand applied to the grocery! Local food is often less expensive than produce shipped in from across the country. If you have a garden, your produce is guaranteed to be in season and locally produced.
- Buy other items in sale season.Seasonal items are not just fresh foods, though. Pumpkin and turkeys go on sale in November. Baking supplies in December. Hams in spring. Know when you can get the best deals and stock up on non-perishables.
- Stretch your meat with fillers. Many meat dishes can be stretched with various fillers. I love to include mashed black beans with hamburger – it gives added fiber and doesn’t set the taste off too much, especially if I season well.
- Stretch meat by using less. Most dishes where meat is combined with something else can often have the quantity of meat reduced without noticeable differences. For example, instead of using a full pound of chicken breasts in a stir fry, I use about 1/3 of a pound and use lots of veggies.
- Slow cooked cheaper cuts. Tough meat is cheap. By cooking meat in a slow cooker all day, you will have a dish that falls apart with a fork. I use tougher cuts of roast in the crock and add barbecue sauce for a great and easy meal.
- Make freezer soup. In my house, no one ever finishes the veggies. Plus I have a terrible time remembering to use fresh produce in the fridge. My solution is to keep a couple of containers in the freezer. I put in the last spoonful of vegetables after dinners. I also dice up any tired produce at the end of the week. When I have a few containers, I get out my stock pot, add chicken stock, the veggies and cook away. It’s a delicious soup.
- Avoid loss leaders. Loss leaders are those unbelievable deals that grocery stores use to get you in the stores. They can also be found at the ends of aisles. Beware, though. These are not always the best deal for that type of item, and if you don’t need or use what you are buying it is wasted money.
- Make a list and stick to it. Impulse spending can add a lot of money to a grocery bill. I noticed that when I had someone doing my shopping for me that my typical impulse spending was the same amount as the shopper fees! That’s about $30 every two weeks. Now that I shop on my own, I make a list and I don’t buy anything that’s not on it. This also helps cut down on my daughter’s begging, because she knows if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get bought.
- Scan the ads. By knowing what is on sale, you can add items you commonly use to your list. Recently my grocery store had whole chickens on sale for 34 cents a pound! I stocked up on them without breaking the list.
- Cook from scratch. For many items, cooking from scratch is much cheaper. Using spices and some chicken bouillon granules, I can have seasoned noodles for a fraction of what it would cost to buy the packaged mix. Homemade cookies are also less expensive than the bakery ones. A big batch of waffles stashed in the freezer cost way less than the commercial versions.
- Know your stores. Some stores are consistently less than others. I can get spices in bulk at my warehouse club at prices the grocery can’t touch. I likewise buy some produce, bread, condiments and frozen meat at the warehouse. My grocery store almost always has better prices on organic milk.
- Get help. Frugal shopping is easy when someone prepares the menus and shopping lists and hands them to you SavingDinner.com used to produce a frugal menu mailer which doesn’t appear to exist anymore. But CookForGood.com is going strong.
Cutting grocery costs isn’t hard when you have a place to start. Does anyone have any other tips to share?
Photo by lyzadanger