Save money, eat better, and have more food. It sounds too good to be true, but it can be a reality if you follow these 10 simple rules.
1. Coupons – Everyone knows that coupons save money. Most of us don’t want to take time to clip them, and they take up some valuable real estate in your purse if you keep them all with you. However, the amount of money you can save using coupons might help you save up the money for a bigger purse!
2. Sales – If you check the sale ads before shopping and choose items that are on sale to make your meals for the week, you can save all kinds of money. If you shop for discounted meats and vegetables, even if they are only a few cents off per pound, the savings will add up fast!
3. Buy in Bulk – Obviously, this rule requires a little planning and common sense. Only buy items that you can use before they spoil and make sure to have space reserved in your home for storing your bulk purchases. If you are short on space, consider finding another family to split the purchases with and share in the savings!
4. Make food last longer – Investing in a vacuum sealer for food storage prolongs the life of most foods, as do most air tight containers. If you frequently have leftovers, simply place them in vacuum sealed bags or air tight containers and freeze and refrigerate them until you are ready to eat them. If you make 1 day a week “leftover day,” you have saved an entire day’s worth of grocery money!
5. Make food from scratch – There are definitely some things that are not always feasible or cost effective to make from scratch, some things can save you a lot of money. If you think about what you’re buying, most of the answers are obvious. Bread is time consuming to make and, if you shop sales or use a discount bakery, it isn’t that expensive. However, a head of lettuce costs around $1.00 and will make 4-8 salads, pre-mixed salad mixes cost between $0.40 and $1.50 per serving and a pre-made salad can cost over $5.00 per serving. By using some common sense and making things yourself, you can save a lot of money.
6. Compare prices – Shop around. If there are 4 grocery stores in town, you can use it to your advantage. Check each of their sale ads and compare their regular prices. You may need to recheck things every so often, but if turkey is $0.89/pound at one store and $1.39/pound at another you will save $5.00 on a 10 pound turkey.
7. Buy cheaper cuts of meat – Its obvious to most shoppers that hamburger is cheaper than steak. Most people even know that round steak is cheaper than ribeye. If you’ve ever tried to cook round steak without any preparation, you also know why. However, if you plan ahead, you can make some amazing dishes with the round steak and hamburger. Likewise, while most people prefer white meat chicken, but it is more expensive than dark meat. If it is going into a casserole or getting heavily seasoned for chili or tacos, no one will notice if the meat was light or dark before it went into the pan.
8. Buy generic – Okay, so when you’re talking about the difference between Oreos and “chocolate flavored sandwich cookies”, generic just doesn’t compare. However, if you’re looking at milk, eggs, butter, juice, meat, produce, cheese or any number of other foods, the generic comes from the same place, it just has a different brand name. Paying an extra dollar for name brand milk doesn’t make much sense, when you don’t know which cow your milk comes from anyway.
9. Shop less often – By making fewer trips to the store you will spend less money in travel expenses, waste less time and be exposed to fewer impulse buy items. If you spend $10.00/trip on gas and impulse buys and shop twice a week, you will save over $40.00 in a month by going only once a week.
10. Substitutions – Okay, so you love buttermilk pancakes. You buy the buttermilk; make 1 batch of pancakes and the rest of the buttermilk goes bad. You have just wasted around $2.00. However, if you had used regular milk, added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes, you would have had exactly the right amount of buttermilk for your pancakes and never wasted a dime. Knowing these types of tricks and substitutions can save a lot of money in the long run.
By taking the extra time to follow these 10 simple rules, you will see your grocery budget go farther each month. The more you learn, the more you save!