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Monday, December 29, 2008

Grocery Shopping Savings

I know a lot of people are cutting back on their spending right now so I thought I would write up a list of how I save money on groceries. I have implemented these tips for myself within the past couple of months and have seen a tremendous difference in our grocery bills.

1. Shop with a LIST and a MENU in mind. Before, I would walk down each aisle and just throw in whatever food looked good, but I would get home with an odd assortment of groceries and then would have to find ways to use it to make dinner. Now, I sit down one night a week and plan my menu for that week. If you want you can plan for more than a week, but I find it easier to shop once a week, especially when it comes to buying fresh produce.

2. Plan meals around store savings. Check out the sales that your local grocery store is having for the week and use those ingredients in your menu. This tip is something that I have not implemented as much, but I do stock up on meat during my grocery store's meat sale. I buy 5 packs of meat for $19.95 and get a 6th one for free with my advantage card. I then plan my meals around the types of meat I have. The packs usually go towards 2 different meals as well.

3. Shop at discount stores, such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot. I have done some comparison pricing and have found that some products are a lot cheaper at these discount stores. The following are foods that I now buy at discount stores (and they taste just as good!): canned foods, shredded cheese, cream cheese, butter, milk, and baking supplies.

4. Cut down on meat consumption. If a recipe calls for 1 pound of meat, I will often only use 1/2 a pound and save the other half for a future meal. I also serve one meatless meal a week and may change that to two a week a couple of times a month.

5. Eat leftovers! I was never a big leftover fan growing up, but have found that I now hate to waste food. Most recipes make at least 4 servings, so I will take leftovers for lunch the next day. This also cuts down on the amount of food I need to buy for lunches during the week.

6. Use leftover ingredients. Sometimes when I make something the recipe does not call for the entire can of tomato sauce, chicken broth, etc. I save the rest and then include another recipe on my menu for the week to use up the rest of the ingredient. Again, not wasting any leftovers!

7. Use coupons. This may be an obvious choice, but I also add caution to this tip as well. Do not use a coupon to buy an item that you would not normally buy just because you have a coupon. Only use coupons for items you normally buy! You can find online coupons you can print at coolsavings.com, bettycrocker.com, womansday.com, among others.

8. Buy generic or store brand items. This tip is probably the first I have implemented after living on my own. Oftentimes the generic or store brand item tastes just as good as the name-brand item for a third or half of the name-brand price. I also like to let people know that many times a generic brand is manufactured at the same factory as name-brand items.

9. Buy in-season produce. For items that are not in-season, you are paying for the transportation costs of bringing that item to you!

10. Use your freezer. If you know that you are not going to use the rest of an ingredient or something is about to expire, many items can be frozen and used later. Here is a list that I found in Good Housekeeping that I use as a guide. I have saved many ingredients from expiring this way!

11. Use what you have. Some nights I make it a point to use what we already have in our pantry and freezer, especially if I'm too busy to get to the store right away. We all have certain foods we always keep on hand, such as pasta, eggs, meats, etc. so it should be fairly easy to throw something together...and you save money by not buying additional ingredients!

12. Limit eating at restaurants or getting fast food or takeout. I will be the first to admit, I love going out to eat with Jon or with friends to relax and hang out. However, a meal for two can easily rack up $20+ depending on where you eat. I can buy an entire week's worth of groceries some weeks for that amount of money! I now try to only go out to eat or get fast food for lunch once a week, and hoping to drop that number even more in 2009. Additionally, it is a lot healthier to eat at home and know what is going into your food!

I may add to this list if I think of other ways I save on groceries, but hopefully this one that I have started will help you with your savings!Pin It

4 comments:

  1. Okay, honey I get the drift - I hate to take the time and you know how I am about using generic brands but maybe I will give it a shot in 2009 to be better prepared - which will cost me less in the long run. So I will start on Sunday and make my list for the week. Thanks for the key shopping savings.

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  2. This is an awesome list!!

    Another tip that I use is when you have some left over cream, half and half, chicken broth, etc. I freeze it in ice cube trays, then put the cubes in a bag. That way I can use the cubes again for other recipes without wasting what is left!

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  3. This is a great list!

    I would add shopping at local farmer's markets. (while I live in Chicago and they only run in the summer months) its a great way to get affordable produce!

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