I'm getting my full nest on in these parts so hopefully we will have a few renovation updates to share in the next couple weeks and months, but until then let's talking about groceries... again. I am constantly looking for ways to save money at the grocery store. I'd love some input from you as well for strategies that you have used to lower the cost of your grocery bill. Admittedly, we still spend a good chunk of our income on food. I try to remind myself that good food usually equals better health and wellness which in turn lowers other expenses, but still try to focus on a manageable budget for our little family. These are list of ideas and strategies that I have been using the past few years to try to lower costs. I hope that you can find a few ideas that will help you and your family as well.
- Meal plan! Plan out meals for each day of the week. Include breakfast and lunch especially if you have a lot of lunches to pack. I usually leave one dinner open per week to eat up leftovers so we hopefully don't waste perfectly good food. To really get the most bang for your buck, use your grocery store's flyer to focus on using meats/produce that is on sale that week.
- Make a list. Double check that you don't already have ingredients on your list. Follow your list.
- Shop sales and stock up. This is easy to plan for when you use your weekly flyer. Typically, common items go on sale every few weeks in somewhat of a rotation. If you go through so much chicken, cheese, etc. in the 3-4 weeks between sales, try to buy how much you would need while it's on sale for the rest of the month. Most of these things can easily be frozen until you need them.
- Use coupons to your advantage. Coupons can be great if you use them correctly. I am not very extensive with coupons, but many people follow blogs and are able to catch some great deals. Many grocery stores use what coupons are available that week and base sales accordingly. You can then use a coupon for an item on sale and get extra savings. Perhaps your grocery store even has a double coupon day! My only caution is to make sure to use coupons for things you actually use. Many coupons are for junk food that you and your family could simply not eat and save money. :)
- Shop local farmer's markets and shop in season. Farmer's markets are great places to find fresh, locally grown meat, produce, and other odds and ends. People are practically throwing zucchini's in your bag this time of year! I also find that things like honey and maple syrup are much cheaper (and much tastier!) when I buy them at the farmer's market. Its also great to support to local economy. Plus it's fun family time together.
- Try vegetarian. We usually eat a couple vegetarian meals per week. Meat can be expensive and can easily be replaced with other cheaper creative proteins like beans, eggs, quinoa, etc.
- Buy meats in cost effective ways. My parents for the past few years have bought 1/4 of a cow at roughly $2.00 a pound and have gotten a variety of different cuts of meats for a great price and are stocked up for the whole year. Buy whole chickens (local is often cheaper as well), cook them whole (even in the Crock pot) and/or cut up the meat for different uses. Use the bones to make broth and stock to freeze for soups in winter.
- Buy items in bulk or larger sizes. I usually buy things like rice and beans in large bags. Beans are so easy to make in the Crock Pot and then freeze. You can buy a whole bag of beans usually under $2.00 whereas one can usually will set you back about $1.00.
- Buy items you need only small amounts of from the bulk section. I love doing this for new recipes and for certain baking items I don't use very often. I can buy the exact amount I need instead of having a larger amount sitting around in my cabinets until the rare chance of me needing that ingredient again.
- Get creative when it comes to breakfast. My husband and I used to eat cereal for every breakfast everyday. Not only is it not filling, it can be expensive! Healthy, fiber-filled cereal is not usually cheap. You can make your own cereal, eat oatmeal, scramble some eggs, etc.
- Make your own yogurt!
- Make other everyday staples from scratch-- Tortillas, bread, etc. Usually buying a whole bag a flour will equal the cost of one to two loaves of bread, but you can easily make four to five loaves from that. You are able to eliminate preservatives as well.
- Drink water. Juice and soda adds up quickly and just adds empty calories to your diet anyway.
- Stop eating! Just kidding, but you would save a decent amount that way...
Hopefully you found one or two tricks to add to your bag 'o' tricks here. Now, we would love to hear from you! What are some additional ideas you have? Please comment and spread some more helpful tips!