You walk into the grocery store to get the things on your list. Maybe it’s for tonight’s dinner or the whole week ahead. You get through the checkout and notice your receipt is a lot longer that you expected. You gasp at the dollar amount at the bottom of the receipt. With the cost of staples always going up and engineered food getting cheaper and cheaper,
What can you possibly do to make it out of the grocery with more money and healthier food?
Here are a few little tips that help a lot on saving money…
The store ads often come in your “junk mail”. Take 5 minutes to scan them for deals. I recommend looking just for photos of things you already buy and need. Circle the ones with a marker that are a great price. Next, look at the coupons included with the store ad. Clip just the ones that correlate to things you actually use. The point isn’t to merely load up on coupons. If you like to coupon like I do then I would next clip weekly coupons from the “Red Plum” and “Smart Source” inserts (that come in your mailbox) that meet your needs.
Now take 10 minutes to list 7-10 meals you could make using the coupon/store deals and ingredients you already have on hand. These 7-10 meals will feed your household for more than a week because you can buy bulk of certain things. For example, usually you may buy chicken but the store deal is on turkey. This is a simple substitution in most recipes. Buy and freeze extra turkey. Now your dollar is going even further. If the savings per pound is $0.30 then your savings multiplies the more pounds you buy. Remember, this is only savings because you buy what you need to feed your family. Of the 7-10 meals you pick consider which ones will freeze well should you double/triple the recipe and which ones are enjoyable to make repeatedly.
List out the ingredients you need to pick up from the store. If you know your grocery well, list your ingredients in order with the stores layout. If possible, pick up produce first then baked goods then dairy and frozen last. Save any snack foods till absolute last. I have a theory that the more full the cart is the less likely I am to over indulge in the goodie aisle (I almost always avoid ever going down the goodie aisle). I think you’ll see that you have bought more produce too. 🙂
I meal plan whenever possible for two to four weeks. I once read that shopping for two weeks at a time will save the average home $150! One benefit to shopping for two to four weeks at a time is buying in bulk without waste. Another benefit is fewer trips to the store and less chances to impulse buy. We do weekly trips for produce and milk. Otherwise, when the store deal is good and/or I have coupons that make a price great on a non-perishable staple, then I buy enough to last us at least two weeks. A kitchen full of staples can build a large variety of meals. If you want to deviate from the original plan you can do so more easily if you are well stocked.
One last tip to save money is to plan meatless meals. When you do cook with meat include enough other ingredients to round out the meal well so you don’t have to compensate with extra meat. Doing this will make the meat go further too. A neat little fact is that free range organic meat cooks up to roughly the same amount of meat as it was raw. The less expensive commercial meats often cook down leaving water in the pan. It may seem cheaper but in reality you are paying for less meat and some water. We are content with the water we have on tap. We don’t wring out our poultry for a glass of refreshment. 🙂
I hope these tips will be useful. Please feel free to leave any money-saving tips you have in the comments section!
Dear Jesus, thank you for healing me so much that I am able to focus on meal planning again. Amen.