Everybody needs to find ways to save money, and groceries are a natural place to start. After mortgage/rent and medical costs, food is usually one of the top three or four household expenses, but rising food prices this year might seriously strain your finances.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that grocery store food prices increased by 6.6% in 2008, the highest annual increase in over 30 years. The highest price increases were for cereal and baked products (11.7%) and for meats, chicken, fish, and eggs (5.1%) compared to a year ago. Fresh produce prices increased by 3.4%, while dairy products increased by 2.7%.
You don’t have to be a master chef to make your grocery dollars go further by preparing more meals at home instead of going out.
Here’s the procedure:
Check out the grocery ads and go around them. You may find the weekly ad for most significant supermarkets online, either to download or to watch. In addition, you may plan your weekly grocery trip based on which store has the best bargains by signing up to receive the circular in your inbox every week.
It’s no longer necessary to clip coupons. Whether you like them or not, coupons can help you save money. You can save time and effort by printing online coupons rather than clipping them from newspapers. The savings you may rack up at the grocery store can be substantial if you use your coupons with a deal on the things you need.
Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. You can save money by buying produce just during its peak season. Instead of spending a small fortune on strawberries and cherries during the winter, save money and eat more bananas and citrus.
Lose customer support #4. Cheaper generic and supermarket brands are nutritionally and flavorfully equivalent to more expensive name brands. Even more surprisingly, several brand-name manufacturers also produce generic versions of their products. Only the packaging has been altered.
5. Don’t stick to one particular store. Products once exclusive to grocery shops and pharmacies are now widely available at budget supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and online. Don’t go out of your way, but if one of these is nearby, you should check out their prices. In contrast to its reputation for low prices on everyday necessities like milk and eggs, Costco is known to charge more for a wider variety of specialty foods. In general, prices in mom-and-pop corner stores are higher.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables are at reduced prices at farmers’ markets and pick-your-own farms.
Avoid long distances if you want to save money. Take caution not to get scammed while following deals from store to store. Saving a buck here or there is useless if it causes you to spend more money elsewhere, such as at the petrol station. You should find a happy medium between shopping at six different stores to find the best pricing and doing all of your shopping at one or two stores.
Seven, watch your per-unit expenditures. Learn to scan the left side of price tags for the unit price rather than the total package price. Unit cost is expressed as a price per quantity (such as per ounce, quarter, gallon, or pound). Comparing unit costs will reveal which unit size offers the best value, as many food manufacturers try to trick consumers by reducing the amount of food in the same-sized packaging. Buying in bulk doesn’t necessarily save money.
Put in a bulk order. The typical product cycle is 10–12 weeks. Don’t buy more than you’ll use, and if you’re trying to monitor your weight, remember that having a massive supply at home may tempt you to eat more. Milk, orange juice, butter, and bread are perishables that do well when frozen. You can truly let loose if you have access to an additional freezer.
Make one day a week a vegetarian day. Try switching out red meat for cheaper (and healthier) alternatives like beans, tofu, eggs, or almonds once a week. You may get free recipes for meatless chili, vegetarian lasagna, and pizza dough online.
Tenth, chow down. Save money on red meat by purchasing round, chuck, or shoulder, which are less expensive but less tender, then cook them in a pressure or slow cooker.
11. Take a gander in all directions, above, below, and around you. Items on sale are often located at the far corners of the grocery store, while lesser-known brands that may be cheaper can be found on the top and bottom shelves. The most effective placement for premium brands is at eye level.
Maintain your garden. A little garden plot can produce a large harvest of healthy, local vegetables. Dwarf cherry tomato plants are just one example of the many types made for growing in containers. Start with tomato plants, string beans, squash, zucchini, green peppers, snap peas, and lettuce if you’re a gardening newbie. Parsley, basil, and chives are the easiest herbs to grow.
Learn what’s in the back of the fridge (tip #13). Throwing out delicious cheese or forgotten stuffed peppers from last week is manageable, leading to significant food waste. Focus on making soups, stews, stir-fries, or salads using leftovers.
Buy up “free after rebate” merchandise. Monthly specials and “free after rebate” promotions are commonplace in national drugstore chains like Walgreens and Rite Aid, where customers can save money on various cosmetics, pain relievers, and oral care products. To get your cash back, visit the website to see what’s for sale, do your shopping, and then upload a scan of your receipt.
15 Use the tools provided by the Cooperative Extension Service. The Cooperative Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture operates throughout the country. Although cooperative extension service offices are more commonly associated with rural areas, they also provide a plethora of information for suburban households, such as budgeting advice.
Please keep it simple, number 16. Keep in mind that the cheapest kind of food is the raw, unprocessed variety. A brick of cheese you can grate yourself will be more affordable than pre-shredded cheese. Soup sold in single-serving containers heated in the microwave costs more than the more considerable can equivalent.
Do you prefer frozen, dried, or canned? Frozen, dry, and canned foods are more cost-effective than fresh ones. You don’t have to skimp on nutrition to save money, as fares are canned or frozen just after reaching full ripeness. Canned goods are convenient, but it’s essential to wash them well before eating them because they’re often preserved in a sugary syrup or salty liquid.
Sundays are the best days to make a feast. Since most of us are too pressed for time during the week to devote much attention to cooking, saving some of our Sundays for preparing a dinner that will leave us with enough leftovers to last us through the rest of the week makes sense.
You should never preheat the oven or stove for a single use. If you bake a pan of brownies, plan and make some items that can be cooked simultaneously. You don’t need to make elaborate meal preparations because you can throw in some frozen chicken you’ve defrosted in the microwave or substitute sweet potato wedges for regular fries. You’ll spend less money on groceries, less time cooking, and less money and time at fast food restaurants.
Twenty: Create a list and use it. You’ll save money and avoid making unnecessary purchases if you prepare for your shopping visits in advance. To further reduce food waste, plan to consider how you might use leftovers from one meal in the next.
Writing has been Dawn Handschuh’s primary source of income for the past quarter century. She spent ten years in the financial services industry, publishing extensively on retirement strategies, personal finance, and various investment vehicles. Dawn also contributes frequently to [http://www.creditfyi.com], a comprehensive resource for all things related to credit and personal finance.