Tackling the ever-rising cost of living can seem like a daunting task that reaps little results. When it comes to cutting food costs, there is more flexibility than most other living expenses. Many Americans live near more than one grocer or retailer that sells food, with shelves stocked with thousands of options, giving us little excuse for overspending. Here are steps to help you become a thrifty grocery shopper.
Planning Ahead Saves Money
Taking the time to plan a weekly menu will help you focus on the necessary groceries you need to buy and help to define a grocery list. Not only will you be less impulsive in your spending, but by knowing what you need ahead of time you will be able to choose the store that will offer the best deals for those particular items.
Save with Home Cooking
Who doesn’t appreciate the convenience of pre-packaged foods? But the cost cannot justify what you’re getting for your money; by making it from scratch, an amazing amount of your grocery bill will be cut. Try making foods that you typically by pre-packaged or prepared, like coleslaw or salad greens. Many can be prepared in minutes and as a bonus, will be healthier versions.
Try Something New to Save
Making meals, day after day, week after week, can be exasperating. One neat trick to stave off the boredom and monotony is to serve breakfast for dinner. Many people don’t have the time during the week to enjoy a hearty breakfast, so why not serve one up for dinner. Kids are particularly happy to have pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc. instead of the traditional meat and potatoes.
Another way to save on your food budget is to prepare a meatless meal every week or two. In the process, you’ll be encouraging your family to eat more vegetables, a healthy habit we all should promote. Take advantage of leftovers to avoid wasting food. If you don’t plan to use them in a timely fashion, freeze them in serving portions to be reheated for a later dinner or for lunches.
Discount and Bulk Stores
Consumers can save up to twenty-five percent or more over name brand products by shopping at independent grocers and discount food stores that have recently cropped up across the country. Take advantage of bulk prices on items you can freeze or that you use in great quantity. For example, a small can of mixed nuts will be pricey in comparison to a buy-the-pound purchase at a bulk store. Allow for flexibility in your menu planning to take advantage of items that are discounted.
One last consideration is to take advantage of farmer’s markets and seasonal produce. With a local harvest, fruits and vegetables will be cheaper and fresher. In addition, their nutrition value will be at their peak, providing better health for you and your family.