How To Save Money On Groceries
May 16, 2017
We all need food, good food, to nourish our bodies. However, if you are balancing a budget with young children, a mortgage, saving for the future and car payments, buying groceries might throw your budget for a loop.
We have a few tips to keep in mind when you head out to the grocery store to keep meals healthy, fresh and most of all – affordable.
Tip One: Save Money By Looking For Sales On Meat
Meat is typically the most expensive item in the shopping cart. Watch for great sales in the store, purchase a few items and freeze them.
Another great tip is to purchase meat in whole. So, buy a whole chicken or fish rather than parts of the animal.
If your freezer is already full of meat but you don’t know what to do it with it – we suggest coming up with a plan to put some of your older meats into rotation in stews, pot pies or soups before restocking the freezer.
An alternative to buying meat at the grocery store is to buy a section of a heifer from a farmer, have it butchered and again, freeze it. A quarter section of the cow usually provides about 100lbs of meat. This type of meat buying has been gaining popularity for years and is termed “cow-pooling”. It’s also a great way to source food if you want to know where it’s coming from.
Tip Two: Choose Whole, Unprocessed Food
This is a big one a lot of people don’t think of. The more hands that touch your food before it hits the shelf – the more expensive it is going to be. If you are constantly in a hurry and buying pre-packaged salads is better for you than preparing a salad then that’s great too. However, that’s just one item that may attributing to your rising grocery costs.
“Two bags of Dole Romaine Lettuce at the grocery store cost about $4.50 each – depending what store you are at or ($9.00 total). A head of Romaine Lettuce (probably with a little dirt on the bottom) costs about $1.90 – depending on where you pick it up. That’s a difference of $2.60 per head or $5.20 in total.”
If you and your family eat that in a week buying the heads of lettuce instead of the bags of lettuce can save you $20.00 a week or $250.00 a year. That’s just one simple item that can keep a lot more money in your bank account.
For more information on “convenience foods” follow this link.
Tip Three: Buy Produce That’s In Season To Save Money
This is a hard one for us as our season is typically “winter months” in Saskatoon, but try to focus on the season items like squash during fall and winter. These are easy to prepare and tasty if you add butter and garlic to them. You can also add Alfredo Sauce to squash to make it taste like pasta.
Avoiding produce like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the winter months is a great way to keep more money in your pocket while grocery shopping.
Tip Four: Shop in Bulk
It’s no secret that places like Costco and The Bulk Barn can sell certain food items cheaper than local markets. When you buy in bulk you do not have to pay for the individual packaging and so you can grab a pack of apples or a bulk buy of spaghetti cheaply.
Tip Five: Store Items Properly
This tip is more about storing your food as soon as you get home from the grocery store and this tip is extremely important if you are trying to save money on groceries.
Store apples and avocados in the fridge to slow down the ripening process. Keep a little bit of plastic on the top of banana’s to keep them from spoiling too soon. For more tips on food storage we found this handy website http://shine365.marshfieldclinic.org/wellness/produce-storage-guide/.
If you notice produce items on the verge of spoiling we love to throw them in a Ziploc bag and use those items for smoothies or homemade popsicles at a later date. Having frozen fruit on hand, ready to blend also saves you from having to buy frozen fruit at the grocery store.
Tip Six: Buy Items That Are Currently Discounted
Just before items hit their “best before” dates or “expiration dates” they are usually discounted. If you see items like that on the shelf (small milks, sushi, cheese, etc) and you know you and your family can eat that discounted item that day (or before it spoils) it can be the perfect “fast food” item to grab for supper that night especially if you are already late for swimming or soccer or dance lessons.
We want to hear from you. What your tips on saving money while grocery shopping? How do you save money while nourishing your family?