If you plan meals ahead
using sale items, keep track of your inventory, use shopping lists,
shop for bargains, cook meals ahead, and collect easy frugal recipes,
you can save a substantial amount of money. You can cut your grocery
bill in half using the following methods!
Check your household inventory to see what you already have. Keeping a list will help you to reduce waste and eliminate repeated trips to the store.
Create meal plans
based on what you have and loss leader sales. Use the weekly flyers to
see what's on sale, buy as many extra sale items as your budget and
space allow. This way a major portion of your weekly food budget will
be purchased at the lowest possible price.
Always use shopping lists and more meal
To create a shopping list, write down the ingredients that you need to
make the recipes from your meal plan. Then add any extra items that you
need like toiletries, snacks, or pet items. Using a well-organized list
will save you both time and money by organizing your purchases, keeping
you to a plan and stopping repeat trips and impulse buying.
Buy in bulk
when the unit price is less. This simply means to buy the 64 oz. size
at .07 per ounce instead of the 32 oz. size at 11 cents per ounce.
Use coupons only
for purchases that you would get anyway or want to try. Use a coupon
organizer to help you easily find and use your coupons. I carry mine
with me to the store to check if I can get a cheaper price for the
items on my list. Try to only use coupons at stores that double or
Never shop hungry.
Stores are most crowded after work hours and on the weekends. If you
can't shop from about 9 to 5 on weekdays, try shopping after dinner
instead of right after work when you are tired, hungry, and the stores
Use the store savings cards.
In addition to the savings at the register with each swipe, some will
entitle you to special coupons and offers. (Forget your card? See if
it's listed under your phone number, or ask the clerk if he or she has
a spare card they can use for you.)
Watch cash register tape for errors which are quicker to correct while in line than later. This is easier to do if you have a helper.
Try store brands and generics.
Premium store brands are often similar in quality to name brands. Not
sure you can trust them? Many stores have guarantees in case you try
something and decide it's horrible.
Look at top and bottom shelves
for the best bargains. Attractive displays, fancy packaging, and
convenience foods almost always cost more. Stores often put the most
expensive and prettiest packages at eye level.
Use a price booklet to trace your lowest prices. It will help you to discover sales patterns and good bargains vs too-high prices.
Cook from scratch as often as possible.
Vegetarian food is cheaper. Try to have at least one vegetarian meal per week. Stretching meat by cooking casseroles or stir fry is also helpful.
Iced tea is often cheaper than soda.
And, too, hot tea is cheaper than coffee. Drinking water with fancy
straws, colored ice cubes or fresh fruit slices makes it more fun for
both you and your kids.
Freezing meals ahead
saves money, because you use up what was bought, don't impulse shop and
eat out less. For example, make a double batch of Sunday's chili to
thaw and reheat after Thursday's soccer game. This is cheaper and
healthier than McDonald's drive-thru! You can also cook meals ahead for
as much as a month to save you time and money.
Keep everything in a central location,
including meal plans, coupon organizer, shopping lists, price book, and
sales flyers. I keep my ongoing inventory list on a whiteboard, and my
shopping list on the refrigerator.
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