Ways To Save Money On Your Food And Groceries
In today's economy, most of us have found ourselves needing to stretch every dollar.
Many people are cutting back on entertainment, turning off lights when we leave the room and even adjusting our thermostats.
We are taking less trips, eating out less and admiring this years fashions from afar.
We are simply dreaming of our "wants" and only purchasing our "needs".
One of our most basic needs is of course, food. It's also one of the largest expenses most people have each month.
There are a lot of different ways to save money on your grocery bill. You can use coupons, switch from name brands to generic and watch for sales. You can also sacrifice some of the foods you want for the foods you can afford.
But, there are some other really easy ways that you can save money on groceries.
Make A Shopping List And Stick To It
One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to make a shopping list.
However, the key to saving money with this easy step is to have the control to stick to the list and only purchase what you need.
While it's fine to splurge and now and then, impulse shopping greatly increases your total at the checkout.
A grocery list can help you save money on gas. You'll be less likely to forget something you really need and won't have to make another trip.
Don't Go Hungry
When hunger is near, stay far away from the grocery store! Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Make a point to eat before you shop even if it's just a quick snack.
When you are hungry, everything in the store can have your mouth watering. And, your grocery cart will quickly be filled with items you didn't intend to purchase.
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Shop For The Week
Try to purchase enough groceries to last at least a week. You'd be amazed at how much more you spend on groceries when you make several trips a week instead of just one.
If you make three trips a week and spend $5 on a impulse purchase, you will save $60 a month by doing all your shopping in one trip. If you end up purchasing $10 worth of extra groceries on each trip, you'll save $120 each month!
Watch Those Expiration Dates
Always take the time to check the expiration date on perishable grocery items. Many people will just grab the first gallon of milk in the dairy case.
One of the biggest wastes of your grocery budget is having to throw out spoiled food. The freshest items are usually always toward the back. Checking the dates could mean the difference between getting to use a whole gallon of milk, or having to pour it out two days after you purchased it.
What's On Sale?
Instead of checking your local grocery store sale paper to see if there's anything on your list, make your grocery list using the sale paper. Plan your meals around what is on sale this week.
Purchase something you're craving for one meal, then create the menu for the rest of the week from what is on sale. Even if you wasn't planning to have chicken this week, if it's on sale get creative!
Wasting Food is Wasting Money
When it comes to saving money and cutting expenses the "buzz" we hear a lot deals with reducing our utility bills, especially our gas or electric bill.
Another important part of managing our resources so we can live as well as possible on the money we earn is our food.
Many people waste food, in fact research shows that we waste around 40% of all the food purchased in America. Uneaten portions and spoilage are the biggest wasters.
Remember Waste Always Means Money Lost
Learn to judge how much your family will eat. For example if you always have a large amount of mashed potatoes left over from a meal remember to prepare less the next time.
While it may be better to have some leftovers than to not have enough waste due to uneaten leftovers can easily be reduced to a minimum.
For spoilage concerns we have expiration dates on packaged foods. While these are just general guidelines we can make use of them. For example while sorting the cabinets in the kitchen we found a few cans of soup and veggies that were long expired.
We eat soup and veggies often but these particular cans had been hidden away in the back, covered up and forgotten. Just a few cans of food and it was purchased quite some time back but still waste. The thing is that if we aren't careful waste like this can add up.
How often do you find a half drank cola or "pop" sitting around?
How much coffee do you throw out? Some people may drink only 2 cups of coffee every morning but make a full pot.
Why buy a dozen doughnuts if you will only eat 6 of them?
Stop throwing away food/money!
How much snack chips and cookies do you toss out because they got stale? Don't do that! Invest (yes that is the right word) in some canisters or chip bag clips.
There are many ways you can avoid food waste and save money. Think about how you and your family eat and drink and try to find ways to cut and save.
I'm not suggesting that you eat less or that you should eat food of lower quality.
Learn the way your family eats and adjust your cooking and shopping so that there is less waste. If you are the cook then it even means less work for you.
Wow! That Much Food Waste?
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Cutting Food Costs By Proper Storage
So much of what people buy at the grocery store ends up getting thrown away because of poor storage of the food.
Vegetables that were perfectly good end up having to go to the trash because of bacteria turning the food into a potential health hazard.
Lettuce should be kept in the refrigerator, but not in the bag it comes in. Instead, place the lettuce in a sealed plastic storage bag along with a slightly dampened paper towel. It will keep it fresh longer.
Tomatoes do not need refrigeration, and the cold temperature affects the taste and texture. They will stay ripe longer refrigerated, but to insure their premium flavor, let them sit out for a little while and let the tomato get back to room temperature.
Asparagus has a short life in the refrigerator, so only buy what you need of it fresh. To store it effectively for up to two days, snip off the ends of the asparagus and place it in a tall container that has a small amount of water in it. The snipped ends will absorb the water, keeping the asparagus fresh.
So when you are buying veggies and fruits, be sure that everything refrigerated is sealed tightly. Improperly sealing the containers will result in air getting to the food...giving bacteria breeding ground to grow.
A few minutes and a few steps is all it takes to keep the food you buy at its optimum quality. Otherwise, you might as well be throwing money in the garbage... literally.
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Cents off Coupons?
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More Money Saving Ideas
- The Price of Convenience
Awhile back, I wrote a post about taking the time to make things ahead rather than stop at a drive thru or convenience store... and how much can be saved by taking a few steps extra. I decided to try a little experiment.
- Save Money - Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables Indoors
As we experience a return to higher food prices, more and more individuals are seeking out ways of growing their own fruits and vegetables from the comfort of their homes.
- Teach Your Children About Saving Money
No matter what amount they get, it never seems to be enough. However, if you teach your teens about managing their allowance now... it will lead to good spending and saving habits later on, when they are dealing with larger sums of money.
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