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How to Save on Groceries: 25 Money Saving Tips
Budget Based Planning
1. Set a spending cap and stick to it. Set a reasonable limit for each week or month. Some people find an envelope system helpful. Place a set amount of cash into envelopes and take only the amount you have determined with you on your shopping trip.
2. Make menus and lists based on lower priced items. A well planned trip keeps you from making spur of the moment decisions that usually end up costing more.
3. Make menus and lists based on sale items. Scan the grocery circulars before planning your meals.
4. Organize your priorities. Put necessities at the top of the list, but allow for a treat or two.
5. Double check your list after you have written it out. Chances are, you can find an item or two to cross off that will not be missed.
Better Eating Habits
6. Eat a simple diet. You will save money and be healthier if you avoid processed and prepackaged food.
7. Eat less meat. Get your protein from beans and whole grains.
8. Eat slowly to eat less. You will give your body time to register a full feeling before you are overstuffed.
9. Eat at home. Save restaraunt visits for special occasions.
10. Eat up leftovers. They make great lunches, and maybe you can get an extra meal out of them if you have a "clean out the refrigerator" dinner.
11. Shop at discount places like ALDI or a local store for reclaimed items.
12. Stick to your menu, but be flexible if you find a bargain.
13. Bring a calculator and add as you shop. Also useful if unit prices are not posted.
14. Buy mostly store brand items.
15. When you do buy name brands, search for and request coupons from the manufacturers. I have e-mailed a number of companies telling them why I regularly buy their products and several have mailed me coupons.
16. Stock up on sale items. But be careful not to eat them up faster. I have found keeping the surplus food tied up in grocery bags or labeling them with a "do not use before" date to be effective preventative measures.
17. Limit shopping trips to once a week or less. If you forgot something, chances are you can do without it for a few more days. This not only saves gas, but keeps you from the temptation to buy more than needed.
Planning Around Your Schedule
18. Create a menu with quick, easy meals for busy days and more involved dishes for slower days, or...
19....cook week's dinners on week ends and freeze. These methods keep you from hitting the pricier convenience options, like freezer dinners or take-out.
Alternative Food Sources
20. Buy produce when in season locally, such as at a farmer's market. Stock up and can or freeze whatever you don't eat right away.
21. Buy in bulk through local co-ops. If there is not one in your area, organize one yourself. For example, Untited Natural Foods Inc. has several warehouses throughout the US. and require a mimimum of about $750 of merchandise for a delivery.
22. Grow a simple garden. Nothing elaborate. Keep costs down by picking a few varieties that your family enjoys and are easy to grow in your climate. For example, if you like garlic, one organic bulb, which costs about $1 can be taken apart and each clove planted in fall or late winter. Each clove will grow into a whole separate bulb. Read my hub, "Gardening With Young Children" for some more ideas.
23. Compost your leftover kitchen scraps. Mixed with dead leaves, this is future food. Feed your soil, and your garden will feed you.
24. Forage for wild berries, nuts and other edibles. Make sure you can identify them beyond a doubt and avoid sprayed lawns, busy roadsides and other polluted areas.
25. If you have a backyard, consider raising chickens. These are one of the easiest "pets" to care for. Feed them your table scraps and a few grains, let them find plenty of grass and bugs, and they will reward you with fresh eggs and plenty of entertainment.
These are only a few ideas for saving money on groceries, but you can come up with your own money saving techniques as well. Be creative, and have fun. Set goals for yourself and celebrate when you reach those goals. Make saving money on groceries a challenging game, rather than a chore, and you will be surprised at how much fun you have. There are all sorts of opportunities to express your creativity, whether inventing new recipes for beans and rice, planting your garden, decorating your table or bartering with a local farmer- a dozen eggs for your homemade apple pie. The possibilities are endless.
Tools for Saving Money on Groceries
- DonnaYoung.org: Homeschool Resources and Printables
Donnayoung.org offers free homeschool planners, printable resources, tips, lesson plans, book reviews, calendars, and household planners, including menus and grocery lists.