These days, many people are searching for ways to cut monthly costs and to reduce overall spending. Food is typically one of the bigger expenditures of any family’s budget, and finding ways to save on groceries can add up to better family finances. Using the following tips and tricks can help you dramatically slash your grocery bill. All of these techniques have one thing in common – planning ahead – so make a point to schedule time to map out your grocery trip in advance.
One of the most effective ways to save money at the grocery store is to forgo the convenience of precut and/or individually portioned items. Sliced veggies, cubed fruit and preassembled crudités platters are much more expensive than bags of whole carrots or whole fruit. Buy big whenever possible and take one day each week to get all your chopping done.
This same rule applies to buying meat. Portioned-out dark meat and boneless skinless chicken breast are more expensive than whole or only partially portioned birds. Buying an entire chicken and separating the pieces at home to cook or freeze is easy and will save you lots of money. If you are not familiar with the method of breaking down a chicken, both www.foodnetwork.com and www.youtube.com offer tutorial videos. If you simply aren’t cutting up your own chicken, bulk packages of pre-cut chicken will save you money over packages that contain three or four pieces. You can then divide the packages and freeze in the quantities you need.
According to Good Housekeeping, some stores offer discounts on cases of goods. Speak with customer service or the store manager and save as much as 10 percent.
One of the best advantages of planning out your grocery trip ahead of time is the ability to cut down on food waste. Using each of your ingredients to the fullest will maximize your budget and make creating meals a breeze. There are two easy ways to avoid wasting food. The first is to plan out a week’s worth of dinners before you go shopping in order to carry over ingredients from one dish to the next.
The second easiest way to avoid wasting food is to buy frozen instead of fresh. Frozen vegetables are harvested when most ripe, so they have just as many nutrients as in-season fresh veggies. Even better, they won’t rot in your vegetable drawer if you forget to use them in time. Buy meat in bulk and freeze individual portions so that when it comes time to cook, you only have to thaw the amount that you intend to eat.
If you know that you usually have leftovers of a certain meal, plan to morph them into a second dinner, instead of buying supplies to make a second meal from scratch. For example, roast chicken can be made into chicken salad sandwiches, and almost anything can be placed on a pizza crust or bed of lettuce. Robin Miller of the Food Network is an expert at this method. She recommends doing the majority of prep for a week’s worth of meals on one day, gathering together all the components for each dinner ahead of time and placing them together in labeled bags in the fridge.
Stick to healthier options
Want to shrink your grocery bill while shrinking your pant size? A healthy diet can actually cost less than one full of large portions and processed food. Skip the snack aisle next time you’re at the grocery store and plan to eat veggies, fruit or leftovers if you’re hungry between meals. Substituting water for soda and juice will also cut your grocery bill and your calorie intake. Giving up meat one day a week is another great way to save money and help you drop pounds. Try using tofu or beans as a source of protein.
Saving money is a life skill that will never cease to be rewarding or useful. Remembering that frequent small savings can add up to big rewards will help you stay on track with your budget. Also, don’t think that coupons are not worth your time; Good Housekeeping magazine highly recommends using them to slash your bills.