Save Money on Groceries
There are just so many things that you can do to cut costs on groceries. The old standby of course, is to cut coupons to save on
food and non-food items. but what if you don’t use coupon type products (we don’t use 95% of the kind of food/products that come with coupons). We eat a lot of fresh foods like veggies and fruit and meat which generally don’t have coupons. What do I
Note: I have fed a family of 9 on $900 a month and we eat well. And I still find ways to shave of dollars. Oh and yes, we do buy pizzas and stop for coffees – just not as often as the average consumer.
Here are just a few tips I have learned over the years:
#1 – Buy what is on sale
This is another big “duh” but many shoppers still don’t pay attention to the sale papers – I know I didn’t. This is true confession time – There was a time when I skipped this step and preferred to just shop at Costco. After all, Costco prices are really great. I just figured that their prices were the best for all the items I needed so I only went to Safeway for the dozen items I couldn’t get at Costco. I am a busy person and so I would cut out steps that I thought would save me time. And I hated to make so many stops to buy groceries.
But finally the time came that I saw that all those stops would make a difference in my budget – a big difference often as much as $100 savings a month. I began to do some serious comparison shopping. The Economides book, America’s Cheapest Family, talks about a price book where you record the prices for each of the purchases you would make at all the stores in your area. Then you calculate the cost per unit (either per ounce or per pound).
For example, I found that the per ounce price of Cheerios at Costco was not always the best price. I know for a fact, too, that the price per pound for ground beef is always less expensive when Safeway has a sale (and I don’t buy the cheap burger, either).
So take my advice, make it a habit to spread out the papers when you get them (we get ours on Tuesdays).
For example, if you always use chicken breasts, then make sure to stock up on them when they cheap. I suggest though, that if whole chickens are really low priced, it might make sense to learn how to use a whole bird. I think it was in The Complete Tightwad Gazette (part II) that Amy said a gal compared ground turkey to a whole turkey ounce for ounce and found that the whole turkey was still cheaper. Even a normal priced chicken or turkey will cost less than ground chicken or turkey and you get so much more mileage.
Now you plan your meals around what you got on sale.
#2 – Things I never buy unless they are on sale:
Nuts, chocolate, raisins, lunch meats & hot dogs, chips and snacks – any prepared items that we like. Yes, I like Nacho cheese Doritos on my taco salad. The trick I use is to crush the whole bag of chips and bag the portions so we don’t snack the bag empty. That way I have chips ready to toss into my taco salad but they last for 3 more salads.
Watch those nut prices! One time they’ll be $3 a pound for pecans to $6 within a month! So, I buy pecans and almonds when the prices are low and freeze them! Nuts become rancid in a matter of months. Rancid nuts not only taste bad, they aren’t good for you.
Same with chocolate chips. Store them in the freezer. It becomes off tasting in time so keep chocolate under refrigeration or freeze them.
As far as prepared foods like lunch meats, hot dogs and chips, I will not buy them unless they are on sale. These prices are overinflated anyway. This also builds into our budget a limit to those kinds of “treat” foods.
7/2017 Preface to this article: I have a smaller family now and I no longer do bulk buying. Still, the info here is useful as a resource for those who are still buying for a larger family.
I’ll be recommending more tips in the future because this is a biggie. Please send in your own ideas on how you save $$ on the grocery bill.