Monday, February 28, 2011

Tips to Slash Your Grocery Bill

Food prices are going thru the roof but you can eat better and spend less.

Here's how:

1. Weigh the cost of home made vs. convenience foods
Convenience costs money. The closer you stay to basic, from scratch ingredients, the better.
From Scratch
Better, cheaper, healthier

2. Shop less and you'll spend less
If you usually shop once a week for food and spend $100 each time, shop every 10 days - 2 weeks instead.

You won't spend $200. More likely, you'll spend $150-175. The reason is that you'll likely buy less impulse and snack foods. Plus you'll save on gas and the drudgery of grocery shopping.

3. Shop on Tuesdays
It may sound silly but Tuesday is the day that grocery stores are the least likely to be crowded. You'll have the whole place to yourself and the check out lines will be short. When you're not stressed, there's less pressure and you'll make better choices.

4. Shop the top and bottom of the shelves
There's a saying in the grocery industry...."eye and thigh sells".

Eye level tempts you. Thigh level tempts your children. Manufacturers PAY grocery stores to display their products at eye and thigh levels.

In general, above eye level (on the higher shelves) you'll usually find products from smaller companies. Below thigh level, you'll find bulk and store brands.

5. Buy what's on sale
A given but you still have to be flexible. Take advantage of price reductions.  Don't buy salmon when chicken is cheaper.

Home made biscuits are easy
and so much cheaper
6. Make high mark up foods from scratch
Salad dressings, macaroni and cheese mixes, stuffing, cake mixes, deli salads, cookies and similar items are called high profit foods in the grocery industry. It doesn't cost much to make them and they can be sold at a huge profit. With a little practice and a good cook book, you can make these foods better, cheaper and healthier.

And, while you're at it, make your own bread.  A bread machine makes it easy.  Paying $5.00 for a loaf of bread - especially when your family eats 2, 3 or more loaves of bread a week - is a real budget buster!

Home made soup and chili
are great ways to use up
left overs

7. Never waste food
Make soup from limp vegetables. Put left over stew into the freezer for a day when you need dinner on the table fast. Simmer the bones from Sunday's roast chicken in the slow cooker to make stock. Grate dry bread for crumbs.

8. Don't buy soda
Soda is NEVER a beverage. Soda is a treat - a dessert, actually. It's an empty calorie "food" that costs a fortune and can do more harm to the body than good. Serve soda only on special occassions.

9. Concentrate on good health
Buy good quality, fresh foods from local sources whenever possible. They will taste better and feed your body the nutrients it needs. You'll have better health, spend less on medical care and buy fewer over the counter drugs.

Buy Fresh - Buy Local
10. Skip the junk
Chips, dips, lunch meats, hot dogs, smoked sausage, white flour products, packaged cereals, prepared frozen meals.... I could go on and on. All these foods may be fun to eat but they're horribly expensive when you consider the amount of food value they contain. Plus they are full of preservatives, nitrates, sugar and fillers.

11. Plant a garden
Start small.  A few herbs and a tomato plant are all it takes to get growing.  Add other plants as you have the time and ability. You'll be amazed at how much money you can save not to mention the fresh, air, exercise and delicious good taste that you'll be getting for free!

12.  Buy the right size
Don't automatically buy the larger size because it's cheaper.  Buy what you need.  If you wind up throwing away food, you've wasted your hard earned money.  And, by the way, bigger is not always cheaper.  It's the most popular size that's the cheapest so always check the unit prices.  It may be cheaper to buy 2 small packages of an item than 1 large package.

1 comment:

Judith said...

Great practical tips
I recommend keeping a copy in your purse or pocket and read before shopping.... simple yet any reminder helps me stay focused on my goals.