Everyone likes to save money, especially during the holiday season. A few simple strategies can help you slice some serious dollars off of your grocery bill while reducing those dreaded “Ugh, what’s for dinner?” moments.
1. Plan and Partner
A little planning can help you transform last night’s leftovers into a new and exciting meal. Think in terms of “meal partners.” Sunday’s pot roast can easily turn into Monday night’s hot sub sandwiches. Roast Chicken becomes a delicious and easy soup. Having a plan means you’ll be less likely to resort to wallet-busting take-out.
2. Beware of the Warehouse Store
A five-pound can of spaghetti sauce may seem like a good deal, but it won’t save you money if three pounds of it spoils. Larger quantities don’t automatically mean cheaper. Note how much the item costs per ounce at your supermarket before deciding if it’s a good deal at the warehouse store.
3. Know Where to Shop
Sure, you’ll do well to get most of your basics at a supermarket, but you’ll also find surprising values at outlet stores, grocers that cater to businesses, local produce markets and ethnic grocers.
4. Discover Bulk Foods
Bulk spices are an especially good value. A one-ounce jar of name-brand oregano costs about $4. The same amount in bulk costs as little as 20 cents. Hello, 20 cents! Also consider buying foods you eat daily, like yogurt, in bulk.
5. Use Coupons Carefully
Coupons are a smart way to save for trying new products, stocking up on staples or even occasional splurges, but don’t use coupons on items you wouldn’t normally buy.
6. Rethink Convenience
Slickly packaged items rarely save you money and don’t always save much time. Take instant rice, for example. It costs four times as much per serving and only saves you 15 minutes.
7. Buy Now - Eat Later
When produce or meat is cheap, buy it and freeze it. Larger cuts of meat can be re-wrapped in meal-size portions then frozen.
8. Limit Eating Out
You can cook an easy, healthy meal at home for less than most fast food meals. Start by cutting the number of times you eat out each month by half.
9. Find a Few Low-Cost, go-to Meals
Add a few meals to your weekly menu that you can make for little money. Try breakfast for dinner--eggs are versatile and only a few cents each. Pancakes are another cheap and easy treat.
10. Limit Trips to the Store
See #1 above. When you have a plan, you'll save time and money by not having to stop at the store every day. Plus, you won't be tempted to buy impulse items.
Remember, groceries are one of your most flexible expenses and a few small changes will add up quickly. Make the most out of your money by putting that money you save each month into an interest bearing Savings account and you'll save even more!