Thursday, February 4, 2010

Top 20 ways to save on groceries

When I started my blog a little over a year ago, this was one of my first post. I must say I am a better speller and use my words much better now lol. I altered it a little bit due to us moving and my spending habits are not the same. But the main subject is the same and hopefully it can help you save some money.

1. Shop alone-OMG really did you need to put this on the list? As a mom, this is a big tip. How many times did you find things in your cart that you didnt put in? Or realized after you drove home that you were over charged but didnt notice because you were tired of telling the kids to stop fighting? Uhh huhhh. Need I go on? Trade babysitting days with a friend so both you can go shopping without the kids. Save yourself a bundle this way.

2.Buy only what you need-This will save you a ton. Instead of getting things because they sound good, get them because you need them. Think "Do I really need that icecream that is $5?" 95% of the time the answer is NO! Or even better bring a list of things you need or are out of. This is a good tip that I forget. 

3. Supersize-You usually get the best price on meats when you buy the larger cuts of meat. You can have them cut it for you and pay the same price for not cut meat. You can repackage it and freeze it for later use. I used to buy packages of chicken legs for .99 cents per lb, split them up and refreeze them. My girls have since become vegetarians so now I just buy one large pack that will last us parents for a while.  

4.DIY and save-Of course if you do it yourself, its gonna be cheaper. My kids just love those small packages of crackers with cheese or peanut butter in them. I buy regular saltines ($1.25 box) and just throw some peanut butter between them. Done. I paid pennies vs the $1.50 for 6 small packs of 6. I DIY everything. No boxed meals, no prepared meals, no easy too cook just add water anything. My kids now prefer me cooking this way. They get stomach aches from any prepared anything. Too much sodium and preservatives.

5.Dont over purchase-this is a big thing for me. I refuse to pay certian prices for things. I wont buy it unless it stays within my price range. We will just adjust and move on. Produce, refuse to pay more than $1 per lb. Meat no more than $1 per lb. When it goes on sale, I stock up. I make a plan to spend only a certian amount on anything. I shop enough to know whats a good deal and whats not. Another bad habit I had was when payday came, I went and bought everything I thought we needed and came home to find I already had that item. SO frustrating! So now I make a list of what we need and keep in mind seasonal items on sale. I no longer write down red peppers, instead I write seasonal veggies. I will adapt my cooking around what is on sale. So if red peppers are not on sale, I skip them. But if broccoli is on sale, its broccoli for the week. 

6.Say "So long to snack packs!"-These are just smaller less expensive packs but if you add up how many small packs are usually in 1 box and compare, your spending more $. Plus usually these items are not healthy. No snack packs in our house unless they are freebies I recieved in the mail. We save those for long trips to events or family outings.  How about letting the kids make their own snack packs. Throw some crackers, dried fruit, and maybe some nuts and there you go. A healthy snack on the go.

7. Weigh your choices-When you see oranges $1 per pound, then you see 4 lb oranges in a bag for $1.98. HHmmm which do you choose. Of course the bag. Your paying only 50 cents per lb instead of $1. Do your math. You cant always judge a orange by picking up each and every one and choosing them. The bag has done all this work for you. Do the math! Also another great tip is to weigh the 4lb bag. Do you really thing those bags weigh 4 lbs each? Exactly 4 lbs? No, so weigh each one and buy the one that weighs the most. 

8. Go generic-Why buy Ritz Crackers for $3.50 a box when I can get Winco brand ritz type crackers that taste the same for only $1.68?  There is no differance between these crackers. They are just price differances. Do yourself a favor and get generic brands. The only reason I will ever buy name brand is if I have a coupon or the item is on sale for cheaper. We eat whats healthy, on sale and cheaper. If I do find that one cracker box is healthier than the other but 10 cents more, I buy the healthier one. Use your best judgement.

9. Compare cost per lb or per unit-Those places like Costco and Sams Club are not always deals. I found that buying diapers with coupons, sales, etc were so much cheaper than getting a big box from these places. Sometimes I get them for free. So remember if you get coupons from these brands, certian stores have them for cheaper, etc. Places like Winco have info on their tags. They tell you how much per ounce each item is so you know which is the best deal. I love this feature! 

10.Make friends with the butcher-Ask your local butcher what days and times they do their markdowns. My local Safeway and Fred Meyers do theirs about every other day right after opening. So I hit them up around 10am. Not too early and not too late. Never hurts to ask. Maybe plan your shopping days around this. Fred Meyers does theirs early so I have to be there around 9am-10am. Most stores are glad to tell you this information because the less they have to throw out means the make some sorta profit from the items. 

11.Check out the chicks-A precooked roaster chicken is just a chicken they cooked and marked at a higher price. Dont pay more for a differant label, just buy the whole uncooked chicken and cook it. Much cheaper and you can control the sodium, and how much spices go into it. Plus you will have cash left over in your pocket. Don't forget to save the bones and make broth which saves you even more money.

12.Think ahead-If your family never finishes a bowl of noodle casserole, then take 1/3 out that you know they wont eat and freeze it before you even bring it to the table. Use it for a lunch later. Same goes for any other meal. 1 whole chicken will be 1 dinner plus 3 lunches for my husband. Plus the bones will be turned into broth. My $4 investment has now turned into many many other things.

13. Invest in a second freezer. My last house had a new huge fridge so I never had to worry about freezer space. But my new home here is an older one and has a standard tiny fridge. My freezer was so so so tiny.  We saved up for 6 months and finally bought a new freezer. Yeah!~You can stock pile up on stuff like meat, vegies, and specials. Try to get a Energy Star one so you can save on energy as well. Right now this economy is trying to recover so there are tons of specials., rebates, etc. Take advantage! Remember to do it yourself with food. Chop your own peppers and onions and freeze them. Great for any Mexican food. Chop and freeze your own everything if you can.

14. Shop with left overs in mind-Like whole chickens stated in #12. Or left over turkey. Rethink these items. I save left over dark meat chicken for soups. Much more moist and yummier! so keep in mind this when your shopping. Instead of buying a pack of meat, just buy what you need to go with that meat you already have in your freezer.  Rethink your left overs.

15.Learn when to leave left overs way! Just doesnt work.  Make what you need with these items. Why make a huge batch of salad when it wont last overnight? Remember these things when your making your food. 

16.Count on discount and clearance stores-Grocery Outlet is fabulas store that sells items that are overstock, froze at sell date, testing products, smashed packaging, etc. I LOVE this store. So I usually will hit this store up before I go to my major shopping. Everything is always cheaper there. Learn where these discounted stores are and hit them up first. Or if you have a favorite store of yours that has discounted spots, hit those spots first. 

17. Visit price clubs with a friend-  I have a Costco card but do not shop there much. Luckily we get it free from my husband's work, otherwise I would not pay for one. I do go there about once a month with my mom so we can split things. Bag of onions $3 we split. Sometimes specialty meat we split. About the only thing I dont split is yeast for making bread and frozen corn. My usual bill from Costco is about $30. I find better deals in other places.

18.Buy a Sunday or Wednesday paper-Im a little torn with this one. Most of the coupons out there are for items that are prepackaged foods, and most are not healthy. I rarely use coupons so I dont buy the paper. Most people think you have to have a paper to get coupons, not true. You can print your own these days on many coupon sites, you can print them off of product websites, and you usually get coupons when you sign up for samples. Very rarely will I use coupons anymore. Only time I do is if the coupon is for butter, olive oil, or maybe healthy snack food. So if you eat super healthy like me, no paper is needed. But if you do eat some prepared food, might be worth your money to get a Sunday paper. 

19. cut corners on clipping coupons-You can find other ways to get coupons and not have to buy the paper. Most freebies come with coupons, one day a week the "food day" paper comes in my driveway with current store ad's, and you can email companies asking if they can send you coupons. I do all thee above! 

20. Stock up on local seasonal produce-I buy only seasonal produce. Right now pumpkins,etc are on sale. I buy that and freeze them. Use them for later. I do this all year and manage to get my produce for an average of 50 cents per pound. Which is a good deal. So alter your meals around this tip alone and save hundreds each year. Plus how much fun is it to cook differantly every time? My kids can look foward to certian things on each season. They know not to ask for strawberries in December unless we had picked them and froze them for later use. I love that when my children think of Fall, they think of hot cider and pumpkin muffins. Or during the summer they think of strawberries, peaches and tomato's. 

Bring your calculator always! How else are you going to figure out if you should buy the store brand or the major brand with a coupon? Always always always bring a calculator!!

1 comment:

MyGreenSide said...

Great tips... especially Tip #1! I'm usually so distracted when I shop with one or both of my little girls that I usually buy things I don't need and get home without the things I went to the store to get!