Saturday, February 7, 2009

Save Money on Groceries

Happy Saturday everyone! I don't know about you, but Saturdays are typically the day that my family goes to the grocery store and plans our meals for the week. I thought these tips might be useful for you and your family the next time that you go to the store! Happy shopping and saving!

Expert Advice:

1. "Plan ahead of time, and shop with a grocery list. Buy only what is on your list. Prior to that, you can plan your meals. We know it does work" to lower bills, said Carolyn Leperi, extension agent with the LSU AgCenter in St. Bernard Parish.
2. Plan quick meals of sandwiches or food you make in advance, for nights when family members will be busy with meetings, sports or school activities.
3. Use the weekly grocery ads and circulars as you plan. Focus menus on seasonal foods and vegetables, and what's on sale.
4. Have variety in the plan, so you don't get tired of the same old thing and be tempted to go out to eat.
5. Buy things that can be used multiple ways. Leperi suggested cooking a turkey as a healthful, inexpensive protein. You can use it in your favorite chicken dishes and put some in the freezer for future meals. A beef roast can be turned into pot roast, shish kebabs, shredded barbecue and sloppy joes.
6. Use coupons. Consumer Reports says Americans saved an estimated $30 billion with manufacturers coupons last year. Most of the 278 billion coupons redeemed last year came from Sunday newspaper sections.
Check manufacturers' Web sites for coupons for their products, as well as specialty Internet coupon sites.
7. Keep on hand the ingredients for a fast meal for nights there is nothing else to eat. A backup meal in your pantry or freezer can keep you from busting the food budget (or your diet) with delivered pizza or fast food.
8. Track contents of your pantry and freezer so you don't buy what you already have.
9. Keep a running grocery list. Any time something is used up or is almost gone, add it to the list.
Supermarket strategies
10. Never grocery shop when you're hungry. This is the No. 1 rule for controlling impulse purchases.
11. Shop alone if you can. If you have to take children, Tucker suggested letting them prepare their own grocery list of products they can actually pick up and put in the basket. Let them select a special fruit or vegetable that they really like.
12. If possible, grocery shop at a quiet time so you can compare prices. Leperi said Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best.
13. Even though you have your plan and list, be flexible enough to take advantage of any in-store specials you might find.
14. Ask for rain checks if a sale product is out of stock.

15. Avoid processed food whenever possible. For years the trend has been toward convenience, but processed food costs more. Last week at a New Orleans supermarket, containers of peeled, cut-up cantaloupe were $3.79 per pound. Nearby, the special price on jumbo cantaloupes was four for $5, or $1.25 each, for those who signed up for the free frequent-shopper card.
16. Stock up on basics when they are on sale.
17. Pay attention to unit pricing, the fine print on the little tags on the grocery shelves. It's an easy way to see how brands compare.
18. With meat, figure cost per serving instead of cost per pound. A pound of ground or boneless meat will make more servings than a pound with a lot of bone or fat.

Grocery Store Tricks and Tips

19. Know the secrets of the supermarket. They are scientifically designed to sell you groceries -- and not necessarily the ones you have on your list. Impulse purchase temptations lurk everywhere.
20. Beware the forced march through the aisles. Milk and meat are at the back of the store so shoppers must walk through the store to get to them.
21. Don't be tempted by the "end caps," the big stacks at the ends of each aisle. They do not always indicate a sale.

22. Look beyond eye level on the shelves. Manufacturers pay for this prime space. Look high and low for comparable items. This is where I almost always find the best deals!
23. Consider store brands. Store brands cost less because less money is spent on advertising and packaging. Savings can approach 50 percent.
24. Fight check-out temptation. Consumer Reports and other sources note that the candy-and-gum-and-magazine laden area right around the cash register is one of the most profitable areas of the store. Packages a few steps away are much more economical. I personally check out in the line where you can buy cigarettes, and where they are displayed because I don't smoke and that is not a temptation for me or my two year old son!
25. Buy day-old bread and keep it in the freezer for toast.
26. Choose plain frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables in special sauces are much more costly than plain frozen or canned vegetables. Also, watch the sodium levels in canned veggies.
27. When grilling outdoors, cook an extra entree to heat later in the week. Undercook the second meal just slightly so it will be perfect when reheated.
28. Switch to water or tea. Soft drinks are expensive.

29. Try store brand soft drinks, if you must have soft drinks.
30. Bring soft drinks from home, if you tend to buy drinks from the machine at work. This will save you tons of money!
31. Pack a lunch to take to work. Use up leftovers or "planned overs." I haven't eaten out for lunch in over two months, and it has saved so much I've dropped three pants sizes!

Ideas that may not be for everyone....but if you want to save, try them!

32. Drink tap water instead of bottled water. If you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 annually. The same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents."
33. Learn how to clean a fish. This could save you tons!

34. Make coffee at home. (Starbucks is raising prices, too.) Chill leftover coffee to use in iced coffee or lattes. Iced latte: Combine 1 part chilled coffee to 1/2 to 1 part milk and sweetener if desired. Stir well and pour over ice in a tall glass. Iced mocha: Add 1 or 2 squirts chocolate syrup to the milk and coffee.
35. Cut up your own produce and meat. Bonus: It's safer to eat, too. Many of the incidents of food-borne illness linked to fresh produce are traced to processing.
36. Grate your own cheese, carrots, cabbage, etc.
37. Buy the bigger package of snacks and repackage it into smaller bags yourself. This has saved us tons of money with our two year old! Plus, you're not tempted to overeat.
38. Find a shopping buddy, particularly if you're single or live in a small household. You can share big items or the price of gas to the supermarket, or the cost of a warehouse membership, where you can split large packages.
39. Plan to buy nothing but groceries at the supermarket. Toiletries cost 20 to 40 percent less at discount stores.
40. Shop at a farmers market. There are many benefits to this strategy. Here's one: The produce is so fresh it will last for weeks. This is one of our favorite family outtings on Saturdays in the Spring and Summer!
42. Change a flower bed to a mini vegetable garden.

43. Join a food co-op. Members order organic food online and split the cases as well as the work to sort it into individual orders.

44. Seek help if you need it. Many churches offer Angel Food programs. Participants do not have to be church members. Based in Monroe, Ga., the non-profit, non-denominational organization is now in 32 states. Angel Food is a medium-sized monthly box of fresh and frozen food for $30, generally enough to feed a family of four for about a week or one person for almost a month. The group's literature says the average retail value of food in the box is about $50. Menus change every month. For more information, see
45. Use one weekend to make and freeze food for a month of meals. Or make your own mixes for all kinds of dishes.

46. Buy a side of naturally raised, hormone-free beef (or pork).

47. Try stocking up when it's cheap and freezing milk. Full-fat or 2-percent works better than skim. Just be sure to pour off the top couple of inches so the jug doesn't explode when the milk expands. We do this a lot...just make sure to pull it out of the freezer a couple of days before you need it and move it to the takes a while to thaw.
48. Make your own whole-grain cereal with cholesterol-lowering oats. Store brands of old-fashioned oats were 7 to 11 cents an ounce last week.

49. On the weekend, make a double batch of a favorite recipe. Freeze or store half for another meal later in the week.
50. Eat more beans. Beans of all kinds are nutritional powerhouses. And added plus...they are super cheap!


L Shoeneman said...

Just dropping in to say HI...and I found your new blog!!!! How's etsy treating you!!! Anyway not sure why you changed blogs but looking forward to following your entries!

The Thrifty Trendsetter / LeahLee Designs said...

Hi! It's been a long time since we've talked. I hope you are doing well! Etsy's going well...definitely better than last time we talked. Anyway, I had to change blogs because apparently a company was going to trademark the "living on a dime" phrase, and they told me I had to shut it down or I would be sued. So....needless to say, I shut it down, and have started this blog. I'm glad you found me. How is your Etsy shop going?