Are you struggling to stick to your supermarket budget? Do you agonize over the choices you make during your weekly shopping? Does your grocery bill make you break out in a cold sweat? If all the sparkle and fun have been drained from your grocery shopping sprees and you are aiming to save some money on your next trip to the store, do not despair—there are some pretty simple ways to cut down on your food budget but still fill your cart with healthy and delicious items.
Some people love a good coupon clipping session, but if you’re looking for some easy-to-use tactics that don’t call for an afternoon armed with scissors, this list is a great place to begin. Become a savvy shopper and sail through those racetrack aisles with confidence and aplomb, full of the knowledge that you’re saving money without sacrificing the quality of the contents in your basket.
From buying more vegetables and loving leftovers, to storing food correctly and spotting the right kind of bargain, there are many ways to save money on food. Try any or all of these tips to cut your grocery bill in half!
If, in the middle of your shopping, you suddenly discover that an item on your list is more expensive than expected, think about coming up with a more affordable substitution. Choose broccoli instead of cauliflower, frozen cherries instead of fresh, domestic ham instead of fancy imported ham… you get the idea!
There’s nothing like a shopping basket full of fresh vegetables, but sometimes it is actually better to grab a bag from the frozen aisle. If that big bunch of kale you had your heart set on seems a bit too expensive, check out the price of frozen kale and you may be pleasantly surprised. Buying frozen vegetables can also cut down on food waste. If you know you’ll never finish that giant head of cauliflower before it goes bad, then it’s handy to have a bag stashed in the freezer.
If you are struggling to decide between a store brand product and a big brand, always go with the in-house item. It’s almost certainly the same thing and will save you lots of money in the long run.
Compare the unit price of similar items to make sure you’re getting the best deal. One might initially seem cheaper, but if the until size is actually smaller, you’re just paying less for less, which isn’t really a bargain.
A sure-fire way to spend less at the supermarket is to buy more fresh produce and buy less meat. Just look at the price per unit and you’ll realize your dollar will go a lot further in the produce section! When planning meals, make sure the focus is more on fruits, vegetables, and grains and less on meat. Why not try meatfree meals interspersed throughout the week? There are so many great vegetable-based dishes, you won’t miss the meat—that’s a promise!
So much money is wasted because people do not eat their leftovers. Leftovers don’t have the best reputation, but with a little bit of thought they can become delicious meals in their own right. Turn last night’s pasta into tomorrow’s frittata and save those precious pennies!
Keep your eyes peeled for any daily specials, or items with a reduced price. Stores often cut the price of daily items like bread or items with a shorter shelf life, like fish, toward the end of the day. The items are perfectly safe to consume; the store just wants to get rid of them before it has to throw them away.
We’ve all been there— you go to the store, thinking you only need a couple of essentials to get you through the week, and 45 minutes later, you stagger out, laden with bags that are full-to-bursting, with a receipt a mile long, trailing behind you. Make a list before you leave home, stick to it, and you’re much more likely to leave with a basket that is healthy and affordable.
Instead of spending money for mixes that someone else has put together, combine your own dry ingredients or spices and make your own blends! A bonus is that you can tailor them to your taste buds and add a little more or less of whatever you want—no need to be bound by the box (or jar)!
Plan what you’re going to be cooking before you go to the store, and you’ll cut down on those random, midweek shopping trips. You know the ones, where you go in for one thing and come out overloaded with items you don’t really need?!
It definitely makes sense to buy things when they’re on sale, and if you’re trying to stick to your budget, making the most of items on sale can really help. But it’s important not to buy groceries simply because they are on sale. Before you jauntily throw whatever-it-is in your shopping cart, assess the situation. Is it something you would buy if it weren’t on sale? Is it something you can buy instead of something else that’s on your shopping list?
Seasonal produce tends to be cheaper, and you might find some great local bargains, so stick to fresh corn on the cob during the summer and asparagus in the spring. It may be obvious, but seasonal fruit and vegetables simply taste better when they’re in season, so even if money is no problem, you should buy seasonally anyway.
Last but not least, a great way to save money on your grocery spending is to properly store the stuff you buy. Extending the life of your fresh produce by smart storage will ensure it won’t go bad before you use it up. After all ,wasted food is wasted money, right? So why not learn how to eat better and save money with these refrigerator tips?
More from The Daily Meal: