Secret ways to spend less on groceries each week while still feeding your family
When looking through your bank statement at the end of the month, it is always so surprising to see just how much we spend on food. We forget just how expensive groceries and restaurant meals can be. If we have a family with multiple mouths to feed, that expense can be even higher! While it is a truth universally acknowledged that we need food to survive, we do not have to break the bank to buy it. Before your next grocery store outing, review these tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your cart and grocery budget.
Buy dry instead of canned
Canned beans are cheap. They usually cost about a dollar per can. What is surprising though is how cheap it is to buy dry beans, particularly in bulk. Beans are super healthy, super affordable and super versatile while cooking. Instead of bulking up a plate by using carbs, try switching to beans for a less expensive alternative. Since they are full of protein, they can even be a substitute for meat. You do not have to cut meat out of your diet, but you could slightly reduce the amount of meat you buy each week. We have to admit that preparing dry beans does require a bit more work than canned. In the long run though, dry beans will save you money and will last you forever!
Only buy what you eat
This may seem obvious to some people, but while you are grocery shopping it is important you only get the foods you are going to eat during that week or time period before you go to the grocery store next. Throwing away food that has gone bad is throwing away money! Leftovers are our best friends, but letting leftovers go bad is just disappointing. Do your best to plan menus for the week so you know what you will need. Make a list before you go and stick to that list!!
Skip the meat
Meat can get very expensive to eat when you eat it for every single meal of the day. Instead of making meat your main entrée, try only eating it during a few meals a week. We mentioned this earlier with beans, but there are other alternatives as well. Substitute with protein-rich vegetables or grains like mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower, or quinoa. This will save you money on your weekly grocery store run because you are not purchasing as much or as often.
If you do choose to buy meat, look into purchasing larger cuts of meat. This will allow you to portion your meat into smaller portions and freeze them until later use. Your meat will last you twice or three times as long if you lessen your use of meat and freeze portions for later use. Try to buy frozen meat so that it stays better. If this is not an option, you could also buy refrigerated meat, cook it, and then freeze it for the future. Avoid freezing uncooked refrigerated meat. Doing so might make you sick.
Frozen is best
Fresh fruit can go bad very quickly especially when the fruit is not in season! Letting your food go bad is simply a waste of money. As an alternative, buy frozen fruit that you can store and use when you actually need it. Frozen fruit is not only cheaper than fresh fruit but will last forever in your freezer. Best of all, who does not love smoothies?
When you enter the grocery store, always be on the look-out for sale items. If there are frozen fruits or veggies on sale it is worth your money to stock up. Even if the food item is not already frozen, most likely it can be frozen to make it last longer. Paying attention to weekly deals, current coupons or becoming a “shopping member” are all ways to ensure you are getting the best price. Sale items make all the difference for your bank account so take advantage of them on items you use! Plus, many grocery store memberships are entirely free, and some even offer points for you to save money on gasoline for your car. There is no downside to signing up.
Along with making sure you only buy the foods you are going to eat, meal planning for the following week after your grocery store trip will help keep you on track at the grocery store. Check sales before you start planning to utilize ingredients that you can buy at a discount. Bring your list and a pen with you to the store and mark through as you go through the aisles to make sure you are not forgetting anything. You can also use your list to check that you are only buying what you need. Take your list a step further by organizing for each department for maximum efficiency. Doing so will allow you to speed through the aisles of the store, thus saving you time.