Grocery shopping is expensive. No matter how much you budget, it seems like you can never lower the cost of food. Due to the amount of money you spend each week, it feels like a great insult when vegetables are left to rot and leftovers go uneaten. That might as well be money you’re throwing away. Unlike the other cuts in your budget, food is a necessity your family can’t go without, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars a week at the store. Here are some easy ways to cut back on your bill, without cutting back on your meals.
Buy store brands
Don’t be fooled into thinking that big brands are better value, often there is very little difference between them and the store brands. Check the labels to make sure the ingredients are the same, then save at least a dollar for the stuff you buy regularly.
Buy in season
We all want to get our families to eat more fruit and vegetables, but they seem pretty expensive compared to unhealthy food. Especially when most of the time they lie forgotten in the vegetable drawers for weeks. To keep the costs down on your produce purchases, try to stick to fruits and vegetables that are in season. Pears are in season during November and December and are less expensive during those months than they are throughout the rest of the year.
Buy with coupons
If you don’t already use coupons when you shop, why not? They are essentially free money. You can use them to treat yourself, or just to save money on your weekly shopping list. Check your local paper, or supermarket weeklies for a list of coupons and use them to plan your meals for the week. Every penny counts, so if you don’t download this extreme couponing sample now, you’ll hate yourself later.
Buy from independent shops
If you’re a bit of an amateur chef who likes to experiment with spices, consider buying them from an independent international grocer. You’re likely to get a bigger quantity at a better quality and a cheaper price. Be sure to also check out their other stock; they may sell a few items at a cheaper price than big supermarkets. At the very least, an independent grocer will stock in-season produce and they will be eager to sell it so they will offer it at a discounted price.
Buy when you have nothing left
It’s tempting to have fresh stock in the fridge at all times, but you can save yourself time and money if you use up all the produce in your cabinets before you go to the store. Even if it means you’re serving up a leftover casserole for dinner, at least you’ll be comfortable knowing that you got your value for money. Besides, teaching kids how to make meals from practically nothing will be a good skill when they go to college. Use Supercook if you get stuck for ideas.