Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Years Resolution Solution: Save Money (Grocery Shopping Tips)


The next few posts will be focused on solutions or tips to keeping up some of the most common new years resolution. This particular post is all about saving money when grocery shopping. Many people I know almost always say that one of their New Year resolution is to be more financially responsible/save more money. Since we go grocery shopping every week or sometimes every two weeks this is a great opportunity to find some significant savings on your future grocery trips.  Here are some great ways to save on your grocery budget without using coupons. I'm all for using coupons when I have them but I do not make time to make a job out of couponing. My life and patience just won’t allow for that. =)



Make a mENU

This tip is so helpful. There is nothing worse than getting to the store and standing there trying to figure out what you might want to fix for dinner. This usually ends up in you buying more than you should or only buying part of the ingredients, which sends you back to the store to spend even more, especially when you pick up extras on the trip back. Making a menu not only keeps you organized but it helps you save on your grocery budget. This also gets you in and out of the store quickly.



MAKE A LIST

I never ever go to the grocery store without a list. That is where things begin to go quickly downhill. You begin just throwing things in the buggy without thinking and end up spending way more than you intended to. Make a list before you go to the grocery store. Sticking to your list helps you to save even more.



SHOP SALES

Shop sales in the grocery store. If you can, get hold of the sales paper before you go to the grocery store(most grocery stores will have weekly ads online as well). Scan it and plan your list around it, taking advantage of the best sales to get more for your money. Sometimes it is even wise to buy just a little bit ahead to have for future meals. For example, you might want to pick up an extra barbecue sauce if it is on sale for the next time you are in the mood for ribs.



DON'T BE SCARED TO SHOP GENERIC

There are certain products that are name brand that I'd never want to swap out for a generic version, but I also have a lot more products that I choose to buy generic. If you are not sure which products that you would like in generics, you just have to learn that through trial and error. You can always go back to name brand products.



BUY IN BULK

I try to buy in bulk. I don't buy in larger quantities than I can use but I do purchase a lot of things in bulk if I feel fairly certain that I can use them. The prices are almost always lower when you buy in bulk. I am even more likely to buy in bulk when it comes to cleaning products and hygiene products because their shelf life tends to be very long. Take a moment to compare sizes when you are shopping and see which is the better buy.




 SHOP WHAT’S IN SEASON

It's good to learn what is in season at what time of year. This can help you to plan what to buy. For example, I enjoy apples and pumpkin items the most in the fall and early winter and melons and berries the most in the summer. This is when the prices on those items are best. Do a little research to learn more about this subject. A little research can go a long way in helping you save money.






    Individually PACKAGE things YOURSELF 
Buying things that are individually packaged is almost always going to cost you more than purchasing the product and portioning it out yourself. If you're like me and like to bring your lunch to school/work daily then this will be a great tip. Portioning things out may sound like a hassle but it only takes a few minutes. What you lose by taking those extra minutes to portion out you're meal you'll make up for it in money savings and it'll help you to watch your portion sizes which will come in handy if you're watching your weight. 


                      STOCK UP ON SALE ITEMS USED REGULARLY



Chances are good that you have items that appear on your grocery list every week.  Frequently used items like eggs, cheese, bread etc. Since these foods don’t spoil overnight, I buy up to a month’s worth when I see them on sale. This can add up to deep discounts, like a savings of $1-2 per item. $1-2 per item may seem very small but think about it. If these are the items that you're using almost everyday for every week for a year those $1-2 can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings per year. Chances are good that they’ll be back on sale by the time I need to buy them again. 



                      MEAL PLAN WITH ITEMS YOU ALREADY HAVE




A really easy way to save money at the grocery store is to take advantage of items that you already have. Before planning your next week’s worth of meals, check to see what food you have in your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry.  

Ask yourself questions like this:
Is there meat in your freezer that you can use?
Do you have frozen vegetables in your freezer?
What kind of sauces do you have in your refrigerator?
Is there pasta in your pantry that you can use?
What kind of canned goods do you have?

Then, plan meals that include the food that you've found. Look around and get inspired by what you already own. It won’t cost you a penny. Not only will you cut down on the amount of food that you have to buy at the grocery store, you’ll also make sure that you’re using the food that you own BEFORE it goes bad. 


                                           FREEZE PRODUCE SALE ITEMS



One of my favorite ways to eat healthy on a budget is to buy produce in bulk when it goes on sale and freeze it for later use. Simply prepare the produce for how you’re going to use it while cooking and freeze in plastic freezer bags. (Most food will stay fresh in a standard freezer for up to 3 months.)

For example, red peppers and green peppers were on sale for $.99/lb last week so I bought 3 of each. (They normally cost $2.99/lb at my local grocery store.) When I got home, I washed, seeded, and chopped the peppers and stored each pepper in its own quart-sized freezer bag. (Because most of my recipes call for one pepper at a time.) Then I organized all of the quart-sized bags into one gallon-sized bag.

I also freeze these fresh foods:

Broccoli (chop the florets and freeze in a bag)
Strawberries (cut off the tops and freeze for smoothies)
Bananas (peel and cut in half for smoothies – Tip- Freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting them into a bag so they don’t stick together)
Spinach (freeze in bags and use in smoothies)

Ginger (peel and/or grate them to add to recipes or to make ginger tea)
Not only will you save money, you’ll save time when you’re ready to use the frozen produce because it’s ready to go. 



These tips will help you to save money at the grocery store without using coupons. What do you do to save money on your grocery budget? I would love to learn from you!



Live long and prosper...

0 comments: