- Keep a price book, a little booklet in which you record how much things cost at different stores. If a warehouse store has a good deal on something, make a monthly trip to it and do without if you run out in the meantime. But don’t be fooled that the warehouse stores automatically have the best deal on everything. Once you start writing things down, you’ll be amazed at where you sometimes find good bargains! Keep your grocery list updated with the lowest prices.
- Notice the price of dried beans vs. canned! Yikes! Buy the dry ones and learn to cook them, then freeze in 2 cup portions. Make bean soups and cornbread for dinner. Serve beans as a side dish.
Notice the price of canned broth vs. FREE! Okay, you have to pay something to heat the stove and it’s better with some seasonings…but learn how to make chicken broth and freeze it in one cup portions so you can pull it out when you want. (Use cleaned yogurt, margarine, whatever containers to freeze the broth, then take it out of there and pop the portions in a freezer bag.)
- Coupons are great if they are for things you normally buy. Most of the ones I see are for heavily processed foods, which are both unhealthy and expensive. But your mileage may vary.
- Watch out for the packaged stuff. If you have kids, use that magic younger age to your advantage. My eldest was about 8 before she figured out that “lunchable” was a box you bought in the grocery store. Until then, when she asked for a “lunchable” to take to lunch, we cut up turkey or salami, packaged some crackers, sliced some cheese and she was in heaven! (Of course, she was also about that age when she figured out that the “music truck” also sold ice cream!) Sometimes packaged things can be convenient when you’re short on time and money. Try making your own baking mix for a compromise.
- Make expensive items treats, rather than everyday standards. Red meat is expensive. Eat it once a week and cut your grocery bill down.
- Double up on meals sometimes and stock a few of your own freezer meals for crazy days. Much cheaper than take-out!
- Learn to make your own salad dressings and marinades.
- Use a slow cooker rather than your oven, especially in the summer. It will keep the house cooler and costs less to run than an oven.
- Organize your food storage to avoid waste.
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