Saving food is one of the biggest budget challenges. Essen is a big monthly expense – right up there where housing, transportation and education costs are incurred.
According to the USDAThe average family of four spends an average of $ 150 to $ 250 a week on food at home.
I’ve always been a conscious donor, but I doubled even more a few years ago when I was fired by a corporate wellness nutritionist. We switched from two full-time incomes to a household with 1.5 incomes.
I MUCH reduced my food expenses, which also forced me to watch out for food wastage.
Healthy and sustainably grown food is important to me, even on a small budget. This includes some organically grown and locally grown products that can easily increase costs. Fortunately, eating doesn’t have to cost a fortune this way if you are going to.
My husband and I now earn an average of less than $ 100 a week on groceries. We buy some of our groceries from Sprouts, Whole Foods and other local health food stores.
With the following methods, we have saved money on food at some point while eating healthy and nutritiously dense food.
How to save money on food by planning ahead
1. Find joy in cooking
First of all, it is helpful to cook even a little. This part of the process took a long time.
I only really learned to cook when I was 30. In my previous life, I’d rather just spend the extra money and pick up food on the go.
However, if you slow down at home and cook food, you not only save money, but also ensure a good sense of achievement. It also helps promote a better relationship with food and the environment.
Master one skill at a time and start with your favorite simple dishes. Tacos, quesadillas, pizza and tin pan dishes are great beginner dishes to start cooking at home.
2. Buy the pantry first
There is a possibility that there is food in the pantry and fridge just waiting to be combined with a meal. Before planning meals or writing a grocery list, take stock of the information already available.
This also prevents the double purchase of an ingredient that may already be lurking on the back of the spice cabinet or in the vegetable drawer.
3. Use what is available
Once all the food has been inventoried, consume it! Let the creative juices flow and see how many different food ideas you can come up with. Frittatas, hashish and pan dishes are great ways to consume additional ingredients and reduce food waste.
Occasionally we do a pantry challenge and try to consume all of the items we have on hand before the next grocery store. It’s always fun to see how far we can extend the next shopping spree and how much money it saves!
4. Check the store sales
It is always a good idea to check in-store sales before planning meals. Building your meals on items for sale can save you time and money compared to planning then looking for sales.
For example, I love scallops. Scallops at regular prices can easily be over $ 20 a pound, so I only buy them when they are severely reduced.
5. Use the Flipp app to view all sales in one place
Flipp is my go-to app for checking store sales. You can search for the best deals and discounts in one place in over 2,000 newsletters.
And it’s not only available to save money on groceries. It includes hardware stores, drug stores, electronics and more!
6. Cash back apps
Free money just to buy groceries or buy your favorite brands? Yes, please! Ibotta, Shopkick and Fetch are the most popular apps for making extra money that can save you food!
My favorite app (and by far the easiest one) is Get rewards. Store and scan receipts from virtually any retail store that sells groceries and / or household items, and collect points for gift cards.
1,000 points = 1 USD and at 3,000 points you can request gift cards to almost every major retail chain you can imagine! Earning points is so easy and some people earn multiple gift cards every week. Here’s how:
- Recommend friends and family.
- Ask a significant other or family member to keep their receipts for you.
- Scan random receipts that you find in the parking lot or that remain in the self-check-out receipt printer. Free money!
- Integrate items with higher scoring levels into your weekly meal plan.
Click the image below to use my referral code and automatically earn $ 2 Registration bonus!
7. Plan to go to the grocery store on Wednesdays
Some grocery stores have overlapping weekly ads. This means that there are twice as many sales items available on one day of the week, usually on Wednesdays.
Sprouts is a large grocery chain that offers double advertising on Wednesday. Shopping the same day a new ad appears is also the best way to ensure that items are available.
I’m not a fan of coupons just to have a pantry full of ready meals and other items that may expire before they’re ever used.
If you are already buying discount brands, there are unfortunately not many vouchers available. It is also good to know that there are generally no vouchers for fresh products and whole foods.
However, it is a good idea to use coupons for your favorite brands, especially for non-perishable or hygiene items. They often come by post or can be downloaded from the manufacturer or store website!
9. Use a cash back credit card
This is only for responsible credit card holders. Do not use a credit card if you cannot pay it off in full every month.
However, certain credit cards offer up to 5% off grocery purchases. The Amazon Prime card gives you 5% off Whole Foods purchases that can be redeemed for cashback, gift cards, travel or to pay for other Amazon purchases.
10. Open a store loyalty account
Sign up for branch loyalty accounts to be notified of special offer days or sales. Typically, every purchase will earn points that can be used for a future purchase, gas discounts, or free items.
11. Know what’s in season
Familiarize yourself with the foods that grow best in every season to ensure you get the best price and taste! For example, North American citrus fruits grow and ripen best in late fall through early spring.
Have you ever tried to buy grapefruit or Meyer lemons in the summer? They are probably expensive, are flown in from abroad and do not taste nearly as good. Use this helpful guide to view seasonal foods for your state.
12. Meal plan
Never make a meal plan before inventorying a pantry, checking in-store sales, and most importantly, shopping! Some claim that it is best to buy the offers first. then to plan. Most of the time, this leads to a crowded kitchen and more money.
Review your schedule and realistically see how much time it takes to prepare and cook meals. Overloading means that food is wasted and essentially money is thrown away.
The average family of four throws away $ 1,500 a year on wasted groceries AND spends $ 3,000 only on restaurants.
Finally, leave the lavish meals for weekends or special occasions.
Enter your email address below to receive my 5 × 5 meal planning guide (My favorite way to the menu). I select five main ingredients and mix them with other pantry staple foods to create five or more meals and snacks!
13. Incorporate more plant-based meals
Vegetarians spend nearly $ 750 less a year on food than meat eaters, according to a U.S. government study Magazine for hunger and environmental nutrition.
Meat, seafood and dairy products can jack up food tabs. Looking at the price per pound, there is vegetarian protein from beans, legumes and other vegetable sources significant more budget-friendly.
Add a few meatless meals to the weekly menu!
14. Create a meal rotation
Save time and money with a changing weekly menu of your favorite dishes at affordable prices.
Schools, hospitals and long-term care facilities all have changing weekly menus to ensure easy and effective meal preparation. This could look like a vegetarian black bean quesadilla served for lunch every third Monday, for example.
15. Create a shopping list
This is of course. Make a shopping list and stick to it. No impulse purchases!
It is even better to keep a visible shopping list somewhere in the kitchen. If you run out of basic ingredients or are consuming a basic food, add it to the list. This ensures that you never forget an ingredient and avoid multiple trips to the store.
16. Replace the recipe ingredients with an existing article
Check the shopping list for ingredients that can be replaced by existing items. Save money by using what you have and by ensuring that nothing is wasted.
I often do with spices and salad dressings. Tartar, marinara and pasta sauces are easy to make with pantry staples and spices, which I always have on hand.
17. Buy Sans Kids or the spouse who spends money
Leave the children and not so economical companions at home when they distract. My bottomless pit of a man can’t resist supermarket sushi. I can always bet the food bill will be higher if he comes along.
Nowadays, children watch TV less and spend more time online. Spend food marketers Billions of dollars for digital advertising spend for apps, games, streaming videos and practically wherever children hang out online.
How to save money on groceries in the store
18. Use the delivery or pick-up service
Harris Teeter and Kroger were early users of ordering and picking up online groceries. It’s been a game changer ever since.
Some stores offer a free pick-up service, while others charge a small fee. The delivery of food by third parties is more expensive, but can still save time and money. Amazon Prime memberships include free delivery of whole foods with a minimum order value of $ 35.
Each method eliminates impulse purchases, saves time and makes grocery shopping a breeze for busy individuals and parents!
19. Use a smaller cart
Shopping carts are now deliberately much larger than they were 50 years ago. Marketing tests show that customers spend an average of 40% more when using a larger car.
Imagine buying a bigger house. The bigger the house, the more decorative items you want to buy.
Another sneaky trick: Bigger carts sometimes don’t allow you to get out of a hallway. This forces customers to walk all the way through the aisle and offers more opportunities to buy things that are not on the list.
20. Don’t shop hungry
Shopping on an empty stomach guarantees a higher food bill! Self-control is much more difficult and unhealthy ready meals tend to end up in the shopping cart.
Eat a snack beforehand or plan errands after eating.
21. Bring your own reusable bag
Some grocery stores offer discounts for bringing your own bags. With a balance of 0.05 to 0.10 cents per piece of luggage, this means savings of several dollars a year.
Not to mention that it’s just a good environmental responsibility.
22. Compare the unit prices
Comparing unit prices (like cost per ounce, pound, or serving) is the best way to save money on groceries.
Unit prices are helpful when comparing similar products and items that are sold in different sizes. The cheapest price may not be the best value.
For example, which is the better value?
Frozen, Diced Butternut Squash: $ 3.99 for a single 20-ounce sachet
Whole fresh butternut squash: $ 4.17 for every 3 to 1.30 / lb.
Buying the whole fresh butternut squash is the better deal when comparing the price per ounce, which is 0.08 cents a pound, compared to the frozen, diced pumpkin at 0.20 cents an ounce.
23. Avoid free samples
Free samples are available in the hope that you can test and buy them! Providers have unique sales tactics to encourage a product purchase, even if it’s not on the shopping list.
If you fluctuate slightly or feel guilty without buying anything, skip the samples.
24. Choose Store Brands
When I was working in the corporate wellness area, one of my favorite presentations was a taste test between a private label and branded grain. Nobody could ever taste the difference!
This is because many branded items (with a different label) are manufactured and packaged in the same facilities as branded products. They literally use the same exact recipe for every product.
Do your own taste test and save money too!
25. Shop above or below eye level
Grocery stores place more expensive branded goods on an equal footing. This is a practical trick that is applied to rushed customers.
Shoppers in a hurry don’t take the time to review all the options available for a product on the shelf. They tend to grab everything they see first. So make sure you look up and down on the shelves for cheaper options.
26. Buy protein in bulk
When you find a good deal, buying meat in bulk is sometimes worthwhile. Be it a wholesale business like CostCo or a regular market.
Do the math. Buying protein in bulk can significantly increase your food bill at this point. If it can be stored or frozen for later use, it can be worth reducing the cost per serving.
27. Buy the bulk aisle
While buying some items in bulk to lower the unit price is a wise choice, you should buy from the crowd gear is a completely different game.
Bulk aisle shopping is perfect for ingredients you may only need a small amount of. Don’t buy the full price of a whole container of one ingredient, just the amount you need to save money.
If you only buy what you need, you can reduce waste later. Coffee, nut butter, oats, nuts, muesli, rice, beans, pasta, honey and spices are just a few of the products offered by the ounce / pound in bulk.
28. Don’t fall for meaningless marketing
There are certain words on a food packaging or label that can drive prices up. Some are:
- antibiotic free
- not genetically modified
While these labels are important for some products, they can lead to excessive spending on others. For example – most consumers would pay extra for “all natural, non-GMO” peanut butter.
Peanuts are not a genetically modified crop, so non-GM peanut butter means zilch.
Another example is the “natural” label. Food that is labeled as “natural” or “completely natural” is not regulated, certified or controlled by anyone. It is a meaningless term.
29. Choose organic food wisely
When you buy organic, everything adds up quickly. I do not buy just Organic, although I prefer it for environmental reasons.
If the conventionally grown price of a food is within a few cents than that of the organic version (like bananas), I choose organic. If there is a big price difference, I think it has grown conventionally.
It’s best to familiarize yourself with that Dirty Dozen List of the environmental working group. These 12 fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide residue testing, so it may be worth buying the organic versions.
30. Shop Discounted Produce
Grocery stores throw away their products much more often than they prefer. To reduce this, most stores have a discount area for overripe and “ugly” or bulky goods.
The stores will also discount packaged salad or salad mixes that are nearing their expiration date. Use it quickly or freeze it for later use. In any case, money is saved!
31. Buy dried beans instead of cans
Dried beans and legumes are a bit more labor intensive than buying the canned version. However, the extra work is worth it because you get more of the end product for a lot less.
Dried beans almost triple their amount after cooking and also triple the amount saved.
32. Limit bottle drinks
Bottle drinks include sodas, bottled water, alcohol, tea and milk. Plant-based milk and tea can be easily and inexpensively produced or brewed at home. Soda, alcohol and mineral water can be replaced at home with filtered tap water.
If you avoid alcohol and other bottled drinks just a few days a week, you can really save money on food over time.
33. Look for special discounts
The shops grant special discounts on items that are no longer offered either from the entire production or due to low sales at this particular location.
Items that reach their expiration date are also greatly reduced. This is the perfect time to stock up on meat and freeze for later.
34. Take advantage of post-holiday sales
After the holidays is another perfect time to save food. Turkey, ham, lamb, baked goods and cheese are available for sale after Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Discounted chocolates after Valentine’s Day?
Plan ahead and make sure you have enough freezer space if you buy a surplus.
35. Ask the store for price adjustments
Big chains and big stores offer price adjustments, including food! Usually this only applies to sales and BOGO offers for branded products, not for private labels.
If a favorite brand is for sale in another store, save time, show the cash register, and request a price adjustment.
The price adjustment does not normally apply to fresh products.
36. Decide on entire products
Avoiding pre-processed products helps save money on food, not to mention reducing packaging waste. There is an extra charge for prewashing, peeling, chopping, dicing or crushing, etc.
Vice made a comparison and found that buyers could save $ 100 a month or more by foregoing comfortably processed products and choosing to do it themselves.
37. Buy the whole bird
Buy a whole chicken or turkey for a lot less. A bird weighs between 3.5 and 5 pounds and can average between $ 1.99 and $ 3.99 per pound.
A whole bird offers many meals as well as 8-10 cups of collagen-rich broth! Bone broth alone can be very expensive and costs from $ 5.00 a cup in some cafes.
38. Buy toiletries elsewhere
If not all purchases are made in a wholesale or large store like Walmart, the cost of toiletries and cleaning products is likely to be high.
Grocery stores recognize the all-in-one comfort factor when buying toilet paper and other self-care products with food. Many customers are willing to pay a slightly higher price to avoid buying multiple stores.
39. Avoid buying impulses at the checkout
There is one last obstacle to overcome before you can get out of your budget – the grocery checkout.
Business plays with our decision fatigue at the checkout. They strategically place take-away products in the hope of making a final sale. The $ 1 target spot is a brilliant example of this model.
Bring your own snacks and drinks for longer business and don’t stray from the list!
How to save money on groceries by shopping on site
40. Consider becoming a CSA
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership that connects local communities with regional farmers. Individuals can pre-purchase a “portion” of farmers’ crops and receive fresh agricultural goods when harvested all year round.
Most CSAs offer seasonal or quarterly memberships where individuals receive seasonal groceries on a weekly basis, either through collection or delivery. CSAs offer products, herbs, flowers, shelled eggs and sometimes meat, cheese and milk.
Before you buy a CSA, do a cost analysis. It often saves money! Eating seasonal, locally grown foods is a great way to boost immunity and prevent costly diseases. After all, supporting local farmers is a huge bonus!
41. Time for the (farmers) market
Buy in the last hour of a farmers market for the best deals. Most vendors prefer to get rid of their remaining product at a discounted price, rather than repackaging and carrying everything away.
Although end-of-day sales are assumed, it is always best to politely ask if last minute discounts are available.
42. Join a food cooperative
A food cooperative (or food cooperative) is a member-owned grocery store that sells goods from local farmers and producers in the region.
Members pay a one-time fee that gives them voting rights, special discounts and other benefits for members. While everyone can shop at food cooperatives, members get more benefits.
If you buy mostly locally grown organic food, you can save extra money this way!
43. Buy the whole animal for meat
This is undoubtedly the best way for meat eaters to save money (and also support local, sustainable farming practices). Some farmers sell part of their herd to local beef or pork consumers.
An animal can be divided into several families, often in half or in quarters. The farmer transports the animal to a butcher or processing plant for proper packaging.
Even after paying for the animal plus processing fees, it’s usually still cheaper to buy meat in a grocery store.
How to save money on groceries at home
44. Store food properly
Proper food storage is the best way to extend shelf life, especially for products. Temperature, amount of ethylene gas production, washing and storage space are all factors that need to be considered when storing food.
45. Reduce food waste
Throwing away food essentially means throwing away money. The average family of four wastes $ 1,500 a year on thrown food aloneaccording to the USDA.
If you regularly throw away food, it’s time to track your food waste to get a better idea of where the challenge areas are.
Write down or keep a table of foods that are thrown every day for a week. Then make a plan to buy less, freeze for later, or add items to a menu.
Freeze any items that you can use later before they break. Keep in mind that the texture of thawed foods may be different from that of the fresh version.
Almost anything can be frozen, with the exception of lettuce, eggs, soft cheese and oil-based spices such as mayonnaise.
47. DIY ingredients
Many recipe ingredients can actually be made from pantry and kitchen staples you are likely to have on hand. Like buttermilk! I never buy buttermilk because it is easy to prepare 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice at home.
Salad dressings, spice mixes, vegetable and bone broths, bread and some spices are easy to prepare and can save a significant amount of your grocery bill.
48. Learn how to pickle foods
Picking food is a great way to keep items for long periods of time. You can pick up almost any vegetable, which simply means fermenting or dipping in vinegar.
Pickled vegetables will last for 5 or 6 months if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
49. Create a capsule pantry
A capsule pantry resembles a capsule wardrobe. They both consist of a few essential elements that can be mixed and customized for multiple combinations.
First, make a main list of your favorite recipes, and then keep your pantry and fridge filled with these key ingredients. Meal planning becomes easier and you save money over time!
50. Grow your own herbs
Herbs can be grown indoors all year round and do not take up much space. If you have more space, an outdoor herb garden offers delicious flavors throughout the growing season and beyond.
Herb seeds are cheap, and some public libraries and other community resources even share them for free!
51. Plant a garden
Growing your own groceries can save thousands of dollars in grocery costs and later help save money on expensive medical bills. Foods that are produced during the growing season can be frozen, pickled and stored to extend their use over the winter months.
Gardening is a great form of exercise that also reduces stress and improves eating habits.
52. Feed food
Did you know that edible food is probably hiding in your own garden? You don’t have to pay for that! Ancient civilizations that were searched for food and medical purposes and the art of foraging are making a big comeback today.
Dandelion greens, wild onions and garlic, mushrooms and ramps are examples of foraging that are considered delicacies in the restaurant.
Be sure and educate yourself before eating wild plants. Some poisonous plants can resemble edible varieties.
Chasing food (not sports) is another way to eat sustainably and save money.
My family often has wild game on hand that is much cheaper and healthier than most other meats in a grocery store.
Hopefully you have some new ideas on how to save money on groceries when planning meals, in business, and at home. Eating healthy regional and organic food doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
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