If you are looking to save some cash, looking at ways to save on groceries should be the first thing on your to-do list.
Food spending is one of the simplest expenditures to cut quickly because you have control over how much you spend, unlike your mortgage and utility bills.
A few years ago, I cut my grocery bill in half by employing some easy tactics:
- Buying less/eating less
- Buying less expensive/brand name foods
- Cooking from scratch more often
- Switching to a less expensive store
- Meal Planning
- Using coupons and price matching
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In addition to changing where and how you shop, you can save on groceries by adopting a few simple frugal tricks. Below you will find 30 tips from extreme savers who are living on a tight food budget either by choice or necessity.
Many of the 30 money saving tips will remind you of things your grandmother or mother did back in the day. Old school thrift is the easiest way to save money and adopt a frugal lifestyle.
30 Frugal Ways To Save On Groceries
1. Try to find new uses for foods that are no longer super fresh. For example, make soups or stews with veggies, make breadcrumbs from old bread and freeze them, freeze leftover waffles or pancakes for a quick breakfast later.
2. Buy a vacuum sealer. Buy meat, cheese, vegetables in bulk and repackage to smaller portions. I love this FoodSaverVacuum Sealing System.
3. Buy an insulated bag to keep in the car. This will allow you to shop at different stores for the best prices without food going bad.
4. Buy a cow (or a portion of one). You can buy a 1/4 cow for $700ish. This works out to about 150 lbs. of organic grass-fed beef. By rationing and eating less meat, it could last a family of 5 up to a year.
5. Start a monthly freezer meal swap with friends. Each person makes 5 trays of one meal (lasagne, ziti, shepherd’s pie etc) and then you all go home with 5 different meals. It is cheaper to make 5 of one meal than 5 different meals.
6. Bulk up curries and stews with grated carrot. You can use less meat and sneak some extra vegetables in.
7. When fruit goes “limp” or past its best, put it in a smoothie instead of throwing it away.
8. Switch off the oven for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
9. Bulk out stews and ground beef dishes with lentils or oatmeal.
10. When cooking rice, bring the water up to the boil, give the pan a quick stir, put the lid on tightly and turn off the heat. By the time the rest of the meal is ready, the rice will be done.
11. Keep a box in the freezer for veggies that are not going to get eaten in time. Use for soups and stews.
12. Always meal plan – have a wipe clean board at home and write up 1, 2 or 4 weeks at a glance. Then you know what you need to buy and don’t overspend.
13. Leftover wine? Freeze it in ice cubes and then use in spaghetti dishes, lasagna etc
14. If you grocery shop weekly, each week do your main shop a day later than the previous week. 1st week: Wednesday, 2nd week: Thursday and so on. Every 8th week you will have a “free” week of shopping.
15. Cook every second day and always make enough for a ‘leftovers’ meal.
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16. Empty fridges use more electricity.
You open the fridge to get the milk out for a cup of coffee and that raises the temperature of the air inside, so the motor starts up again until the thermostat switches it off.
The solution is to reduce the amount of air in the fridge. You replace the air with something that takes longer to heat up. What I did was gather together all the empty bottles I could, fill them up with water, and put them in the fridge.
17. Start doing grocery pick up instead of going to the store. Order only what you need and you will avoid the impulse buys as you go around the supermarket.
18. Start a vegetable garden. Save money on groceries by growing your own! You can easily grow strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, squash, and zucchini along with salad greens and tomatoes.
19. Invest in a chest freezer. This will allow you to buy meat on sale, and stock up.
20. Bring your coffee from home every day in a stainless steel thermos.
21. At the grocery store limit yourself to a certain budget and keep track of it on my paper shopping list as you go.
22. Buy mostly generic items.
23. Look for good deals on meat – whole chicken vs. parts, bone-in breasts vs. boneless/skinless, cheaper cuts of beef that taste good when braised, London broil vs. expensive steaks etc.
24. Stretch your meals.
You can buy a whole chicken for about $7, put it in the crock pot during the day with some butter and spices and about a cup of water.
That night you can have a chicken dinner.
Save the broth and bones and add a few more cups of water to the pot the next day to make stock. Then the leftover chicken can become chicken salad for sandwiches, chicken tetrazzini, buffalo chicken dip, quesadillas, etc.
25. Pack lunch and a breakfast smoothie every day.
26. Use a calculator in the grocery store. When you get to $80, try to stop buying or swap things out to stay below a $400 /month grocery limit
28. Stores do their sales on cycles, so stock up on staples/frequent buys when the price is good as long as product expiration dates work for your consumption.
29. Meat goes a lot further if it is part of a meal instead of the main event. Stir-fry, curry, tacos are all cheaper than a chicken breast with vegetables.
30. Freeze the tops of onions, carrots, tiny cloves of garlic to make vegetable broth.
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