Is Saving Money one the things you plan to do this year?
I looked up statistics on New Year's resolutions and found that:
- getting out of debt and
- saving more money and spending less
are two of the most popular.
And--34% of all resolutions have to do with money. (source)
Groceries are a big part of any family (or personal) budget. So I'm sharing today some tips that have helped us save money on food.
We've had times when we've lived on $100 per month, and during college, I lived (total budget) on $100/month. (That included rent.)
Now, I / we weren't one a whole foods budget during either of those times, but I did try to include veggies and fruits in good amounts.
Things are different now, following are some of the things that I do to keep from blowing our food budget.
(And if your budget is already under control-- hopefully you can get a tip or two to give you a bit more extra to spread around to those in need.
12 Ways to Save Money on Food
1. Shop the perimeter
--of the grocery store, that is.
Remember what the perimeter is? It's the outside edge.
Have you ever noticed this? The "basics" are almost all on the outside and back of the grocery store.
Well, store owners are smart.
If they put milk, eggs, and cheese are at the back of the store, you need to walk through all of the fruit gummie stuff, chocolate cookies in teeny weeny packages, and chips coated with sprayed on fake cheese in order to get to them.
Most of that stuff in the middle of the store isn't good for you--and it's for sure not good for your budget.
So--avoid. avoid. avoid.
2. Take a list with you
--and stick to it.
You know how it goes. You plan on:
- Pot Roast
- Organic Veggies
- Beans and
- Brown Rice
but somehow you ended up with a cart full of
- Sugar Coated Cereal
- Gluten-Free Pretzels
- Chocolate Bars
I typically have pretty good discipline at grocery stores, but I can be known to waver on occasion.
If you really need more than a list, take someone with you to keep you on track :)!
3. Shop without the kiddos
Again, those grocery store marketing folks are geniuses. They know how to make the packages of sugar-coated stuff and chips and all super appealing to the Little Ones.
4. Eat Before Shopping
Go to the store on an empty stomach and you never know what you might end up with in your cart.
'Cause EVERYTHING looks good.
5. Shop online
Two of my favorite online places to buy healthy food are:
- Vitacost and
6. Shop loss-leaders
Loss leaders are those items that a store advertises in order to get you into the store so you spend more on other things.
Basically the store is maybe taking a loss on those items, but they plan to make up for it on what you spend on the rest of your shopping trip.
Hubby and I were the Loss Leader King and Queen when we were first married.
Folks would laugh at us with our cartful of 10 cent yogurts and 10 cent oranges.
Oh well, we laughed later (well, we didn't laugh, really, but we were glad) when we were able to get out of his 2 masters and a PhD with no debt. (yes, we did other things besides buy loss leaders, but you get the idea).
7. Eat 'Dem Beans
Beans are a great protein source and work with almost any kind of diet (did you know 1 cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein? (Source) and are a real bargain. I buy all of my beans in bulk, dried.
- If you like beans, but don't like how they--ahem-- treat you, read How to De-Gas Beans.
- You can typically substitute 1 cup of dried beans for 1 pound of meat in any recipe.
Need some great bean recipes?
8. Make your own--everything
--within reason. None of us can do everything, right? I mean you could spend you life in the kitchen making
You don't have to do it all, but if you can add one of these DIY pantry items to your kitchen each week, over time you will save a big bundle!
- Easiest Almond Milk
- Easy Smooth Coconut Milk
- Nut Butter
- "Best" Chili Powder
- Vegetable Broth Mix | All Purpose Seasoning
- Great Taco Seasoning
- Homemade Chocolate or Carob Chips
- Powdered Egg Replacer
- Powdered Sugar Substitute
9. Don't Throw It Away!
Leftovers are a regular in our home. Instead of throwing the "I don't know what to do with this", why not put a bunch of little bits of stuff on the table and have yourselves a "Leftover Buffet" :-).
And if the "little bits" are veggies and meats and beans, put them all in a pan for a stir fry, or into a pot of soup.
We sometimes put the "little bits" on top of rice and just have a "throw together" meal.
10. Start or Join a Whole Food Co-op
I've had one of these out of my home for about 11 years now and it's been a HUGE help for keeping our budget in line. I hope to write more on that later.
We kind of have "brown thumbs" but they're getting greener as we work on it. (and really--it's not all us. We've got clayish soil and the dreaded Black Walnuts all over our neighborhood and those trees make it a bear to grow almost anything.)
More gardening tips hopefully to come.
But in the meantime, check out this post on "How to Re-Grow Plants in Water" for something that even the brownest thumbs can grow.
12. Buy in Bulk
When you buy in bulk, you almost ALWAYS save big time.
13. Store Your Food
Get a canner.
Get a dehydrator.
Get a freezer.
With these machines at your disposal, you can really put the bulk buying to work for you.
This post on Which Saves the Most--Freezing, Canning, or Dehydrating. It's fascinating!
I hope these ideas are a Big Help to Save You Big Money on your Grocery Bill.
What do YOU do to save money on food?