Even if you are not a coupon guru, these simple tips will help you spend less at the supermarket. The cost of food is one of the most flexible areas in a family’s monthly budget. When money is tight, these ideas can help you stretch your dollar.
When you are looking for save money on your monthly budget, is one of the most flexible areas in your shopping. While it can be challenging at times, it’s amazing how much money you can save on food – while still enjoying what you eat – by following a few simple guidelines.
1. Shop “Loss Leaders”
Go through the weekly Supermarket Advertisements* and look for those prices that are so low that they are hard to believe. They are called “loss leaders.” They are priced at or below the wholesale price, which means big savings for you. The store literally takes a loss on those items and counts on you to make up for it by doing the rest of your shopping there as well. When you see these items, buy them in as many quantities as your budget and personal use will allow.
These items often have a limit on how much you can buy, but don’t let that discourage you too much. Recruit your family members to make a separate purchase each (or more than one) until you have the quantity you need.
I personally love to search for “loss leaders” in the meat department, but I have found them in all areas of the store. I regularly score great deals on canned vegetables, tomatoes and spaghetti sauce, as well as vegetables, meat and pasta.
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2. Make use of supermarket advertisements
Grocery ad magazines for your area will be shipped in your local newspaper. If you don’t get the paper (we don’t), look online to find the ad magazines for your favorite stores. I usually just google something like “Safeway’s Weekly Ads” and, well, that particular sale ad for some reason came standard in a store in Ogallala, Nebraska.
Maybe that’s the closest Safeway to me. In any case, let us know your zip code when you find the stores where you shop so you can get the ads for your local store. Then you can plan your shopping around the loss leaders you find.
3. Look for Manager’s Specials
This is, again, something I find most often in the meat department, but not exclusively.
Wherever there are perishable goods for sale in the store, you can bump into”Manager Specials“. Sometimes the sticker says “Reduced price for quick sale” instead. I often find bags of salad mix, various meats and dairy products at heavily discounted prices. Recently we found large eggs priced 29 cents a dozen, and I’ve found ten pound bags of chicken thighs for only 35 cents a pound.
Keep a close eye on these deals while you’re in the store. If you ask at the meat department, they will often tell you the time they mark the packages so you can be there for the best selection.
4. Avoid Junk Food and Convenience Food
Yes, avoid most junk foods and convenience foods as much as possible. I know there is a lot of cheap junk food out there. I know there are a lot of cheap ready meals out there too. I understand how tempting it is, especially after a long day when you really don’t feel like cooking.
And I’m not saying to avoid it altogether, but choose it wisely. Nine times out of ten, the more natural you go, the cheaper the food is. I hear people say the opposite all the time, but I just haven’t found it true.
For example: I know people who like to buy Lunchables. Now I’ll be the first to admit those things are cute. Kind of. And convenient – absolutely. Come up with great dinner ideas and watch them prepare yourself and save a lot of money.
However, those small lunches usually cost between two and three dollar buck here in Missouri. And even if they’re on sale for, say, ten for $10, I can pretty much guarantee I could take that same ten dollars and buy for yourself the lunch meat and cheese and crackers, etc. and get more than ten equivalent meals from it.
Or I could buy fresh meat and cook it myself, instead of buying overly processed lunch meat, and make it even healthier lunches for the same money. They wouldn’t be fancy and maybe not that cute. But they would taste good and give you healthy energy for your day.
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5. Keep it simple with staples
The more you can cooking all over again or with minimally processed foods, the better it is for your grocery budget. I personally like to keep certain basic staples handy as much as possible:
Cheap and very flexible. Serve it with different sauces, cook it in soup or even make a delicious dessert from rice pudding.
I almost always Pinto Beans, Lentils and Northern Beans in the House. Cook them in the slow cooker for a tasty, healthy meal that requires little work. Beans are delicious with or without meat, and you can use the most inexpensive meats to flavor them. Neck bones and ham hooks are super economical and delicious in beans.
I look for pasta that is dirt cheap and buy random bags of different types when I can get them for a bargain. It’s another great item to have around when throwing a quick meal together.
Flour is just as needed. Even if I don’t use it often, I feel a bit unsettled when I run out. You never know when you might need to dredge some meat or… tie some meat drops in gravy. But you can also make bread and rolls and pancakes and so many other things with it, if you have flour at home.
Eggs are a great and cheap source of protein. Even if you buy consciously, eggs are one of the cheapest and most flexible proteins. They start your day strong, cooking into a tasty quiche for an easy dinner, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Healthy and cheapOatmeal can be prepared in all sorts of ways that will keep it from getting boring. Not only is it delicious for breakfast, you can bake it in a number of dessert recipes and even use it as a meat extender in meatloaf and meatballs.
i try to keep American and Colby Jack (mixed Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses) on hand. It’s not always easy depending on how tight the budget is. But a little cheese really makes a difference for us – especially considering our love for Mexican food.
Onions are one of those foods, if you like them, where you get so much for your money. Onions are super cheap, but cutting one fresh and incorporating it into your recipe makes a world of difference. There are few savory recipes that don’t taste even better with some onion.
I love canned tomatoes and I save them as much as possible. I buy every kind I find and the more variety I can find the better. Fresh tomatoes are great, but canned are usually so much easier to deal with. They are one of the few ready meals that I always have on hand because you can use them in so many recipes.
Canned beans are also great to have on hand for a number of recipes. Whether you want to make a quick pot of chili, enhance a meatloaf, or put together a quick chili dog dinner, stock up on beans when they are on sale you will get a lot of them creative possibilities if you’re trying to think of something for dinner.
Potatoes are cheap, filling and taste great however you prepare them. You can use them in soups and stews, roast them, bake them, or even pop a few in the microwave for a quick and tasty dinner.
6. Shop in multiple stores
Many people prefer to shop in one store because it is more convenient. But that’s not necessarily the best thing to do when you’re trying to save money.
Consider all stores in your area – as well as all other food sources, such as farmers’ markets. Check the ad sheets at every store you have in your area. Sometimes you find a deal that makes it worth going out of your way to visit a particular store.
Dollar General is a great source for canned beans, vegetables, and soup. Detergent prices are also unbeatable. Aldis is a great place to get food that you can’t find anywhere else. And with us local bread shopI can get two loaves of bread Orowet bread for three dollars instead of paying the $4 per loaf it goes for at the grocery store. The more familiar you are with multiple stores, the more you can save.
Coupon Expertise Unnecessary
Even if you are not a coupon expert, there are many ways to cut back on your grocery budget. By keeping these simple tips in mind and keeping your eyes peeled for great deals, you can provide your family with healthy and flavorful meals and spend less at the grocery store while doing so.
What are some of? your favorite ways to save money on groceries? Let me hear from you in the comments below.
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