I’m a little unreasonable about buying groceries. I almost feel like crying every time I go grocery shopping. Prices seem to rise every week. Sometimes I don’t buy everything on my list because I think the price is terrible. I think that if I wait another week it might be on sale. It’s a gamble. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.
When I was in high school, I took a class where we had to plan a week’s worth of meals for a family of four using sale ads. We could only spend $30. (It was quite a while ago!) It was a fun game and with 25 people in the class, we all learned a few tricks. Treating grocery shopping and meal preparation like a game makes it a little more fun. The goal is to spend as little money as you can and see how long you can make your weekly groceries last while feeding your family tasty, nutritious meals.
Here are ten ways I save money on groceries:
1. I shop once a week and I use a list. I use an old envelope and I put my coupon collection inside and write my list on the outside as I run out of items or think of things I need. When I am ready to go shopping, I look through my pantry and refrigerator to see if I’ve forgotten anything and then put the envelope in my purse.
2. I search the Sunday newspaper and internet for sales and coupons from the stores I patronize. I clip coupons and save them in an old envelope to be used for grocery shopping that week. I use a different envelope each week.
3. I shop at discount stores like Aldi and Save a Lot. The quality of these stores is very good although you might find items that are not to your taste. The Aldis in my town have very good, cheap produce and bread products but my children do not like their frozen French fries.
4. I bought a chest freezer so that I could buy meat, vegetables, and frozen foods in bulk when they are on sale or at a wholesale store like Sims. It also gives me plenty of room to store leftovers, extra loaves of bread and rolls, and even potato chips and milk. You can buy one for less than $200 at Best Buy.
5. I buy generic and house brands. I especially like most of the generic and house brands at Meijer and Shop and Save stores. They are less expensive and some are even better than brand name items. My family does not like generic cookies, cereals, and waffles. You just have to try different items and see if you like them.
6. I keep my pantry stocked with fixings for cheap meals like spaghetti, noodles, tacos, chili, soup, beans, bouillon cubes, canned fruit and vegetables, crackers, and popcorn.
7. I make a lot of foods from scratch and try to cook breakfast rather than buy expensive cereals and frozen breakfasts. You can make your own pancakes and waffles from scratch: a simple recipe using flour, sugar, salt, oil, milk, eggs, and baking powder will make delicious pancakes and waffles in minutes can be found in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Cooking from scratch takes a little more time but is more nutritious than using mixes or frozen foods and can save you money.
8. I try to buy milk, soft drinks, and even eggs on sale at gas stations and convenience stores. I also stock up on seasonal items at holidays. There are a lot of foods on sale during holiday weekends.
9. I keep a supply of freezer containers to store leftovers. Most foods will keep for a few days in the refrigerator and a few weeks in the freezer. You can make tasty soups, casseroles, and omelets out of leftovers.
10. The last few days before grocery shopping can be a challenge. You have to creatively use your leftovers and pantry staples to make ends meet. I usually end up serving canned soup and sandwiches, beans and wieners, a casserole, or sometimes even a breakfast meal of eggs and pancakes.
It is all in the presentation!