If you are like me, your eyes may get big and a lump may form in your throat every time you stand at the checkout at the grocery store. I am a shopper who plans healthy meals, makes a list, and truly doesn’t buy too many extras. However, the cost of food adds up and adds up fast! Though coupons can get you some great deals on some necessity products, I find that many of the coupons in the Sunday paper that are offered for food items are the products that are in the center isles of the store; the prepackaged, process, pretty much junk food items that I do not need to have in my home. Personally I don’t see a lot of buy one get one free coupons on kale bunches! However there are still ways to use coupons and be healthy. Read here to learn more!
I am not sure the average savings on these tips, but as we say in this house, every dollar counts!
1. If you have trouble staying within your budget, one solution may be to purchase a prepaid gift card to the supermarket. You can think of this as a portable checking account that you withdraw from every time you shop. This may help you keep a tighter rein on your spending!
2. If you like to buy local, fresh produce you can check out CSAs. Community supported agriculture connect local farmers with their communities by offering people a “share” in their farm. Some of them even offer milk and eggs. The downfall is that you usually don’t get much of a choice of what is in the box of goodies you receive, but if you like to support local-the prices can’t be beat! Check out Localharvest.org
3. Head to the meat locker. This is something that my family does by heading to a well-known locker near our home town in Ohio. When we head east for a visit with family, we stock up local meat products of all different cuts. Here we get better prices and a quality product we feel good about consuming. If you don’t have the freezer space, split the goods with a friend! If you live in the Mid West, you should not have a problem finding a local locker that you can get choice meat from!
*Did you know that the best time to shop for meat is in the morning? This is when the butcher marks down the meat that is getting close to the “sell by” date. Take it home and freeze it if you are not going to make it that night!4. Save money by doing the work yourself. Don’t buy meat that is already formed into patties, but rather make them yourself. Buy your veggies and cut them up instead of getting the pre-cut ready to go packages. The same goes with snacks. Buy in bulk and make servings yourself by portioning these goodies out into zip lock baggies. Yes, it is more time-consuming, but you will indeed save money!
5. Hot versus cold! Did you know that hot cereals are cheaper than cold ones…and healthier! Oatmeal in, Cocoa Puffs out!
6. Don’t be afraid to go generic. Here are some products that you won’t know the difference:
-Baking ingredients such as flour, oils, and sugar.
-Frozen and canned veggies.
-Dry goods such as beans, pasta, and rice.
*If you have picky eaters, save the name brand box or carton, and dump the generic into the container. They will not know the difference!
7. It is such a pain, but I shop at more than one market. Yes, I would love to take my list into one place, but even if I think I have talked myself into it, I will pick up something I need and cringe knowing I can get that item cheaper at the next store. Down it goes, and off I go to another store. I head to one store for pantry and freezer goods, another for produce, and one for a few specialty items I like to have. To really get a feel for the savings, do an experiment and write down the prices of your most frequently purchased items. That way you can remember where the prices are the most reasonable!
8. I like this one, as it’s one I didn’t think of but will start using! Keep an eye on the salad bar prices. If you only need a few artichokes or olives, it may be cheaper to buy them there rather than a whole jar or can!
9. Weigh it! Take advantage of the scale in the produce section to make sure you are getting the best deal.
10. You have heard it before but never go to the grocery store hungry! You will buy more than you need, everything looks good, and some things may end up in your cart that may not be good for your waistline. Whoops! Keep nuts and snacks in your car, or just make sure you are not shopping on an empty stomach. If you do, you may take advantage of the 10 for 10 on frozen pizza! Not. Good!
I would love to hear some of your money-saving tips at the grocery store. How do shop for healthy goods all while watching your wallet?