Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saving Money on Groceries

Saving $ on Groceries

The grocery budget is one of the budget areas with the most flexibility. Many families save big in this area by using coupons, but using coupons isn't for everyone due to time constraints and limited availability of coupons in some areas. However, there are several ways that families can save whether they use coupons or not.

     I believe this is the most crucial step. As the saying goes, "When you fail to plan, plan to fail." Having a written menu plan and using it, is a simple, yet effective way to save both time and money. This avoids the frenzied dinner hour rush and eliminates the fast food or pizza delivery option.

      I enjoy cooking, but with homeschooling and extracurricular activities for myself and my children, I don't have time to prepare elaborate meals. Through the week, I like to have meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. I save the elaborate, labor intensive meals for the weekends. Check out the recipe boards on Pinterest and other sites such  as Simply Recipes  and  Real Mom Kitchen  .

     Eat the food you have. Don't keep shoving leftovers to the back of the fridge. Put them front and center and use them for the next day's lunch. I even serve them for breakfast sometimes. One of my friends packs her leftovers in containers and then labels the container with a eat- by date!

     As much as possible, buy food with either  few ingredients on the label or no ingredient label at all! These foods are usually found on the perimeter of the store-meat, dairy and produce. These are also the departments where you are likely to find markdowns. Try to avoid prepared foods. Take a little time and do the slicing or mixing yourself.  Instead of buying a box of oatmeal packets, buy whole oats and flavor them yourself. The same goes for rice. The Internet abounds with recipes for Spanish rice, cilantro lime rice and other flavored rices. By making your own mixes, you can control the amounts of salt and sugar.

     It's tempting to buy a dozen avocados when they are 4 for $1, but if not used within a few days, you will end up throwing your savings in the trash. When it comes to produce, keep in mind how soon you will be using the items and their shelf life. Carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage are hardy vegetables which can keep for awhile. Avocados and berries, however, do not last as long and should be consumed or frozen within a few days.


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