As the prices at grocery stores have slowly risen over recent years, many of us are spending more at every trip to the store. Below are some simple tips to help you save a little bit each time.
- Look at Unit Price
When shopping, don’t just look at the overall price, look at the UNIT price listed in a smaller font on the price tag. Compare this price to other brands or similar items – and then choose the one that meets your needs at the lowest price. Sometimes what appears to be cheaper, is actually the more expensive option.
- Buy Generic or Store Brands
Many times (but not all) store brands are less expensive than the name brand foods. Take a look (don’t forget tip 1 above) at the prices for the various brands. You’ll be surprised how many generic items you won’t be able to tell aren’t the name brand.
- Shop Sales and Use Coupons (wisely)
Searching the sale section and using coupons are a great way to save a little money. However, make sure what you are buying is truly needed – just because something is cheaper than it usually is, doesn’t mean you need it. It doesn’t help to have 10 cans of beans in the cupboard if you never cook with them.
- Buy Food in Bulk
Buying food in bulk is typically cheaper than buying smaller portions. Non-perishables are great items to buy in bulk as they have a much longer shelf-life. These items also are great pantry staples that can go in many dishes. Think of rice, pasta, sugar, flour, frozen vegetables, and canned goods.
- Remember that Convenience Costs
Having things pre-cut, pre-cooked, pre-anything will almost always cost more. If you have time to shred your own cheese, or buy a whole chicken, you can save a little more of your hard-earned cash! Other examples include whole lettuce heads over bagged or pre-cut lettuce, normal oats instead of instant oatmeal, and normal rice over instant rice.
- Plan your Meals Ahead of Time
Planning your meals ahead of time is a great way to save money by getting all your items in one trip, and also using items in multiple dishes. For example, you purchase a whole chicken (or 2 depending on how many mouths you’re feeding) and a bunch of fresh and/or frozen produce – some lettuce, cucumber, peppers, onions, tomatoes, potatoes etc. From a well-stocked pantry of previously purchased bulk non-perishables and some refrigerated staples, you can make the following meals:
– Salad topped with sliced chicken breast.
– Chicken thighs with a side of veggies and a baked potato.
– Wing night! Toss them up in your favorite barbecue or buffalo sauce. Make sure to pair with some veggies and mashed potatoes.
– Chicken pot pie – whatever chicken bits you have left over, cook up with veggies and then top with homemade biscuits made from staples in your pantry.
– Don’t forget to cook down the chicken carcass with seasonings to create chicken stock to use in your next meal plan!