Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saving on Grocery Expenses

One of my goals for the next month is to post each day of July about a List of 10 dealing with a personal finance or money saving idea topic.

With the prices of grocery items continuing to increase it is important to find ways to make your grocery dollars go further.  Following are  10 ways to save on grocery expenses.

1)      Shop sales and use coupons.  Even if you don’t want to use coupons, it is still possible to save money on grocery items.  Most stores have a weekly circular with sale items.  There may be things on sale that were not advertised. 

2)      Make a menu plan – there are various blogs and resources about menu planning.  The basic concept is to plan meals either a week or month at a time so you have a plan.  It may be less tempting to stop for take out or go out to eat if you have something planned or almost ready.  Also, if you make something like a chicken or roast earlier in the week and use the leftovers for other meals later in the week.

3)      Stock up on items when you find them on sale.  Many stores run sales on cycles of between 8 to 12 weeks.  If you find an item you use regularly on sale and it fits in your grocery budget, buy one or two extra.  You save money by buying it on sale and may save time in the future instead of having to run to the store for it later.  Also, by limiting your trips to the store, you reduce the temptation of impulse purchases.

4)      Manager’s specials- many times there are items marked down that were not advertised.  These may be mainly in the meat and dairy sections.  Some stores have a certain spot that has marked down meat products that are close to the sell by date.  They can be used now or frozen to be used at a later time.  I have also found various dairy items on sale that are close to the sell by date, such as yogurt, cheese, etc.

5)      Check out other types of stores.  More retail stores are carrying more grocery items such as Target, Kmart, CVS and Walgreens.  I have found good deals regularly on grocery items at CVS and Walgreens. 

 6)      Shop with a list.  Keep a list going of items when you run out of them.  /Also, make a list of items that you need for upcoming meals.  One benefit of doing this before you leave home is that you can check to see if you have some items on hand or not and don’t end up buying things you already have.

 7)      Cook from your pantry and freezer.  Many of us have items we have bought and haven’t used.  Cooking from your pantry means to concentrate on things you already have and see what meals you may be able to make.  And only buying extra things you may need for the meals and fresh produce and dairy.

 8)  Freezer cooking –>freezer cooking  or once a month cooking is cooking in larger batches and freezing part of it so you have meals that just need to be thawed and cooked. 

9)       Make your own baking mixes and also spice mixes such as taco mix, onion soup mixes and ranch mix.  There are various recipes available online.  It is also easy to make your own salad dressings.

 10)  Cut down on eating out and cook at home more.  This is not always possible but may be easier if you are able to do some freezer cooking or using a crockpot.  When using a crockpot, you are able to put ingredients together in the morning and let it cook while you are at work or out running errands.  When you get home, most of your meal will be ready.  There are numerous cookbooks and websites with recipes and ideas to use your crockpot.

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