In the crunch economy it’s important to be frugal – but there is frugal and there is miserable. This article shows ways to save money on food, how to spend less money at the grocery store, and to keep your food good.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Many things are known to increase the impulse shopping, and you probably know them. The secret is to not let them get to you if you want to save money on food.
2. Shop on-line for staples and non-food items.
3. Use special offers, but use them wisely. Many special offers are designed to make you impulse buy. There is a reason why buy one get one 1/2 price or buy three for a cheaper price are more common than simple price cuts. Only buy something on offer if you would buy it otherwise, or if it replaces something you intended to buy and offers better value. Don’t be tempted by offers on non-essential, fun items. You might get double the amount of chocolate, but it will likely mean that it will be eaten at double the rate.
Bulk Buying Is Not Always Better Value
4. Buying in bulk is not always better value. It can work, but only for essential staples and for very disciplined people. Sometimes it’s better to buy a smaller packet, with a lower ticket price, even if price per pound is higher. A smaller packet will do fine and if you buy a bigger one you are likely to use more.
5. Consider using less of the key, more expensive ingredient and bump up the content with cheaper padding. Use half a pound of mince and add vegetables to your pasta sauce. Use three, not two chicken breasts and serve an extra vegetable side dish. Dilute fruit juice. Mix proper Greek yogurt or fresh creme with the supermarket value brand. Make conscious effort to cook just what’s needed, to avoid throwing away half-portion leftovers.
Go Down A Brand
If you buy premium brands, consider mass-market. If you buy mass-market brands, consider discount and value brands. Some of those are dreadful, that is true, but some are virtually indistinguishable from the more expensive products.
6. Buy and try – the single costs are low, so you won’t waste much even if you hate the product, but long-term savings are potentially large. It works particularly well for tinned goods (tomatoes, beans, tinned fruit), and simple packaged staples (porridge oats, cornflakes, salt – why ever buy branded salt??). No Name tinned tomatoes cost less than a premium brand ones, and they are just as good. Is it worth paying such a premium for a can of dices tomatoes?
7. For many food products, frozen vegetables and fruits are substantially cheaper than fresh and not significantly worse. This applies particularly to out of season vegetables and fruits, but also to some meat and fish: the quality of these frozen foods is good and acceptable for certain everyday or heavily seasoned dishes. On the other hand, in season always try to buy fresh and local food, and you can also freeze them to eat later in the fall.
Ready Made Food Made Sensible
Ready meals are expensive when of decent quality, so cooking from scratch is the best option. However, not all processed food is more expensive.
8. Unless you have access to cheap source of good flour, making your own bread may lead to great quality results, but will almost certainly be more expensive than buying commercial products. The same is true with jams and condiments (unless you grow your own). Supermarket pizza and fresh pasta can occasionally replace take out food for half the price.
9. Cook in batches and freeze half of what you made. This is very economical as well as time saving and will work for soups, casseroles, pasta sauces, and stews.
Now that you know how to save money on food, these tips for saving money on groceries will come in handy next time your are shopping for food!