Each Thursday the Frugal Five write a blog post on Thrifty living 2012. With the economic downturn, and the cost of living rising, it’s good to have some tips on how to save, and be thrifty. Join, Brenda, Claudia, Elaine, Diane, and myself as we present our individual views on each subject. This week’s topic is Saving on Groceries.
Food, I love it, but it costs the earth sometimes to buy. We Canadians can only look over the border with some sort of envy, it seems like Americans have such choice, and so many great prices that we can only dream of. Add in extreme couponing, stacking coupons, double coupon days…we can just dream on.
While we do have store coupons, and sales, manufactures coupons, and rebates, I don’t think they come anywhere close to what US shoppers have available. Not to mention the wider variety of products that are available….
1. I buy in bulk, it’s simple if you have the space buy larger quantities and break them into smaller, easier to store amounts. We have Costco, and bulk stores, prices there are usually quite a bit cheaper when you don’t have to pay for packaging. If you don’t have the space, try splitting the food with a neighbour or friend. Spices are a great example, a small jar of dried mint would cost me $3.00 at the grocery store, at a bulk store it would have just cost me pennies. Transfer your bulk food into your own jars, and containers, label it, the extra time is well worth the effort, and think of the money you will save.
2. Train yourself to shop mostly the outside aisles of the supermarket, the freshest food is on the exterior walls of your local grocery store. Dairy, meat, produce, are all fresher, healthier, and less expensive then the prepared meals that are in the inside aisles. Sure it’s convenient to have some microwave dinners in the freezer, but you will pay more for them. The same goes for prepared foods, the sodium and fat levels are high, they have lots of preservatives, and they cost more. Convenience is the price you pay when you don’t cook from scratch.
3. Make it from scratch…remember homemade? It seems that we are all so pressed for time now, that convenience foods are the way to save a few minutes. Made from scratch takes longer, but it costs less. You can also make a little extra for lunches the next day, or freeze leftovers to have on a day when you don’t have time to cook.
4. Shop the sales, I go through the store flyers, and specials in each flyer, then I mentally plan out meals using the sale priced items. Lets say large packs of ground beef are on sale, I can cook it all and freeze it in smaller amounts for when I need it. If there is only one or two items on sale at a particular store that I need, and another store has lots of what I am needing I will skip the first store, because what I save on food, might be spent on gas. And that’s not saving at all.
5. Plan ahead, your grocery costs will be less if you purchase items when they are on sale, and before you need them. It involves a bit of thinking, and preplanning, but in the end not having to run to the corner store for bread will save you $$$$. Because you know that there is no way you are just coming out of there with a loaf of bread. If a item is on sale, take advantage, and buy more then one, if you will use it in the next little while, it’s worth it to stock up.
6. Eat seasonal foods, and veggies when they are in season. Every fruit and veggie has a peak time and that’s usually when they are the least expensive to buy. Buying blueberries in winter will definitely cost you more than when they are in season during the summer months. Fruit and veggies are expensive during the winter, try buying frozen, or freeze your own, they make a great less expensive alternative.
7. And last, don’t buy non grocery items at the grocery store, this hint has always stuck in my head. Deodorant, laundry soap, toothpaste, convenience items are usually more expensive at the grocery store then the pharmacy, because they know that you are not going to make a trip to another store, and will justify the extra cost because of time constraints. If you wait for a sale at the pharmacy, or bulk store you can save even more.
Put the money you have saved from these grocery tips into a daily interest savings account. When you have saved enough, you can send me a post card from the Hawaiian vacation the accumulated savings paid for.
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams