Six ways to save on groceries

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grocery bagI spend about $60 a week on groceries for myself and any family dinners I host. I’m not breaking any records, I know, but I eat in a very particular, quite fussy way, and that ends up being a great deal more expensive than eating crap like instant noodles and whatnot.

Please note: cheap food is only cheap in the short term and disastrously expensive in the long term. Being healthy is the best way to keep yourself out of hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Here are six ways you can save money on groceries, just by being a bit more like me:

  1. Buy enough groceries to last more than a week. That way, you won’t be able to justify picking up something really quick on the way home.
  2. Think of the things you go out for, and buy them at the store. You like to go out for a beer? I won’t judge. But pick up a six pack and remove the temptation to go out.
  3. Buy several different kinds of vegetables. Branch out! Eat seasonally! It’s cheaper to buy vegetables in season. If you don’t know how to cook something, recall the vast world wide web, and buy it anyway. You might find new favorites.
  4. Buy enough different meats to keep things interesting. Meat can be a budget killer, but again, something is always on sale, and you can make one chicken last several meals.
  5. Buy condiments! Fun hot sauce? $3? Sold! If it makes things more interesting, then get the chipotles in adobo or whatever strikes your fancy.
  6. Always buy eggs. That way, if you run out of your more expensive protein options, you still have easy, cheap protein for dinners, or whichever meals you choose.

Once you get home:

  • Chop veggies in different ways. Put them in Tupperware. Then put that in the crisper drawer. Now you don’t have an excuse to throw out wilted cabbage, and since you’ve already put some effort into it, you will be considerably less likely to let it rot. Knowing that there are veggies in the fridge, just waiting for a stir fry or something, will keep you again from heading to a take-out place on your way home from work.
  • Prep other ingredients. Get out your crock pot.
  • Make dinner and put the leftovers into fun containers for lunch. I’m loving the snap lid glass containers.
  • When meal planning, check out the menu of the restaurant you’re skipping this week, and recreate the dish you would order. Sometimes this goes hysterically wrong, but often you find that you’re a better cook than Chilis or Applebee’s.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I've never had whatnot. Is it good? ;-)

    On your vegetable point: buy the veggies at a farmer's market. It's a fun outing and you're helping local growers. Double win!

  2. says

    Good tips. I'm still struggling with the food budget, even though I eat at home 95% of the time. I don't know if it has something to do with being a bad, uncreative cook or what! I would love to just spend 60/week on groceries. Good job!

  3. says

    I definitely find that when I pre-chop veggies, it's easier for me to cook, so I will actually do it. I don't spend much on groceries because I just know exactly what I'll eat that week, and I make sure to have backups.

  4. says

    I definitely cut up the veggies I purchase as soon as I get home and put them into containers. If I don't, they end up staying in the bottom drawer of the fridge and they are forgotten.

  5. Ashley says

    $60/week on groceries seems pretty impressive to me! Good job! I need to cut up my veggies – that is a great idea. I let too much go bad.

  6. says

    My grocery bill was lowest when I shopped on a biweekly basis. My menu wasn't all that exciting as I always bought the same things to keep me under $60/trip, but it was cheap! It also helped that at the time I lived in an area where the economy allowed all purchases to be cheaper than the one I'm in right now.

  7. bogofdebt says

    We do biweekly shopping with quick runs for milk every now and then. It's helped out a lot. I eat all the veggies/fruit (which I've been trying to buy locally via a local owned company or the farmers market) so that's not an issue. We find that we can usually make a dish better at home than it is at a resturant. We love fajiatas and will buy the ingredients to make at home. We make meal plans which also cut back on our grocery bill.

  8. says

    Your grocery budget is impressive, Kathleen. I really like the idea you had about cutting up veggies as soon as you get home. I'm going to start doing this! Thanks for the great tips.

  9. says

    Definitely agree with always buying eggs. I never think I'll use all of them but they always get used! Plus if I can't think of anything for dinner but I want something fast, an omelette is way easier, cheaper, and healthier than going out to buy something to eat.

  10. says

    Great tips! I usually do menu planning week by week, but I almost go to the store inbetween that because I forget something – Having a CSA has made it a bit tougher because I dont always know how to cook what I get from them and have to spend some time searching. I've been saving a lot at the store lately because i Have had no time to even go due to all the house work!

  11. says

    Love these tips! I just started cooking recently (after years of eating super expensive convenience foods) and I'm always looking for ways to save. A lot of my trips in the beginning were very costly because I lacked basic cooking supplies, but now that I have them, I'm amazed how long I can make food last. I've become a big fan of cooking huge meals and freezing them for later – that way I don't get burned out after 3 days of the same leftovers, and I also don't have the excuse that a frozen dinner is easier because I won't waste food.

  12. says

    I jump on #3! Whenever I find something that I don't recognize, I'm on my smartphone trying to figure out what to do with it. It was awesome in foreign countries, too, where you can usually just ask someone at the store. Variety is the spice of life. :-)

  13. says

    I've started cooking a lot more now that I am getting married. When I was single I would just eat cereal or a salad and go to bed. Future hubby won't go for that! He wants cooked meals, so these are some great tips. I think I'll start experimenting with condiments.

  14. Katie says

    I love using my crock pot. It's fun to just throw some stuff in there and see how it turns out. lol I probably use it more than anything else. I have also been using up extra fruit in cobblers and bread lately. They have actually been turning out pretty good.

  15. says

    These are great tips! We feed our family on $600 a month (that's 2 adults & 2.5 teenagers). It's a struggle, but we do it. And we eat healthy – I do not buy hardly any process junk! Cooking is cheaper anyway. :)

  16. Amy says

    Wow, $60 per week?! Way to go. Our goal is stay under $5 per lunch/dinner per person, but even that is difficult sometimes. You're spending half of what we do AND your creations are always delicious.

  17. says

    Great advice! Most meals can be made with a few ingredients. Mixing things up with a couple of spices or a diferent vegetable can give you more options for basically the same stuff.

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