After rent, grocery shopping is the biggest group for my spending. And, if you think about it, that makes sense. The first most important thing is having a warm, safe place to sleep, and the second most important thing in life is eating. And since I only eat out on very special occasions, like Fridays, most of my eating spending is for ingredients, not service. So I’m already saving a bunch of money. But my stomach isn’t so happy with many cheap ingredients (wheat, corn, rice, etc) so I’m stuck buying high-quality (and pricier!) items. That doesn’t mean I can’t save money on groceries.
How to save money on groceries:
- Don’t buy things in boxes. That cardboard box must be mightily expensive. Go for cereal in bags (if you must eat cereal, that is!), buy in bulk, stop wasting your money by letting other people prep convenience foods.
- Chop your own vegetables. Unless, however, you’re so lazy that the only veggies you’ll eat are veggies that some grocery store already chopped for you. In that case, buy the chopped veggies.
- Skip the deli. No good can come from deli meat, let’s be real. It’s more expensive and worse for you to eat the processed meat than to cook and slice your own meat (and honestly, that is not very hard!)
- Canned soup does nobody any good. Unless your name is Campbell, you should not be buying soup in cans. If you can read, you can easily make better soup than 99% of all the soup out there.
- Don’t use coupons, unless they’re for something you’re already buying anyway, and that’s not likely if you’re following rule number 1.
- Prep your veggies as soon as you get home, before you put them in the refrigerator. This is a 2-for-1 deal. One, you’ve chopped everything and it’s ready for whatever you cook throughout the week. Two, and you won’t realize this until you’ve done it a few times, but once you chop, you have something invested in these veggies, and you won’t let them go bad. Part of your brain (the zombie part, likely) will say, “TAKEOUT!” and the other part will say, “you know, I chopped some broccoli and I definitely don’t want it to go bad so I should figure out something to do with it.”
- Remember, cheap food is only cheap in the short-term. This is my most important tip. Eating crap food will save you money today, and earn your doctor money in the future. Eat nine servings of vegetables a day. I’m serious. Nine. Then realize how good you feel. Add protein and fat, but don’t make those the biggest part of your plate (unless you’re cooking prime rib for your friends, then it’s totally okay).
- Cook what you want, and freeze the leftovers. Don’t let food go to waste. Visualize throwing greenbacks into the trash, then you will not complain about leftovers. If you make so much that you’re bound to eat it for lunch and dinner six days in a row (GUILTY!) then buy some one-portion freezable storage containers and by golly, use them!
- Make eating in a habit. That’s right. The first night you justify going out because you don’t have any food is a slippery slope to going out four nights a week, and you should only do that if someone is remodeling your kitchen. Eat in as a general rule and go out for special occasions.
- Earn $100 toward groceries. Or whatever you want! Jeffrey is back with yet another giveaway. You can earn Amazon bucks or PayPal cash. Both would be good around the holidays. Neither would cover the prime rib’s cost. But you should enter anyway.