Here it is--our definitive post on how to save at the checkout counter! I've got a ton of tips coming, but first, a giveaway--
Last week was our giveaway post for Mary Ostyn's Family Feasts on $75 a Week! So today it's time to announce a winner. I'm going to randomly pick a winner from the comments, so drumroll please:
And the winner is....
Dianne from Bunny Trails!
Dianne has such a beautiful blog! I used a random number generator to choose a winner, and Dianne won, so congratulations!
If you didn't win, I really encourage you to get the book anyway. It's not expensive, and it will save you tons of money with lots of great ideas. Here it is:
In the meantime, we've had so many great tips entered in the comments that I wanted to summarize them all here for you. So if you want to save money on groceries, here are the top ways:
1. Coupons, coupons, coupons. They work! And if you don't know where to get coupons, or you don't know what's on sale at different grocery stores, don't worry! You don't even need to keep track of it anymore, because the website A Full Cup lets you print out coupons by store and by product, and generates shopping lists based on sale items at your store of choice. It's awesome, and it's got everything! For coupon lovers, you must CHECK IT OUT!
2. Meal Plan. When you know what you're going to eat, you buy for what you're going to eat. You don't buy a lot of stuff that's just going to sit in your cupboards (or turn to green mush in your vegetable drawers). If you can't handle the thought of getting that organized, let someone else do it for you! Check out Dine Without Whine . They provide the menus and the shopping lists, and it's easy!
3. Think Italian. Pasta makes meat and veggies go a lot farther. And you don't need a lot of meat in spaghetti! Try to start cutting down on the ground beef and substituting more veggies. It's healthier, and a lot cheaper!
4. Use cereal wisely. Think of it as a main course once a week, say Sunday after a busy day. Don't eat it everyday, unless you can buy it on major sale.
5. Stretch out one meal into more. For instance, cook a big chicken, but then use the leftovers in a shepherd's pie. Then use the bones in a soup stock. Freeze all leftover meat. You can make 3-4 meals from one chicken or one beef roast like that. I always freeze all the little bits that are leftover, even if it's just enough for one person. That makes a soup that will feed four. And if you combine those little bits, you've now got enough for a stroganoff or a casserole.
6. Buy only what you like. Don't buy on impulse because you "should". Stretch yourself certainly by trying a new veggie every now and then, but remember: you're unlikely to eat it if you really don't like it. I once bought liver sure that I would make us all eat it. I lectured the kids backwards and forwards on not grousing about it. I told them I would make it and they would eat it and be grateful, because we all needed the iron. Then I went to cut it and it squeaked. Meat is not supposed to squeak. I threw it out, and that was the end of that.
7. Shop on days that the supermarket reduces the meat by 50%. Freeze it that day, and then it's still fine.
8. Don't buy pre-packaged foods. Make it from scratch.
9. Invest in a freezer. You can get a good one for a few hundred dollars, and then stock up when stuff is on sale. When bread is on sale, buy a bunch and freeze it. We also buy half a cow at a time, cut the way we want it. It's so much cheaper (and healthier, because we buy it from farmers we know).
10. Organize your recipes. When they're all easy to find and your kitchen is easy to figure out, you're more likely to cook, and less likely to call for pizza!
11. Keep track of what's in your pantry and--here's the important part--actually eat it. Often we go to the grocery store and buy stuff we already have. Make it a challenge to eat through your cupboards. The average family has $275 in groceries in their house at any one time. If you need to save a few hundred dollars this month, then, just eat what you already have.
12. Cut your meat yourself. Buy whole chickens and chop them up. Buy big cuts of beef and then cut them for stir fries, stews, etc. Cut it yourself and it's cheaper.
13. Get food free! Find out when restaurants throw stuff out, and ask to have it. One woman wrote that she found an Italian restaurant that routinely throws out fifty pounds of pizza dough every Saturday night. So she collects what she wants, and the family has pizza pockets, pizzas, and more!
That is the accumulated wisdom from these blog readers! Hope that helps you! Now go get your recipes and pantry organized, and write a menu plan for the week. And good luck! You can do it!
Subscribe to To Love, Honor and Vacuum
Labels: family meals, saving, shopping