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Nine Ways to Reduce Your Grocery Budget
5 years ago
| Surprise Me

These tips probably make sense in any environment, but are particularly important in the face of rising food costs, high unemployment and a time of high economic uncertainty. I highly recommend taking the time now to streamline your food budget and use some of the savings to build a pantry of stockpiled food.


Best case scenario, your pantry will provide cheaper food than is currently available in the store. Worst case scenario, your pantry will provide food if there isn’t any in the store. It’s my hope that we never face the latter scenario, but I’d rather be prepared just in case.


1. Plan to shop every two weeks. Make room in your pantry (and your budget) to shop for enough food to last two weeks. The more often you see the inside of a store, the more likely you will give into temptation and deviate from your list.


2. Buy in-season produce. The simple laws of supply and demand tell us that things that are plentiful should be a little cheaper. Of course, the opposite is true if a particular produce item is not plentiful in your area, because it has to be shipped in from another part of the country (or world), and those increased costs to transport are passed along to you, the consumer.


3. Eat less. This one seems obvious, but to someone like me raised on three squares (big squares) a day, the idea of skipping a meal or two seems foreign. However, here lately I’ve been trying to eat only when hungry, not when the clock says 8:00, 12:00 and 6:00.


4. Grow your own vegetables. The last couple years we’ve experimented withsquare foot gardening. This year, we plan to expand on the idea and grow a variety of vegetables in garden boxes in our backyard. We also planted fruit trees last fall that will hopefully yield fresh fruits in the years to come.


5. Compare unit costs, not product packaging and creative pricing. Remember bigger isn’t always cheaper, and neither are the 10/$10 deals. I recently stocked up on a few items included in a 10/$10 sale and the next week the store returned the item to their normal price…$0.88.


6. Consider swapping beans or eggs for meats when looking for a protein source. Like any good carnivore, I like to build a meal around a good meat. Unfortunately, this can get expensive. Here lately, we’ve been enjoying eating “breakfast” for dinner – with scrambled eggs as the main course.  Beans also provide a nice source of protein and can augment a smaller amount of meat in dishes like tacos and chili to bulk up the recipe with out increasing the cost per meal.


7. Avoid the “junk food” aisle. Nothing good comes from this aisle. Soft drinks, chips, snack cakes, and cookies are simply empty calories. And they are expensive when you consider you can’t plan a meal around them. Your waistline won’t miss this aisle, either. Now, this is an area where I need to take my own advice!


8. Eat leftovers. One of the most effective ways to lower your cost per meal is to simply stretch your prepared foods across more meals. In fact, I have found that meals like spaghetti, soups, and meatloaf actually taste better the next night.


9. Freeze the extras. If you are short on freezer space, consider a second freezer to stock up on meats and vegetables when on sale, or to freeze leftovers of your favorite meals. My wife makes a huge batch of soup and freezes the portions we don’t eat the first two days for later consumption. Weeks later, on a particularly hectic day, we’ll toss the frozen soup in  a crock pot to thoroughly reheat and enjoy an easy meal.


From FrugalDad

5 years ago


More information to expand this important thread as food shortages will be coming and hyper-inflation of grocery shopping has already begun.

5 years ago

Ooops! Too late to edit, so I apologise for the double post!


I found MOST of what I spent was on stuff like cleaning products!!  Not now!! a) very cheap ones work just as well as the higher priced. b) You can use things like vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice etc and make your own!! 

This post was modified from its original form on 30 Mar, 11:56
5 years ago

Cleaning products... Amen, Lynn!

5 years ago

My previous post went into the ether!! Thanks Care2!


I appreciate that buying and eating habits in the USA are probably different...BUT, how can you only shop every two weeks and still benefit from eating FRESH PRODUCE??!! Does not compute!


Not buying processed, packagedf food, not buying imported food...that all makes excellent sense.


My top tip?  LEARN TO COOK PROPERLY!!! You can use cheaper cuts of meat and make delicious vegetarian meals too. It also means I can walk into my kitchen on a "no money" occassion, look in the fridge and the cupboards and still make a feast!


I was a bit confused by number 6! What about FISH?? OK, I appreciate fresh fish is expensive, but, especially if you are a woman, you should apparently be eating at least 3 portions of OILY fish a week. That includes things like tinned sardines which cost next to nothing!  And you can be imaginative with them....I have an excellent recipe if you are interested!

5 years ago

" appreciate that buying and eating habits in the USA are probably different...BUT, how can you only shop every two weeks and still benefit from eating FRESH PRODUCE??!! Does not compute!"


I do agree with that.  But I go in with a lost and ONLY go to the produce section.

5 years ago

That, Nancy, is an EXCELLENT point!! A list is essential, otherwise you end up buying all sorts of stuff you don't need.

5 years ago

For SURE go in with a list! (or send your hubby with one, like I do lol)


Stay away from the 'middle' aisles - everything you need to 'live' is along the walls (as a norm), like produce (the most important department), dairy, and meats (if you buy them, as a rule we don't).


I don't think the writer was suggesting we only buy produce once every two weeks, but rather "pantry stuff".  Milk, if you drink it, likely won't last two weeks either.


If you're lucky, except in winter when we should be eating those canned veggies and fruits from when they were 'in season', fresh (I miss that, and should get in the habit of canning) you'll have a farmers market to get 'fresh' produce - ours sets up twice a week.


5 years ago

I eat canned and frozen tomatoes in winter, that is true!! And beans and chick peas too, BUT there are wonderful winter veggies available......turnips, swede, parsnips, carrots, sprouts, greens, cauliflower. And, of course, what vitamins you lack are made up for in winter fruit like oranges..or apples (yuk!! in my case!!) which if properly stored will keep all winter.  I am soooo happy I live in France where we tend to preserve a lot of fruit in alcoholic form...sloes, blackberries etc! Hic!! 

5 years ago

Oranges are a 'winter' fruit?  And how do you store fresh fruit to survive a winter?

5 years ago

    At least in the US, oranges are produced during our "winter" in places like Florida and CA.  Is that what you were commenting upon? 

5 years ago

Those are excellent suggestions.  I have discovered a couple of others.


 1.  We have a gourmet grocery store in our area.  I shop there for specials.  They do a lot of 2 for 1 reduced pricing - and it changes every couple of days. Sometimes the expensive places may have the best sales.


 2.  If you can't start a garden, find a local veggie stand.  The veggie stand I shop at sells for less than half of what the same veggies cost in the grocery store. 

This post was modified from its original form on 30 Mar, 18:00
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