There's no way to avoid it, along with bills and rent at some point you also have to buy food. When you throw in other expenses like cable, your cell phone bill, gas and in my case Golden Girls commemorative collector plates, the costs add up.
As food prices continue to go up all around us it doesn't hurt to have some money saving tips in your back pocket. Incidentally, my back pocket also contains my wallet with maxed out credit cards due to those plates..
There is a wide list of money saving tips for groceries but here are 11 good ones to have at your disposal.
1. Buy Chicken Breast With The Bone In
This can save you half the price compared to boneless chicken breast. In my opinion, the bone in option is better as it keeps more moisture in when cooking and also improves the flavor.
2. Don't Shop Hungry
When you shop hungry not only do you overspend but you tend to load up on too many snack based foods as those can be the things that appeal to you when your blood sugar is low. Buy for what you need later and not what you want right now.
3. Stick To A Shopping List
Those who use a shopping list spend less money than those who don't. When you shop randomly it leads you to spend more time in the store and when it comes to retail this is the plan. The longer you spend in a store the more money you spend.
4. When Buying Seafood Go For Frozen.
No, not the Disney version which my nieces have still not stopped singing but frozen seafood. A lot of "fresh" seafood in stores actually comes in frozen. So a lot of the time the seafood you can find frozen in the store is exactly the same as the thawed product which tends to be marked up by at least 40%
5. Get To Know How Much Food Costs
Without Googling it, how much on average does a pound of chicken drumsticks or thighs cost? How about a pound of mango? If you don't know how much food should normally cost it's hard to know if you're ever spending too much or getting a really good deal. The three items people tend to always know the cost of is bread, eggs, and milk. When you get more educated on food costs you learn when you are getting a deal or when you should pass.
6. Shop With A Basket
When you use a giant shopping cart the tendency is to overfill it. Again, this is the plan and the reason shopping carts have become so much bigger over the years. When you use one you're guaranteed to overspend up to 40% more as opposed to a basket where you only buy what you can carry. It's the reason you see hundreds of shopping carts at stores and only a dozen or so baskets that aren't always easy to find.
7. Don't Fall for "10 for $10 Promotions"
It comes back to understanding how much food costs. These type of promotions are a classic way to clear inventory but you have to check if they are actually worth it. If it's ten cans of tuna for one dollar but the tuna usually costs .79 cents a can there's no deal there. If it is a deal it also means you don't have to buy all ten just get the amount you need.
8. Don't Get Milk At The Supermarket
It might surprise a lot of people but milk found in convenience stores or drugstores can be .30 to .50 cents cheaper.
9. Get A Rain Check On Baked Goods
Some stores will let you buy bakery items up to a month in advance. So when you see a sale go in and buy it but you're not taking it home just yet. You keep the receipt and bring it in closer to the time you need the item. Handy for birthdays and parties to get the best deals instead of running out 2 minutes before the store closes because I forgot it was Mothers Day. Again.
This is the cutline. (Photo: JOSE LUIS PELAEZ INC/Getty)
10. Go For The Cheaper Cuts Of Beef
Use a slow cooker and get the best out of these inexpensive cuts that can end up being just as tender and delicious. Best bets are:
- Skirt steak
- Flank steak
- Chuck & Blade
- Top rump (wasn't that a 90's hip hop group?)
11. Keep An Inventory Of What You Have Already
How many times have you been in the grocery store and are looking at something trying to remember how much of it you may still have at home? If you're me the answer is every time and my house is now overrun with onions. When you do a double check of the fridge and pantry it helps you avoid overbuying on things you already had and didn't need more of.
So there's a few to get you going. Any others you may have? Feel free to share in the comments below!
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