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Grocery Saving Tips

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-09-30 7:00 am --

The monthly grocery bill is usually more of an emotional barometer than a reflection of wise planning. If you are hurried and stressed, the monthly bank statement will probably be littered with numerous, small trips to the corner grocery store.

Shoppers who are chronically short on time are shocked to see that the dozen or so hasty trips to the grocery store rack up receipts that are hundreds more than expected. Another breed of disorganized shopper finds that instead of devoting enough resources to groceries, money disappears elsewhere, leaving the family to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and upteen spaghetti dinners. Whether you are trying to reclaim your grocery budget or tame it, the following strategies will put you back in control of your grocery dollars.

  • Set a realistic goal. The first step to staying in budget is setting one in the first place. Determine a reasonable amount of money to spend and stick to it.
  • Plan a menu with the full understanding that you – and not a personal chef who is blessedly free of kid-chauffeuring responsibilities – will be doing the cooking. In other words, create a menu that fits your life, as well as your enthusiasm for cooking.
  • But, learn how to cook anyway. Not only is processed food more expensive, it's loaded with sodium and plenty of other unpronounceable ingredients you don't want to feed your family. There are plenty of simple recipes that taste great.
  • Make a list of these meals and have the ingredients on hand.
  • Stop throwing away leftovers. Most leftovers can be frozen or reinvented in another recipe. An alternative is to reduce the amount you cook in the first place.
  • Use fresh ingredients first. Vegetables are especially versatile, and just because the recipe calls for frozen corn, doesn't mean you can't find a way to work in the celery in the fridge instead. Get creative. Instead of milk in the macaroni and cheese, use the last spoonful of sour cream.
  • Identify the items you can't go without yet seem to always run out of. Determine how much of these items you need for one week. Then, determine the place that sells these for the best price. If the place across town sells milk 40 cents cheaper than the corner store, buy enough gallons and freeze the extras (remember to pour a small amount from each gallon before freezing.)
  • Plan enough time for grocery shopping each week. You may have to go on a different day each week, but set aside a couple of hours so that you can shop without feeling rushed.