Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ten Ways I Save Money on Groceries

I nearly croaked when I went to the grocery story yesterday.
Prices have gone up AGAIN! 

I learned to be thrifty from my mother and grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression. 
And, even though we like to eat well...and I mean well...I'm usually pretty careful with my food budget.

Here are some ways I save money on groceries:

1. Be flexible
Make a list, but be flexible. I make a general list...milk, veggies, meat, etc. 
If I see something on sale that I can use, then I buy it, and plan my meals around that. 
Also, DON'T be a picky eater. 
You can look at me and tell I'm not. :)

2. Study the grocery store ads.
I don't run from one store to another. I save time and money by looking at the stores ads online, before I leave home.
Sometimes, stores have sales that aren't listed in their weekly ads...manager's specials, etc. So, check when you get there.

3. Stock up when things are on sale. 
Most grocery store chains run sales every 6-8 weeks. 
Yesterday, cereal was on sale for $1.99, so I bought six boxes. That should last us until it goes on again in 6 or 8 weeks.

4. I buy mostly store brands
Most of the time they're less expensive than name brands, but I always check the price to make sure. 
Sometimes, name brands are cheaper. If I have coupons I use them, but do not buy something just because I have a coupon.

5. I buy bread at the dollar store
This is a new one for me. 
I recently found that our favorite brand of bread, which is $3.28 at the grocery store, is $1 at Dollar Tree!

I asked the DT associate what day the bread is delivered, and go on that day, for a better selection.
We don't eat a lot of sandwiches, so I put the bread in the freezer. When I need a couple of slices, I take out what I need and thaw them. You can thaw them in the microwave for a few seconds on 50% power. 

6. Buy in bulk.
 Canned goods, paper products, and pasta, all keep just as well on my pantry shelf as they do on the store shelf. 

I buy a whole pork loin on sale, and either cut it into chops, or have the butcher do it. The same with whole chickens. Most meat departments will cut it for free.

7. I rarely throw out good food.
Potato chips or slightly stale crackers can be crushed and used as toppings on casseroles. 
Have a tablespoon or two of something that's left from a meal, but not enough for another meal?
I save small amounts in the freezer to be used later, in a casserole or soup. 
Bread heels can be made into bread crumbs, croutons, or bread pudding.
Bits of left over cooked chicken or ham can be added to rice or pasta, or shredded and mixed with mayonnaise, to make chicken or ham salad.  

8. Use less meat. 
I use a little less meat than the recipe calls for in casseroles and spaghetti sauce. No one in my family ever notices the difference.

9. I shop for non grocery items at "big box" stores, unless they're on sale, for a better price, at the grocery store.
I also buy generic/house brands when possible.

10. Prevent strawberries from spoiling.
Strawberries are on sale now, but left in the carton, they seem to go bad almost overnight in the fridge.
So, as soon as I get them home, I wash and hull them, and cut them in halves or quarters. Then, I put them in a plastic container, with a sprinkle or two of sugar...or as much as you like.

They then can be used for cereal, or frozen for later use in strawberry cobbler, etc. 

Do y'all have any tips for saving money at the grocery store? 
Let me know...I'd love to hear them. 
Saving money on groceries makes me does the Senior Day discount. ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by.

I hope y'all have a happy and safe Memorial Day. 

God bless our service men and women, who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and God bless America.

xo Babs

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A Southern Daydreamer ~ Outdoor Wednesday
Ivy and Elephants ~ What's It Wednesday
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The Jenny Evolution ~ Friday Flash Blog
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Linda @ A La Carte said...

Great tips! Living alone, I have to plan carefully to use food and not let things go to waste. I like your ideas a lot!


Sunflowers With Smiles said...

Great tips! Groceries are so high where I live too! I buy sale times and bulk items too. I think Trader Joes prices are reasonable, so on a monthly basis, I drive to Charleston and buy groceries. They also have some of my favorites that other stores don't carry.

Lynn said...

Great tips! My biggest tip for reducing costs is... beans! As for keeping fresh strawberries longer, take them out of the store carton and store them in a single layer in a covered container on paper towels in the fridge-works great:@)

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

This is such a great post. I do much of the same thing and really try to keep the pantry full and take advantage of all those sales too.

Deb said...

Lots of good tips here, Babs. I also bought a Nutri-bullet and make smoothies with any fruit and veggies that can be used up that way. No waste here. Deb

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Great tips. I was fortunate today to hit a "buy $50 worth of groceries and save $10". With coupons I spent $46 and that was milk, oj, bread etc and enough meat for the 2 of us for several meals. AND I got strawberries for $1.88 so I appreciate the tip!

Stacey said...

Great tips! I do most of these. Right now there are 6 jars of Ragu that I found on sale for 99 cents each. I use them for lasagna. :) I also grab multiple boxes of cereal when I find them for $2.00 or less. It's nice to know a target price for things and buy multiples when you find them for good prices.

Now I will confess, I made meatloaf this week. Yesterday I threw away a serving of it just because I didn't want to bother with it. Bad move! That would have made a yummy sandwich.

One thing I have been doing lately, I look at all the ads and make a list of the cheapest prices. WalMart grocery store will price match so there's no running around town.

Rustique Restoration said...

All great tips!! Thanks for sharing! Yes, I have one, leave the hubby at home! haha Seems like the bill is always higher when he tags along :) xo Jen

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

I pretty much follow the same guidelines. I don't follow the ads though, I just go to this one store that always has great prices. I make my meals and don't rely on prepared foods which you always pay the most for. We buy our paper goods, laundry soap, coffee, milk and eggs at our Sam's Club. Their prices are a definite savings over the grocery store. Great post! Have a wonderful weekend and a great Memorial Day. XO Liz

Bonnie said...

Good tips. I need to be more organized and efficient.

Have a great weekend.

Alycia Nichols said...

This is such a timely post, Babs, as we're going into the summer months and watching food prices inch up. Sometimes they don't even bother to inch...they just boldly skyrocket!

We shop Costco for paper goods and foods that can be broken into smaller portions for a 2-person household. Like Liz said, we don't rely on pre-prepared foods, opting to cook from scratch. It's generally healthier, always less pricey and fresher. I go through the sales flyers online or when they come in the mail (if I remember to go to the mailbox since most of what we get in there is just junk!). I generally shop 3 different stores, 2 of which offer cents toward gasoline purchases for buying certain products. These are products I'd buy anyway - very often store brands - so no prob. (I have saved up to 42 cents a gallon on gas with those gas programs!!!) All my stores are right along the same route, so no deviating from the path and losing money in extra gas. I am REALLY big on buying non-perishables in massive quantities. I just store stuff wherever I can. It's worth having to put a few in cabinets where I don't normally put stuff just to enjoy the savings!

I just bought strawberries yesterday, and I plan to wash, hull, slice and sugar 'em down this afternoon so we can enjoy them over the weekend.

Here's a tip for summertime grocery shopping that I've been doing for years: Put a cooler in the back seat of your car with a few ice packs. Dairy products, meats and tender veggies make it home unscathed by the heat and humidity! This works particularly well since I stop at 3 different stores. It's not a problem to leave the groceries in the car for a while!

This is a great discussion topic, Babs! I'm looking through all the other comments to get other ideas!

Have a terrific weekend!

Sarah said...

Babs, I grew up with a frugal mother and grandmother too. I need to be better, and these are excellent tips. You have it down pat! I stocked up on cleaning supplies yesterday just because we had a $15 coupon to spend with a $75 purchase. ;-)
I need to take advantage of sales more often.
Thanks for sharing your great ideas. Enjoy the weekend!

An Oasis in the Desert said...

Those are all some great ideas, Babs. I do a lot of those same things.

I love your large pitcher of basil -- beautiful bouquet!

Pat said...

I agree, that grocery prices have skyrocketed here in the past few months. I appreciated all your tips for saving money on groceries and use most of them myself. I still make our recipes for 4 servings, then freeze half and use on a day when "Mr. Ed" and I are busy gardening or designing.
I agree with your statment . . .but do not buy something just because I have a coupon.
Here's a few tips we have found to keep our grocery cost down:
* Purchase meat at our local Meat Locker. Great savings at price per lb over grocery stores.
*Buy canned items, paper products @ Aldis.
*Shop the $ales. . .and use coupons.!!!
Thanks, again, for all the helpful and reminder tips!!!
Have a wonderful week ahead, dear friend!!!