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Friday, August 1, 2008

Top 10 Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollar

Our little family of five—two adults and three children—live well within our means of an annual salary that would probably qualify us for government aid. Most people question how it is possible for a family such as ours to survive on so little (and own a nice home without sub prime loan) and still have money to save with every paycheck. Mostly, we have just learned over the years how to shop frugally, conserve energy and reuse items. For instance, I have learned how to feed our family for roughly $30 a week without coupons (mostly because I haven’t figured out how to use coupons yet). For today, I thought it would be useful to share with my readers my secrets to stretching your grocery dollar. Here are the top 10 ways:

1.) Eat a snack or meal before you go shopping. This is essential if you want to reduce impulse buying (yah, you really don’t need that extra bag of cookies).

2.) Make a list and stick to it. Again, this will be easier if you will not go shopping while hungry! No, your kids don’t need that new, expensive cereal.

3.) Sign up for one of those savings cards. It is free for most grocery stores and it helps you save even more money. Don’t worry, if you forget it, most chains can look you up by phone number or will scan their own card to save you money.

4.) Eat less junk food. If you are not buying candy, donuts and chips, then you are cutting out high cost per serving food items and thus saving your family in the short and long term.

5.) Eat portion size helpings. Check out this website for more information.

6.) Eat leftovers. Yah, quit being a complainer and eat leftovers. You’d be surprised how many meals eaten the day after they are made taste better.

7.) Eat out less or stop doing it altogether. You’re really paying for the ambience in most cases and not for high quality food. Most of that food you are eating (yes, even at Chili’s, TGIF and Joe’s) is all prepackaged. Besides that, as my husband’s grandma says, it all turns to crap anyways. So that means that you just spent $50 for crap!

8.) Drink filtered water. Did you know that you spend more on water per gallon than you do gas when you buy it in those little bottles? Doh!

9.) Learn how to make rice and other staples from scratch. Rice can be cooked Oriental style, Mexican, Spanish, cereal (and I know a couple of you who are going to laugh at that), dirty, Indian, soups, salads, and more. Per serving it is still cheap. Also try milling your own whole wheat flour and learn how to make breads, tortillas, muffins, etc with it. You can add eggs (which are cheap and high in protein) to almost anything...

10.) Try picking your own wild, edible fruits. In my area, I can pick and eat purple prickly pears, wild grapes, persimmons, pecans, plums, mulberries, blackberries and more in season. Make sure you know they are edible before you eat anything gathered from the wild.

And here's another: Get a fishing and/or hunting license and use it to feed yourself and your family. Okay, I guess that was eleven!

What are your tips?


Kristi said...

So funny you posted about this today. I just got back from grocery shopping and was discouraged by how pricey food has gotten lately. But my one tip is to use the ads that the grocery stores send in the mail to my house each week. I get around 5 different flyers, find out what's on sale, plan my menu around it, and then, to save gas, I take all the flyers to Super Wal-mart and have them price-match. I just saved a TON on pork chops, chicken breasts, and ground beef. I just portion it out into freezer bags and stock my freezer full. Then I don't have to buy meat for a month or more, and usually by then it's on sale again. I usually save at least 50% on meat that way.

Allie said...

You know, I almost mentioned checking the various flyers and then having Wal-Mart or another grocery store honor those prices (our Tom Thumb store will honor other chains' ads), but since I havent ever tried it I decided to stay mute. I am so glad it works and will definitely try your suggestion next time.

Something else I learned while at Wal-Mart the other day is that they guarantee all their produce and will refund or replace if you are not satisfied with your produce purchase.

Also, most stores will let you "try before you buy" the produce (the produce worker will slice it for you). I'd just wouldnt get into the habit for fear they would think I was some kind of freak! LOL

A Mac said...

My mom needs to plan meals instead of always running through the drive thur or eating out(i cant complain though) but it would save money and help not gaining excess weight!

p.s make sure to comment mine and do the polls thanks for setting me up. it is kinda like a public online journal/diary

Shanna said...

I really enjoyed reading this one..I need some tips from you! $30 per week is very good!

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