Do you wonder “How can I save money on food and eat well too? You know it’s good to be Thrifty? It leaves money in your pocket for what really matters. There are many ways to save money on food and eat well too.
I have made big changes in my food shopping in the past 6 months or so. I had never calculated how much I spent on groceries until the day I checked my credit card bill (I pay everyting with my card to get points) and saw I spent around $250 a month, quite consistently. I thought this was a little high and I decided to see if I could find ways to save money on food.
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5 ways to save money on food (while eating well)
Look at how much you normally spend and set a food budget 20% lower for the next month to save money on food.
- For example if you normally spend $250. a month on food – excluding cleaning products, toilet paper, etc., set your food budget at 80% of that, or $200. a month. If you are already spending wisely you may not lower your food bill as much as I did. On the other hand, you may find you can be a lot more thrifty and still eat really well.
The first thing I did was to keep track in writing of every grocery purchase, noting what was purchased. I now know how much I spend on vegetables, meat, and any other food. As a bonus, I see I do eat my fruits and veggies.
I started in January and it has helped me keep my food bill under $200. I eat as well as before and waste much less food.
Where keeping tab on my food shopping has helped is to prevent me from buying – and freezing too much meat. I have, in the past, had to throw frozen meat because it had become freezer burned.
Now I check my freezers (yes, two fridge, two freezers) before I succumb to buying meat or fish because it’s on special. Because both fridges and freezers are less packed, well a little less, I can now see what’s in the back and avoid waste.
Because I have a competitive spirit, I also try to beat my new maximum to spend even less and I have succeeded a few times since January.
Visit ethnic food stores. Asian and Lebanese, and other ethnic food stores and save money on food.
I love my local Asian grocery store. It has sauces I can’t get anywhere else, which allow me to give a Chinese or Thai flavour to meat or vegetables. This cookbook has over 250 recipes from around the world
Speaking of vegetables, the Asian grocery store has great prices on some greens: that’s where I buy my watercress for salads – it’s always fresh and cheaper than at the grocery store. Bok choy and other vegetables are great for stir fry and they have a great variety of noodles for Pho or other Asian dishes.
I usually buy a large bag (20 lbs) of Jasmine rice for under $20. But check your local superstore for that, as I recently got a bag for my daughter of Jasmine long grain rice for $10. (see tip no. 3 below)
Ethnic stores have great buys to put some variety in your cooking: Lobster sauce, Sweet Chili Sauce, Fish Sauce, good soya sauce and Hoisin sauce.
I also love Lebanese stores for their wonderful sweets, especially baklava, soaps, specialty cheeses, and other flavorful products. Here are some recipes to try tonight.
Check Out The Weekend Grocery Flyers
I spend about 20 minutes every week looking at about 5 – 6 grocery flyers online. Have pen and paper and jot down what you need and which store has the best prices on both what you need and what you want to stock up on. It’s not worth driving 10 miles to save a few dollars but it’s definitely worth it when I save $10, $20. or more. You can also subscribe to receive the eflyer with the stores that have them.
That’s how I got chicken thighs and drumsticks at $1.50 a pound yesterday – an unheard price in my city) as well as Pomegranate Juice at $2.50 instead of the $5. I usually pay.
Build your meals around the specials and save money on food
Once you have chosen what you will buy this week, plan your meals around those specials. Make a rough written food menu for dinners every week. It does not have to be written in stone, but it will save you the stress of “what will I make for dinner”. Having a plan will help you to thaw the meat or fish the night before. If you find it difficult to plan, check online or this $5. a month service can save you lots of time and money: subscribe to this service to help you plan your meals.
Ask for a Raincheck when the store is out of the specials you wanted and continue to save
It’s something I often forget but most large grocery stores will give you a raincheck usually valid for one month, for most everything in the store.
I recently got one for Bing cherries at $3.99. The clerk actually reminded me to ask for a raincheck, because he said the price the next day would be $6.99 a pound.
Bonus to save money on food: Buy in bulk.
Remember your Bulk Barn store or other bulk food store in your city. Spices cost a fraction of what you would pay at the grocery store. I can usually fill my little jars for between 30 and 50 cents each. Oats, sea salt, wild rice, nuts, flour, brown sugar, natural peanut butter, and hundreds of other products will save tons of money, and the best thing is you can buy only enough to last you a few months, instead of jars of spices that last forever but lose their flavor after a few months. Most of these stores also have specials making buying in bulk even cheaper.
I hope you found some of these tips useful to help you save more money on food. If so, please let me know in the comments area and share with your network and on social media. Thanks.