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I like saving money on what I buy. So much that I have made mistakes in the past by stocking up on perishables and had to throw food away. However, there are ways to really save money on food. These next 5 tips are some of the ways I do. Mark Cuban, billionnaire of the Shark Tank has been known to advise to stock on non perishables, even saying “use that space under the bed for the storage of your non perishables”. If he, with his wealth can say that, I totally want to do it. Might not make me a billionnaire but “a penny saved is a penny earned”.
Here are some food items I never buy at full price: chicken breast, or legs, or thighs, butter, peanut butter, ice cream, whipping cream, olive oil, toothpaste, mouthwash, canned tomatoes, canned salmon, canned tuna, ground beef, steak, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup and pasta. And maybe a few more I just don’t remember right now.
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1. Know your prices and check the flyers
To save money, you need to know what the regular price was (is) at the same store and elsewhere. That means you need to learn the regular price of most items you use regularly. Without that information you can be misled into thinking you are getting a deal. Some “discount” stores often advertise big specials. Some are real, others not so much. If you really want to lower your grocery bills, you also should become familiar with the usual prices of the specials. For example, the peanut butter I buy(brand) is regularly over $5. a kg. It often comes on special at $4.00 a kg but the real pleasure of stocking up is when I get it at $3. a kg. Flyers are online a day or two before the day the specials start. With a list it’s easy to go through my 5-6 stores in about 30 minutes and take note (I used pen and paper) of what is which price where.
2. Often it’s worth driving around to take save money
Well, it depends. My car does around 12-14 kms a liter. A liter costs $1. right now. If I am going to save around $10. or more then spending $2. on gas is worth it to me most of the time. I recently saved $26. on one grocery trip that cost me $2. worth of gas. Food tastes better when I get a good deal. However, I don’t travel if there is a snow storm or if it’s a really busy week. In those cases, I’ll wait until next time. There is always a next time. Everything always comes back on special within a few weeks. And because I have a well-stocked pantry, I can wait.
3. Buy generic.
At least for some items. I admit I have strong preferences for the brand of some items, ok, a few items: butter, peanut butter, toothpaste, yogourt, ice cream, tuna and probably a few others I just can’t remember right now. As I mentioned above, I only those items when they are on special. For me saving money is not about feeling deprived. If I was financially strapped, then it would be generic all the way. But I am not and I love food. Better eat less and well.
4. Shop every two weeks or even once every month
I have not yet mastered the shopping once a month – except I have so much non-perishables in my pantry that for those items I can shop once every 3 months or so – but for perishables, I have recently put myself on a schedule of shopping once every two weeks – for fruits, vegetables, ice cream, milk and meat or fish. I have found that I spent much less than I normally do since I no longer stop by the store for one item and, you may relate, leave with a full shopping bag. The less often you enter the grocery store, the more money you save.
5. Be adventurous
Try recipes that call for less known but cheaper ingredients. A vegeterian chili can feed a crowd and has as much flavor as the one with meat. The same goes for spaghetti sauce. If you want the meat flavor, adding half pound of ground meat, or less, to either does the trick, and you can also add chick peas (ground) to the spaghetti sauce. It thickens it and adds needed proteins.
Pearls of Wisdom
Make a budget and do your best to stick to it. Use leftover vegetables at the end of the week to make soup. Put leftovers in clear containers – it makes it a lot easier to remember what’s in the fridge. Same for leftover meat. If you think you may not have time to make that soup, freeze it all until the weekend when you have more time. Look at the “reduced” items at the grocery store. I have gotten perfectly good green beans and cherry tomatoes at 75% off.
If you have other tips, please let me know. I love saving money at the grocery store and eat healthy.
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