Save Money on Groceries

Saving money is one hard task. To save money on groceries requires a PHD.  Well, that’s how it sometimes feels, doesn’t it?  You wish you had a secretary and an accountant trailing up and down the grocery aisles with you.

There are lots of things to be considered.  First and foremost, is, how does one get everything they need, fulfill a few extra wants from family members, and still,  either not spend more than you have  or -  can you imagine it? – end up with a few pennies left-over when you stagger out of the store.

The answer to save money on groceries is wise budgeting plus a few good skills. Groan. Budgeting is really a pain in the neck.  Until you get going at it. Then it becomes your best friend – forever.

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Electric bills, water bills, phone bills, rent, mortgage payments, groceries,  entertainment, clothing are  just few of the many things being considered on how to utilize your cash wisely – which is your budget.

Now most of our monthly bills for living expenses are pretty standard. They might go up a bit or down a bit, but we have a pretty good idea of their fixed cost. Rent and mortgage is the same.

Food is different. Or rather the things that we purchase at the grocery store which may include cosmetics, prescriptions and many other medical needs like bandaids or cough syrup.

Then, of course, when we go grocery shopping, we walk into a virtual battleground of tempting displays and tempting  special offers. If we go shopping when we’re hungry or have a husband or children with us, it’s like walking in with no armour, not even a water pistol! We are defenseless – and the battle begins.

So how do we save money on groceries when it seems as if all the odds are against us?

To further save money on groceries, here are some tips.

1.  Have a pantry list. These are the basics. You know you always need them.  Make a list goods that should always be found in the kitchen. These will be items you might find regularly in your refrigerator or pantry, like flour, baking powder, coffee, milk, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, onions, garlic. These goods are necessary, so they are always being bought.

2.  Plan your weekly meals ahead of time. Armed with the store flyers and favorite recipes, plan by specials.  This means “real” specials, not something the store might call a “special” and certainly not something you don’t need or can make yourself.  Make your shopping list as you go along, being aware of what is in your cupboard that needs to be used up soon.

This would avoid you overspending on goods invaluable or missing some ingredients that are needed. This would not just clear your worries but it would also save your time.

3. Don’t just buy name brands;  many No-Name products have the same quality of those expensive goods. You’ll get the same benefit without spending more.

4.Buy goods that are multi-purpose.  A good example of which is mayonnaise. You can use it as a sandwich spread or make macaroni salad instead. In a way, you could enjoy eating both without spending too much. Or you can use it to make Tartar Sauce instead of buying an expensive jar of Tartar Sauce that gets half used up and thrown out 2 months later.


Here's the basic recipe (much reduced in quantity) we used in our Fish n' Chip Restaurant many years ago.

Tartar Sauce Recipe:

1 cup mayonnaise    

1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish                               

1 Tbsp minced onion  

2 Tbsp lemon juice (optional) 

Salt and pepper (optional, to taste)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and minced onion.
  2. Stir in lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Psst! That was easy! Give yourself a BIG pat on the back.


 5. Buying less expensive cuts of meat is an ideal way to save money on groceries.  Make a list of recipeswhere the cuts won’t matter. At least, you won’t be sacrificing the taste of the food and at the same time you’ll have the chance to buy a larger quantity. You’ll need to cook them longer, but isn’t that why you picked up the slow cooker at the rummage sale or asked for it for Christmas last year?

6. Pay in cash. When you use credit, when I use credit and when the fellow down the street uses credit, we’re all tempted to buy unnecessary goods but if we want to save money on groceries then having a cash-only rule is wise. Cash keeps you on the straight and narrow – and doesn’t it feel good.  That’s the happy part of saving money on groceries!

7. Be inventive and creative at the same time. Leftovers can be cooked in a way that it would look appealing again to your appetite.

8. Bring some snacks whenever you travel. This could be a good reliever for your hunger along the way and chances of being tempted to stop in at a convenience store with a herd (at that point even one hungry fussing child seems like a herd) of hungry children or one hungry husband. You love the guy, you want to give in, but you’ll be the one in the supermarket check-out line without enough money.

9. Know your prices. Keep a list of prices of goods you always buy. At least, with those products you’re sure of how much you’ll be spending and – then you will have that PhD of grocery shopping. Yes, you’ll be able to make the smartest decisions about whether that Great Offer on the Special Display at the supermarket is really The World’s Greatest Deal.  Hint: It usually isn’t.

And, just say, you’re in the store and there are two Great Bargains facing you. You’d like them both, but your wallet says, Choose one. They’re both saying, Pick Me! Pick Me! What do you do?

I just went through this when I was shopping. Lucky for me, I knew the regular prices in most other stores, I recognized that one was a much better sale price than the other  – and saved myself a few dollars.  Saving myself that few dollars made me feel much, much better about the bouquet of fresh flowers I had in my cart.

(Hey, I had company coming for dinner. On this dull, chilly end-of-winter-day, it was worth it to see how perked up everyone became when they saw the flowers on the table. Besides, the flowers were a really good price. Really. I mean it, a really good price. And they smelled nice. Alright, I’m feeling guilty now.)

10. Don’t let shopping become your hobby. Shop only once or twice a month.  In that way, less time will be spent going to a grocery store, less fuel will be used, you will give yourself a chance to become the creative cook you were always meant to be, and, at the same time, chances of overspending will be minimized.

Okay, enough on this, I’ll see you at the store! We’ll both have money jingling in our pockets! Unless, of course, we meet at the Fresh Flower display.  I’d send YOU a bouquet if I could for learning all these ways to save money on groceries. You deserve it! You just got your Shopping PhD!

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