Stop the Prepackaged: Use cheaper alternatives to bottled water, frozen entrees, frozen french fries, and more for every day eating. A case or two of bottled water is extremely important to have in one’s house for emergency purposes, however, it is not essential for every day use. Instead, save money by filling BPA-free water bottles with purified water from your home.
Shop in Season and Locally: This is a commonly known tip, but it still amazes me how many people buy fruit and vegetables that are out of season. If grapes are more than .88-.99 a pound, I don’t buy them – no matter how tasty they are. Farmer Markets and local farms may be able to get you a discount on produce.
Don’t Snub the .99 Cent Store: If you have a local .99-cent store or dollar store has produce and groceries, they may have some good buys. Sometimes my local .99 cent store has disgusting food items, but majority of the time they have bagged organic salad from Bolthouse Farms that will not expire for a few days. They also have brand name health food items a lot of the times too.
Eat Less Meat and Dairy: I know this is a hard tip for many people to swallow. Meat and dairy are the most expensive items that make up the average person’s meal. Aim to make 2-3 meals that make healthy vegetables, beans, and grains the star of the meal. Need some quick recipe ideas? Try stirfry, soup, and my quinoa taco salad.
Invest in a Deep Freezer: The freezer is the saver of all food. If you have the place for an additional freezer, you can stock up on meat, vegetable, fruit, and baked goods for months at bulk pricing. See next tip for more.
Stock Up On Low Prices: Stock up on produce when the prices are extremely low. Many vegetables can be blanched and frozen for later use. Many fruits can also be frozen, as well. Every grocery store advertises at least one amazing deal a week on produce. You can bet they are losing money on it just to get shoppers in their store. Stock up at their expense and freeze or can what you cannot use.
Make It From Scratch: The population as a whole has moved away from making items from scratch. Fresh breads, muffins, waffles, ravioli, and more can all be made for very little money. Investing one day a week to make a batch of muffins or two loafs of bread saves you time in the kitchen while still letting you stock your freezer of goods slowly.
Which is easier to do when you realize you need bread for sandwiches – run to the store and buy a $3 loaf of bread (or worse the nutritionally absent $1 loaves) or to pull out a healthy loaf of bread from the freezer that took a $1 to make?
Buy Ingredients, Not Products: This tip coincides with making food from scratch. Buy beans dried, meats raw and unseasoned, and rice in a sack instead of a box that reads, “Minute Rice”.
Get Rainchecks: When a store has a great deal on food, usually the deal goes pretty quickly. If that happens, do not be afraid to ask for a raincheck. It should only take a few seconds. You can even get a store’s coupon extended if they ran out of their advertised deal.
For example, my local Vons ran out of blueberries during their Buy 1, Get 2 free sale. A raincheck for 6 (Buy 2, Get 4 free) packages of blueberries allowed me to shop a month later and score another deal.
It may be a bit scary to hear all of the news on rising food prices. Just think of it as a chance to eat healthier. If you go out once a week (or more) to fast food, cut back just once or twice a month to balance out the higher food costs.
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