Top 10 Ways To Save Money On Your Groceries

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Be frugal on thirst-quenchers. Bottled water is a complete waste of money and the packaging sucks for the environment. Ditch the bottled water and get a tap water filter instead. Also, reconsider other drink purchases. Juice drinks tend to be costly – and what you’re usually paying for is the filtered water! Try flavoring your water with lemon and real fruit slices.

Buy inexpensive staples that last. Beans (canned are good, but bagged are cheaper), canned vegetables, frozen fruit and vegetables, salsas, whole grain breads and pastas – these can all be relatively cheap if you buy them in bulk. Also, they can typically last in your pantry, fridge and/or freezer for quite some time. If you always have these staples on hand, you are less likely to feel the need to go out to eat or to spend on quick meals fixes like frozen meals.

Buy what’s in season. Buying seasonal produce is usually cheaper. See here to find out what’s in season where you live.

Cross-compare the costs of your standard items. Make a cross-comparison spreadsheet of your staple grocery items and how much they cost per ounce or pound, when not on sale, at three different grocery stores in your area. Update every couple of months. This is a bit of a time investment at first, but it’s worth it -- it’ll make it easier for you to spot when things become cheaper elsewhere, or when a sale really is a sale.

Ditch packaged, flavored grain/rice dishes. If you read the back of that $4 flavored rice dish, you’ll usually find that you have most of the ingredients at home to make it (except for all the strange chemicals and preservatives, thankfully). Invest in a rice cooker (if you need one; I still do it the old fashioned in-a-pot way), some spices and basic sauces and you’re good to go – no jazzy rice mix needed!

Ditch protein/energy/snack bars. Most protein and energy bars are at least a buck each – why waste a dollar as if money’s going out of style? You can make your own energy bars with dates, nuts and oats, for example. Simply search online for a recipe that has your favorite ingredients and try it out. Once you find a recipe you like, you’re set! Also, consider that beans, fruits, veggies and whole grains are nature’s ultimate energy sources – if you’re eating right, you don’t need these bars anyway!

Ditch the “packs.” Avoid calorie packs and DIY salad kits – convenience comes at a price since you’re paying the extra packaging costs. You can easily make your own “100 calorie” packs, too – just portion out snacks in reusable containers.

Get social. Talk to people or connect with frugal-living and savings blogs on Facebook. Outside of the weather, there are very few universal conversational topics. I consider saving money to be universal! Ask your friends how they save money – I’m sure you’ll learn something new. Or, check out this list of “Top 100 Blogs for the Frugal Gourmet”here as a starting point.

Put it in writing. Consider your grocery list a semi contract – when the chips that weren’t on your list start calling your name, tell them they’ll have to speak to your lawyer (your unyielding wallet). This, of course, means you should spend the time to make sure your list really reflects your needs before you go shopping.

Shop ethnic grocery stores. When I did a cost-comparison between my local grocery store, a warehouse and the local ethnic grocery store, I found that the latter was always the cheapest in produce.

Annabel writes the blog FeedMeImCranky where she shares her journey from morbidly obese teen to healthy young adult and gives her tips and resources for living healthy in both body and mind.

$40 online-store give-away going on until Monday, July 5th:

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