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Day 5 Frugal Living Challenge: Saving on Groceries

February 16, 2012

Woohoo!

I am awesome at this! I hate to brag, but I feel like an expert on this topic and Andrea of Frugally Sustainable has a killer post on just this. There is a ton of information there, so READ it and check out the info she has in her links. It’s valuable! Since there is so much info in this post, I’ll simply list her suggestions and go into discussion.

  1. Make a spending plan (budget)
  2. Eat a cheap breakfast (no, not unhealthy, just cheap)
  3. Don’t shop out of boredom
  4. Drink water (not packaged juices or canned sodas)
  5. Reduce convenience foods
  6. Adopt a zero waste approach to grocery shopping ( the more packaging it has, the less you need it)
  7. Cook ahead
  8. Make herbs and spices your friends (learn to use them to maximize and change up the flavors of your foods)
  9. Grow your own herbs
  10. Use coupons
  11. Only use coupons for items you were going to buy anyway
  12. Look for weekly or monthly specials
  13. Eat leftovers instead of eating out ( this is huge!)
  14. Shop at farmer’s markets
  15. Don’t buy plastic wrap, tin foil, plastic sandwich/snack bags, etc.
  16. Always go to the grocery store with a list.
  17. Plan a weekly menu
  18. Don’t do your shopping when you are hungry
  19. Join a CSA
  20. Eat seasonally
  21. Will work for food (offer farmers at the market your work  – like pulling weeds- for a portion of produce)
  22. Buy in bulk when it makes sense
  23. Keep your receipts, then enter into a spreadsheet
  24. Buy frozen veggies
  25. When you are running low, add it to your shopping list
  26. Cut back on meat (I know not everyone can do this- we are Paleo eaters- shop the specials and invest in a deep freeze is my personal suggestion)
  27. Pack your own snacks
  28. Make crock pot dinners (yes! we ended up with four slow cookers for our wedding, and now I’m grateful for every one of them!)
  29. Give store brands (generics) a fair chance
  30. Cut back on “I’ve got to run out to the store because I forgot something” trips
  31. Maintain a healthy weight
  32. Be watchful at the register
  33. Stock up when things go on sale
  34. comparison shop
  35. Shop during slow times
  36. Know when the grocery store gets shipments of fresh fruits and veggies
  37. Plan one monthly trip for bulk items
  38. Avoid pit-stops at the corner store (have you ever purchased a banana at the convenience store? OMG!)
  39. Try co-ops
  40. Consider shopping at two stores
  41. Think deep freeze
  42. Don’t buy non-nutritious food
  43. Remember to ask for a rain check
  44. Try to shop without the kids ( Yes! I can’t tell you how much extra stuff we wind up with when my little one goes with me!)
  45. Go for whole foods
  46. Read labels
  47. Clean out your frig
  48. Garden and preserve
  49. Look for free food
  50. Make cloth grocery bags

Whew! That is a long list! Obviously we can’t do every single suggestion on the list. My personal situation is limited by the availability of a farmer’s market and co-ops. There are a couple of berry farms not terribly far from me, but that is a seasonal thing and so not a regular source of savings. But there are tons of things we do and can do.

Daily Goal: Pick a few things from the list that you think will have the greatest impact on your monthly grocery budget.

Me: It’s tough to pick a few things more that I can do. I hardly buy over-processed foods. I use cloth grocery bags. I buy in bulk the things that make the most sense for my family. I use coupons for the things I really need, not just because it’s a great price. BUT, I have to pick something, that’s the assignment, so I’ll make investing in a deep freeze a goal for the next month. I know the value of it- I can feel it when I try to stock up (esp when I make chicken broth and freeze it), I just haven’t worked the cost into the budget yet. So that is my goal. And to be more watchful at the register. By the time I’ve planned my shopping list and done the research on sales + coupons, made my weekly menu and noted things for the month, shopped and hauled it to the register, I’ve honestly moved on and am usually thinking about how much time I have left before I need to go sit in the carpool line for the Munchkin. So I will be more diligent to watch prices and be sure  things ring up the way I planned for them to.

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