And when I say EASY, I mean EASY! No coupon clipping, no double up coupons on the sale price drive yourself crazy matching sizes and prices and dates. Nope not doing that, it’s just too much for my brain to handle. These tips are easier than that, I know they are because I TRIED the coupon game and it sucked. Every single one of the 14 ways to save money on groceries are tried and true by me, I use them, I live them, I make our budget work and add money to our savings account every pay period because we don’t run to the store for a loaf of bread or a quick dinner. Make do.
Today, prime example, I had ground pork for our last meal before payday. I had planned for a pasta dinner with meatballs, meat sauce, meat SOMETHING but I wasn’t feeling it. I asked on Facebook what everyone else was having for dinner, got inspired, dug around in the pantry and figured it out. If my pantry wasn’t stocked, if I hadn’t had a vague thought of dinner, if the meat was still frozen I would have blundered around and ordered 30 dollars worth of pizza and feta bread, instead I made a semi tater tot casserole and saved us money.
- make a meal plan—I only shop every two weeks–I’ve been buying from a popular online grocer and having them delivered to Alaska but wow the prices are terrifically high on freight and right now we can’t afford to order all in bulk either so I make a 2 week meal plan, then I
- make an exhaustive grocery list with the meal plan on the back so I can cross reference it, I put the shopping list on the flip side of the meal plan then when I think WHY did I need green olives I can see that I’m making pizza and I need/want them
- buy in bulk and break things down–I’m not talking about the Costco run bulk stuff although why not? but more like buy five pounds of cheese and set your minions er darling children to shredding that cheese-freeze it one pound bags–break up a hug box of oatmeal into breakfast size packs or weekly sized bags–the bigger the package the cheaper the price and less packaging too–I don’t do Costco regularly because it’s an hour away and I don’t carry a membership-
- eat beans–they’re cheap and protein packed–buy them and store them for just about forever –keep a variety on hand and you can eat beans once a week without anyone complaining
- eat less I know it sounds stupid but really you don’t need to eat until you’re stuffed, the less you eat the less you’ll need to buy–if you have extra fluff around the middle you might want to step away from the table after the first serving
- grab the store circular and stock up on the coupon items-ask for rain checks when the product is no longer available–often times managers will substitute for you too
- cook once eat twice–plan for an extra meal and you’ll be sure to leave leftovers–I’ll often take the “leftovers” out of the pan before it hits the table because then it’s guaranteed to be leftover
- once a week plan a leftovers buffet–drag it all out warm it up and eat it all–add sliced bread and a salad if your leftovers are skimpy
- save all scraps of vegetables in a stock bag in the freezer when it’s full cook it down with water and herbs, strain it and freeze it in quart jars–you’ll spend less money on running the freezer if it’s fuller this is like a two-fer one savings event–this is essentially free nourishment for your family it only costs to cook it down, want to save more? throw it in the crock pot and cook it all day
- drink water–don’t buy juice, soda or worse energy drinks water is mostly free and if your tap water sucks invest in a Brita pitcher, they really do work–and writing this I realize I should probably rein in my coffee addiction*sigh*
- use your crock pot–cheap cuts of meat become succulent when treated to a nice hot soak in saucy goodness–plus having dinner already cooking away will keep you out of the deli line at 6pm
- if you cook a whole chicken after the meat is gone cook the bones in a nice big pot of water throw in all the good stuff like sage, onion chunks, the leafy centers of celery or better yet pull out the stock bag from the freezer and use those bits to make a nice big pot of chicken stock–AGAIN this is essentially free nourishment for your family it only costs to cook it down, want to save more? throw it in the crock pot and cook it all day
- if you buy it, eat it, don’t throw it out-Americans throw out 90 billion pounds of food every year–when you look in the fridge look for the things that need to be eaten NOW and use them up you may deviate from the meal plan but not too far from it because you bought the food for your meal plan
- stock up on one or two items every shopping trip or more if you can afford it and keep that pantry stocked up–see a clearance sale? snatch ALL of it up–like a certain pickle? buy 6 jars to keep on hand–I find that variety in the pantry means I’M MORE likely to make things I like because of the little things I keep on hand like artichoke hearts, black olives, capers, good tomato paste, roasted red peppers–one week I bought 4 huge packs of toilet paper I was determined to NEVER run out and I have not yet I just keep adding to the stores
See? no coupon juggling, no remembering where the coupons are, just good old fashioned ways to spend less and truly eat better. I promise.