1). Make a list. Pre-consider what foods you will be making and then create a shopping list for the ingredients you need to buy in order to make them. Look through your stocks and make sure you are not buying something that you already have and also try to plan your meals around ingredients that you do already have that need to be used before they are past their use-by dates. Pre-planning does require a little extra effort but in the long run it will save you time wandering aimlessly up and down the grocery store aisles or making additional trips to the store later to get un-planned items. Remember that every time you step foot into a grocery store you are exposed to the temptation of buying some extra items you didn’t specifically make the trip for, so limiting your number of overall visits will reduce your changes to spend more. The Kitchen Hotline offers you pre-planned menus along with their associated shopping lists that are all ready for your convenient download and immediate use.
2). Stick to your list. Do not impulsively buy something that is not on your shopping list unless it is on sale and it can be stored until you need it and it is also healthy to eat – and is not a junk food. Highly processed, low nutrition, junk food is never a good buy - at any price!
3) Use your coupons and loyalty rewards. Take advantage of store coupons and store savings cards. You can’t use them if you don’t have them at check-out, so keep them tucked in your purse, wallet, or car for handy access. Use the discounts only for the things you need – basic food and staples, do not allow yourself to be persuaded to buy a fancy item just because it is offered at a special limited time reduced price - that’s just what the manufacturers what you to do to increase their profits. Do you really need that cool looking plug-in room air freshener that will require special (and pricy) re-fills at a continuing and ongoing basis? Also, be aware of the other perks associated with your grocery store savings cards. For example, some stores now offer discounted gasoline pricing based on the amount of cumulative grocery purchases you make in a defined period of time. Remember to redeem your loyalty rewards before they expire. By wisely using your coupons and rewards you can save between 10-20% of your total costs.
4). Capitalize on the benefits of a Freezer. A freezer allows you to stock up on staples such as meats, vegetables, and frozen cut fruits and purees etc., when they go on sale. They also allow you to prepare and store big or multiple batches of homemade dishes that you prepared ahead of time and which are then on hand to use simply and conveniently by reheating as a time saver at a later date.
5). Pay attention to Unit pricing. This allows you to compare apples to apples. Package sizes and per portion amount can vary greatly between like products, so paying attention to the unit conversions will give you the true picture of what the cost per ounce, serving, pound, etc. really is. Some grocery stores conveniently post the unit price but for those that don’t, using a calculator, or a calculator app on your cell phone, is a good idea. The biggest package isn’t always the best buy and by comparing the unit price you can determine which is and choose your purchases accordingly.
6). Generic is of comparable quality. Unbranded and store brands are often made by the same manufacturer that makes the brand name items. Advertising and fancy packaging helps increase sales for the manufacturer but the cost is passed along to the consumer. Don’t waste your money on the glitz unless the product is of superior quality that you just can’t give up. We often apply this philosophy when purchasing prescription drugs and we should do no differently when it comes to purchasing groceries.
7). Shopping Cart Size Matters. It is a proven fact that the bigger the shopping cart the more likely you are to fill it or make more impulse purchases. The average size of a grocery store shopping cart has grown considerably larger over the past several decades for this very reason. Therefore, if you are planning to purchase just a few things don’t use a cart, pick up a hand carried basket or use just your arms. Limiting your purchases to what you can physically carry helps to keep you from going overboard.
8). Buy in bulk wisely. Buying toilet paper in bulk makes sense because it is non-perishable and you will eventually use it all. On the other hand, if you buy a bulk package of single serving yogurt cups and they go bad before you eat all of them, then in reality you didn’t save any money. Make sure you will use what you buy in bulk. Also, buying from bulk bins at the grocery store will allow you to purchase the exact amount of product you will need and usually at a lower unit price because no excessive packaging is involved. You can also purchase bulk bin sacks and then individually portion them yourself in little baggies or individual containers for children. This saves a lot of money compared with purchasing pre-packaged portion control snacks. Also, buy whole large cuts of meat and then break them down yourself into smaller amounts such as steaks, chops, medallions, pieces, etc., and then wrap and freeze them in the increments you will need and use later.
9). Eat less meat. Meat is expensive. Lower you overall grocery costs by eating less of it, or less expensive cuts of it, or smaller portions of it. Cheese, poultry, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, fish and soy products are all good sources of protein and are generally less expensive than meat.
10). Grow and make your own whenever possible. Purchasing something that someone else has grown or made for you obviously has to include a mark-up for profit. This is just business - plain and simple. Therefore, if you invest your own time and effort to grow and make some things yourself, you can forgo paying a mark-up price to someone else and you have better control over the ultimate quality of your products.
Interested in personalized recommendations for saving money on groceries and by cooking at home? Call now to get one-on-one advice from one of our professional chefs! 1877-773-8485 Click here to learn more.
Chef Kelly Yorke