Shop smart! If you follow these money-saving tips, you’ll help stretch your grocery dollars, and still be able to come back with enough to stock your refrigerator and pantry.
1. Buy produce in season. Check the food section in your newspaper to find the best buys for the week, based on fresh produce in season. Food in season is usually priced to sell. During the summer months, corn on the cob can cost as little as 10 cents an ear; at other times of the year, it may cost 10 times as much. Also, shop your local farmers’ market for great deals on local produce.
2. Use sales and coupons. Planning meals around what’s on sale can lower your grocery bills, especially if you also use coupons (make sure they’re for item you would buy anyway). Sunday newspapers are full of coupons and sales circulars to get you started. It’s also a good idea to stock up on staples when they’re on sale. “Buy one, get one free” is basically a technique to get you to buy twice as much as you need at half the price. At most markets, the product rings up half-price, so you don’t have to buy more than one to get the savings. Use your freezer to store sale items that can be used at a later date.
3. Brown-bag it. Making lunch and taking it with you is a great money-saving tip and an excellent use of leftovers for meals at work, school, or wherever your destination. Packing your lunch not only saves you money, but you can control all the ingredients so they are healthy. Pack a simple sandwich, salad, soup, or wrap. Use freezer packs and containers to keep food at the proper temperature unless you have access to a refrigerator.
4. Think frozen, canned, or dried. Next time you’re gathering ingredients for a recipe, try using frozen, canned, or dried foods. They are usually less expensive than fresh, yet are equally nutritious. Produce is typically frozen, canned, or dried at the peak of ripeness, when nutrients are plentiful. Use whatever form best fits your needs for the best price.
Saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be difficult. Try to follow these simple steps, and you’ll notice your savings build over time.