Friday, June 10, 2011

Saturday Series: Stretching Your Dollar Part Four

This weeks Saturday Series is saving money on food.

Since food is a weekly expense I try to find the best deals so I can save the most money.  If you can save just $20 a week on groceries that is $80 month/$1040 a year.  I usually save more than $20 a week so that adds up to more than $80 a month.  Here are the ways I save the most money on groceries:

  • Search the sale ad - the sale ad is where you will find the best deals for the week.  Plan out your weekly menu by what is on sale.   I had it all backwards...I would plan out our menu and then go shopping without looking at what is on sale.   Now I use the sale ad to plan out my weekly menu.  For instance; if corn is on sale for $.27 an ear (which is a great deal) I will use that for a couple different meals.  If chicken is on sale for $1.19lb. I buy this for all the meals that week and use it different ways.   Actually if it is that cheap I will buy 15lbs. and stock my freezer. The sale ad is the first way to save money.

  • Couponing - Some might say that couponing should be the first way to save money, but without the sale ad coupons will not make much of a difference.  If salad dressing is $2.79 and you use a $.40 coupon it makes it $2.39.  It's a savings, but if the dressing is on sale B1G1 for $1.40 with coupon it is only $1.00.  Now you have saved $1.79 instead of $.40.   I use my coupons with the sale ad to get the best deals.  When I really coupon I can save up to $50 a week on my grocery budget sometimes even more.

  • Discount Grocery Stores - In our area we have some of the best discount grocers.  I can save 50% on almost everything in the store without having to use coupons or sale papers.

  • Make and Bake - Make your food from scratch instead of buying pre packaged foods.  By making your own snacks and meals it can save a lot of money and it is healthier for you.  Also, freezing your meals can be a great money saver.  For us, we can only eat 1/2 of a chicken casserole and might waste the other half.  If I make two smaller pans than I can freeze one and bake one.  This way I get two meals out of one casserole.

  • Plan - planning your weekly menu can be a big part of saving money.  The last thing a saver wants is to run out and spend top dollar for something they should have planned for.  Or, have to eat out because dinner wasn't planned out ahead of time.

  • Meatless - It is okay to plan a couple meals a week without meat.  This alone can save money.   I plan 2 meals a week that are meatless.  On Wednesday we have breakfast night which usually does not include meat.   On another day of the week we have veggie night that will include a big potato/sweet potato, corn on the cob, fruit, and a salad.

With so many people eating healthier it is great to know that you can also save money on healthy eating.  Summer is here and farmers markets are open which means great produce at lower costs.  Plant a garden.  Gardens are a great way to keep an eye on what goes on your plants.  Just don't look at my garden at the is really sad.  I haven't been able to tend to it like I should and it's a little overgrown.  BUT, my herbs are doing great!

When shopping organic if you can only afford a little please focus more on buying the organic (hormone free/antibiotic free) meats than the veggies.   If produce says organic it doesn't mean that it is truly organic.  Organic crops can still have chemicals and pesticides because of a decision our government has made.  Organic farmers are allowed to have up to 30% of the same chemicals/pesticides as non organic produce.   When tested, produce with and without these chemicals have almost the same qualities.  I am not saying that you shouldn't buy organic, but if you have to cut corners somewhere it's better to cut it in the produce area than the meat and dairy.  Just make sure you wash your produce very well.

We have a local grocery store that sells only local hormone free/antibiotic free meats.  It is a little more costly, but it is worth almost every penny.  When I have to buy meat I will buy the meats that are on sale (unless it's livers or something weird :) ).

I hope this helps.  I would love to hear any of your money saving tips!

Have a great weekend,


1 comment:

  1. Valerie, how do you do your dinner meal planning? Do you make the same dinners most weeks or are you usually trying new recipes? What are some of your stand by dinners?