Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill

This is a not a list for the individual who is short on time. This is the list for the person who enjoys working with his or her hands, who doesn't mind waiting for dough to rise, who plans meals ahead of time, and who isn't afraid of looking slightly unusual. If convenience is what you want, you must pay extra for it. If experimenting in cooking is what you hate, stop reading. The fact of the matter is this: making things from scratch saves a whole lot of money.

1) Only buy meat on sale.
2) If you must buy meat, make it last the week. Use it more like a garnish than a main dish.
3) Buy chicken with the bone and skin on. It's much cheaper than boneless skinless.
4) Buy bars of soap instead of liquid soap.
5) Don't buy Kleenex. Use soft toilet paper instead.
6) Never buy pre-grated cheese. Instead buy a brick and grate it yourself.
7) Never buy pre-grated cabbage, lettuce, or carrots. Buy a head and grate it yourself.
8) Buy cucumbers in season and make your own pickles.
9) Buy dry beans instead of canned beans.
10) Make your own bread. You'll save about three to four dollars a loaf depending on what brand you usually buy.
11) Use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. These two ingredients can replace a myriad of expensive cleaners.
12) Make your own nut-bars for lunches and snacks (http://www.nomorecrohns.com/caramel-candy.html).
13) Make your own yogurt. A $3 gallon of milk can be used to make 8 lunch-sized servings of Greek yogurt, which would cost you about $13.
14) Grow your own vegetables.
15) Buy the store brand instead of the popular brands.
16) Don't buy paper napkins. Use cloth.
17) Use a kitchen towel whenever possible instead of paper towels.
18) Don't buy jams and olives, but do let family members know that you would love these items for Christmas.
19) Don't buy cookies. Make them yourself.
20) Reuse the plastic containers that food come in as tupperware. You will never be short of tupperware again.
21) Don't buy instant oatmeal. Use old fashioned rolled oats.
22) Make your own room sprays.
23) Grow your own herbs.
24) Take walks where you know neighbors' fruit trees might drop fruit.
25) Buy in bulk.
26) Go to the grocery store less frequently to limit impulse buys.
27) Tortillas are less expensive than bread.
28) Don't buy non-stick cooking sprays. Just use butter or invest in a Misto (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/misto-olive-oil-sprayer-in-brushed-aluminum/1011318517?).
29) Buy juice concentrate instead of bottled juice or make your own ice tea.
30) Invest in a filtration system (Brita) instead of buying water
31) Water down your dish soap
32) Use oatmeal or Cream of Wheat in place of cereal for breakfast.
33) Don't buy shaving cream. Invest in a good quality shaving brush and work soap into a lather.

I find it interesting that most of these money saving ideas are both healthier and more environmentally conscious. This was purely accidental. I had nothing in mind but the money.

FYI: I haven't found coupon cutting to be cost effective when cooking the majority of my meals from scratch. Coupons usually compel me to buy products I wouldn't normally buy. Plus, I would rather use my time to knead bread than cut along the dotted lines in newspapers.

There you have it. I've cut our grocery bill down by $200 per month by doing these things. And that's feeding a family of two adults and one toddler.