Monday, February 21, 2011

Saving on food shopping (Part 1)

So, here are my basic tips for saving on groceries. I'll be expanding on some of these over the next week.
First, a note. A lot of people extol the virtues of planning meals based one what's on sale, and there's some wisdom in that. But I find that doesn't work quite as well when your meals aren't meat-based. It's a little easier to say "Oh, ground beef is on sale this week, so I'll use that to make tacos and meatloaf." There are sometimes sales on meat-substitutes, but it's not the same. Similarly, I think that meal planning from the circular works better when you're cooking in larger batches.

1.  Make a meal plan (See A Single Girl's Menu Plan for more details.)
2. Keep a "price book"
3. Use coupons
4. Shop the sales (I know what I just said. But shopping what's on sale still works well for staples and produce.)
5. Match sales with coupons
6. Shop at multiple stores
7. Consider the store brand, but not if the name brand costs less (unit pricing)
8.     Shop on Mondays (stores are less crowded, yet it's still early in the week allowing you to get best selection.)
9.     Shop for non perishables only every two weeks (ideally once/mo); get perishables once/wk
10.  Stock up if you get a good price (but buy only as much as you’ll use)
11.   Use store loyalty cards
12.   Eat less meat
13.   Cook from scratch/avoid convenience foods
14.   Make a list & have a budget and stick to both
15. Buy from the bulk section

And, of course, don't shop hungry!

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