Thursday, May 8, 2008

Trimming Grocery Costs

With gas prices rising, prices in the stores are rising as well. If you have never taken a serious look at your grocery spending you may be paying too much. Here are some tips to help you save more in that area of the budget.

1. Stay away from convenience foods. If you can put your entire meal from the freezer to the microwave you are probably paying too much. Yes, it will save you some time but it will cost you more money. If you are reading this, chances are you need the money more.

2. Clean out your pantry. This seems like it would cost you money in throwing things out. I recently cleaned out our cupboards and found that we had things that were expired, things we bought but didn’t like so never ate, and things I had forgotten I had bought. Then I went through and organized a little better, grains and cooking items (like broth, sugar, flour) breakfast and snack foods, can goods, and our box dinners. Now I can see what I have and what I need.

3. Try to make as much of a menu with what you have. I am actually looking forward to doing this, just to see what I can come up with. Now that my cabinets are cleaned out I am going to go back and see how many meals I can create with what I already have. Chances are I won’t need much at the store this week. If you don’t want to do this, at least go through and look before you shop. Last week I let my husband get some more au gratin potatoes even though I “thought” we had some already… yup… we did.

4. Clip coupons when you see them. I am not saying you have to purposely go out and get the paper on Sunday or anything like that. But, since I have started clipping coupons myself I realize they are everywhere. Just the other day I was flipping through a magazine and found a coupon for something we use. So I tore it out and used it. I saved a dollar by just reading my favorite magazine.

5. Buy store brand. I don’t mean for every item you buy, but start out your next shopping trip with the idea of switching just two of your common items to the store brand. Try them and see what you think. We have done this and there are some items we continue to buy as store brand and some we must have name brand for. One that surprised me was biscuits. The store brand tastes exactly like the Pillsbury that we had been buying but was much cheaper.

Okay readers… it is your turn. What is your best grocery saving tip?

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