When money gets tight the first thing to get scaled back in most households is the grocery budget. This is understandable considering how much food the average family wastes each month. You may have implemented some common methods of reducing your food costs like cutting coupons and buying store brand products. These are good ideas that work great to bring the cost of groceries down, however they are not the only way you can stretch your grocery dollars. Here we look at other tips that can save you even more money on your grocery expenses.
- Break down bulk purchases- Buying in bulk will save you money if you shop smart. This is especially true when buying meat, which is notoriously expensive in the first place. Singles or small families can reap the benefits of buying meat in bulk if they know how to properly store their purchase when they arrive home. You only have a small window of time to cook meat while it is still fresh, which means you will have to freeze the rest to avoid spoilage. Do not throw the entire package in the freezer as is, or you will likely end up throwing it out months later in roughly the same condition. Store and freeze large bulk purchases in individual or dinner size servings which can be pulled from the freezer without thawing the entire package.
- Stock up in season- Buying produce out of season is another costly expense; one that you can avoid if you stock up when your favorite fruits and vegetables are in season. Avoid paying sky high prices during the off season by loading up the freezer directly from the farmer's market. Again, if you want to really use these items once they are frozen, take the time to store them in freezer safe containers or plastic bags in serving size portions. Later you can simply pull vegetables out for dinner or frozen fruit for a healthy snack.
- Make leftovers accessible- How many times have you or someone in your family gazed into the refrigerator as if waiting for a meal to appear. Store leftovers in clear, sealed containers for both food safety and convenience. Avoid waiting until morning to pack leftovers for lunch. Before cleaning up after dinner, pack leftovers in easy grab and go containers and you'll be more inclined to actually take it with you to work the next day. Eating "in" for lunch even a few times a week can save a lot of money which could be used for other purposes.
Saving money doesn't necessarily require monumental sacrifices or denying yourself the things you want. Saving money is sometimes as simple as taking what you have and investing a few minutes to ensure it is used to the best advantage.