Sunday, February 03, 2008

Fifteen Ways to Save Money on Groceries

I've found other bloggers who are into telling all the ways that they save money. Since I "pride myself" on being part Scottish and part Jewish (in terms of how it affects my frugality), I of all people should be putting hundreds of ways to save on my blog! My ethnicity comes out in my fingertips and money squeaks when it's pulled from between my fingers. Still, some of my money-saving ideas are so much a part of my DNA that I don't even know they are there.
1. Don't get loyal to brand names or stores. Buy whatever product at whatever store that is least expensive--taking into account how long a drive it is, and how many other things that store has that you need at an affordable price.
2. Make all your errands when you're on the way somewhere else. Try to arrange as many of your errands in the same area as possible so you aren't spending most of your time and gas money on driving between stores. If you need something once you're already home, have your husband bring it home on the way home from work, if possible.
3. Make it a priority to learn the usual good sale prices of the products you tend to need.
4. Buy produce "in season"--that time of year when it's growing most plentifully. It's got the best price and best flavor and texture if you buy at the right time of year.
5. Learn how to choose your produce--I worked in a produce market in my early 20's and learned that there are many things to watch for, such as pick broccoli when it's a little purple and quite firm, preferably still showing signs of having been packed in ice; pick cantaloupe when the blossom end gives a little to thumb pressure.
6. Learn what items give you the best nutrition for the money--head lettuce is practically no nutrition at all, but romaine is excellent, spinach is better, mustard greens and swiss chard are some of the best. But they still have to appeal to your family!
7. Buy according to unit pricing as long as the size of the item is workable for your family. Unit pricing is that smaller price listing on the shelf label that tells the price in smaller units, such as price per ounce, per sheet, per individual item in the package. If the price per unit is smaller, the price of that item is best if your family can use it in a timely way. If they can't, if you can share or split it with someone, if it saves you enough money it still may be worth buying, but be careful.
8. I've always bought laundry soap in the huge buckets that are just white powder, even though they recommend another type for my washer...once I did have trouble caused by it not dissolving, but only once. The cheapest detergent always works, though I do use pre-spray that I make for myself out of liquid laundry soap, ammonia, vinegar, and water.
9. Learn to use less-expensive resources for cleaning rather than the "big gun" commercial methods if possible. Vinegar, ammonia, bleach, soda and the like all have some amazing utility around the house. You can find household uses for them by googling online.
10. Go with a list, use coupons, avoid the parts of the store that are most tempting for you.
11. Make meals with less meat than you normally might. Learn recipes that use beans, brown rice, split peas, and lentils, slowly introducing them to your family so their tastes can be developed for these foods.
12. Grow some of the fruit and vegetables that you are most likely to eat.
13. When you find a good sale price on something that you use regularly, buy more of it than you need at the moment.
14. If buying ready-made fast-food dinners is a temptation for you, stock your freezer with a few ready-made frozen dinners. Then start making two of each freezable dinner that you make, and freeze one while serving the other. Pretty soon fast-food dinners will be a memory.
15. Don't eat out any more often than necessary! It costs a lot more than eating at home, takes more time, is less nutritious and higher fat, and I don't feel that the family togetherness is as great in public as it is at home.
On the other hand: No matter how frugal you are, be clever but don't let it make you chintzy. Don't refuse to tip a person who deserves a tip or cheat people of what should be theirs because you want to keep the money--it isn't a good enough reason to short another person.

1 comment:

Paulette and Jack said...

AMEN to that! Now I need to apologize! When the migrant workers are here my time is very, very limited for anything other than the absolute necessities/commitments in life. In the past, I disappeared and friends just knew they were in town. I've tried not to totally disapper these days, but knew I could not begin new correspondence. So forgive me for not giving that explanation sooner : (. They are just here for a short time and we go out in the evenings Mon-Thur and sometimes Friday, and I prepare lessons and the normally daily routine in the morning/afternoon. As it is our only chance to spend time with them and tell them about Jesus, and we don't know if we will ever see them again, we try to make the most of the time. They will be leaving soon. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for your comment in JUNE!!!! It has taken me over a month! That was a great saving money post [I'm part Scottish as well :) ]. My husband is whatever background can not handle having even a penny in savings whatever that is :) so life is full of exciting challenges! Well this is quite a lengthy post - perdoname.
In Christ,
Phil. 1:21