There is no question about it: food today costs more than it ever has. While the prices of our favorite foods continue to rise, fortunately there are some things that we can all do to keep our grocery bills low and affordable. Below are just 8 of the ways which will help you stay on (or under!) budget while still eating healthy when shopping at the market:
1. Eat Before You Shop
Many of us make impulse buys at the supermarket because we are hungry or are craving a certain flavor or food item. Make sure that you enjoy a good meal before you head to the shops so that those cravings won’t interfere with the items you have already written down on your grocery list.
2. Follow the Sale
Don’t forget to check those weekly grocery store fliers! You can find amazing deals on a number of preservatives and cleaning products, detergents and more if you purchase things when they are on sale. If at all possible, purchase the maximum limit of that item and freeze it or store it away for later.
3. Invest in a Small Deep Freeze
Many have found it worthwhile to invest in a large chest freezer or deep freezer. In fact, there are several which can be found on bargain websites for half price or even free. Craigslist, Kijiji, UsedEverywhere.com are great websites to find bargains.
4. Don’t Forget the Coupons
The weekly fliers that we receive may contain coupons. But manufacturers and even the stores we shop at may have additional coupons available online.
Now is the time to become Internet savvy. Visiting shop websites, manufacturer websites and especially well-known couponing websites online can shave several dollars off of each trip to the market. Simply search for “couponing websites” on any search engine, include the country you live in, and browse for some fantastic deals.
5. Buy Freezer Bags
Family packs are the ideal way to shop when the items you need today are not at a discount price. There may be only one of you, but if you purchase a family pack of chicken drum sticks, for example, you can use what you need for a meal or two and store the rest away in single-serving sized freezer bags for future meals. This also applies to fruit and vegetables when they are in season (such as berries or tropical fruits like mangoes and peaches), as well as other meats.
6. Keep Track of Your Points
Most mainstream supermarkets offer some sort of point system where purchasing certain items each week will give you points which can be used to save money on future purchases, take trips, obtain other goods, and so on. These point systems can be extremely lucrative, so be sure to take these into account when meal planning each week.
7. Go for No-Name Brands
Store brands often come from the same producers or manufacturers as name brand goods, and yet can be as much as half the cost as the leading name brand product. Some of the best no-name brand products include:
Canned fruits, vegetables and meats
Pantry staples such as ketchup, mustard and vinegar
Over the counter medications
8. Visit the Dollar Store
The dollar stores of today are teeming with fantastic finds that can have you saving 70% or more off of regular shelf prices. Cleaning products, housewares, and even toothbrushes are far less expensive here, and yet often boast the same name brands that one could find in other stores. Many also have canned food products that you can take advantage of.
9. Take a Trip to a Farmer’s Market
One of the healthiest and most cost-effective shopping decisions one can make is to visit their local farmer’s market. As a growing number of seniors are seeking to obtain food from natural and healthy sources, the farmer’s market has become the best way to obtain healthy and organic goods at rock bottom prices. See if any are taking place in your area. Most include seasonable goods, but during the late spring, summer and early fall months, one can buy, store, and freeze all of the vegetables, fruits and sometimes meats they may need for the next several months.