In tough economic times reducing your grocery bill is more important than ever. But you don’t need to spend time clipping and collecting coupons to realize huge savings. Below I list 12 ways to reduce your food costs without coupons.
Save money with breakfast cereals. Expensive boxes of processed cereal can hurt any budget. Oatmeal at 12 cents per serving is a cheap and nutritious alternative. Add brown sugar along with raisins or bananas and you have a delicious breakfast at a fraction of the cost of processed boxed cereals. Oatmeal also helps lower cholesterol associated with heart disease.
Save on juice costs by purchasing juice concentrates. When you buy cartons of juice you’re actually paying in part for the processing, shipping, and storage of water within the juice. Frozen juice concentrates are a great way to save money. Take the juice concentrate home and add your own water saving 25%-40% in the process.
Take advantage of bakery outlets. Here you’ll find bread and other baked goods at a 50% to 75% discount. The bread is fresh but is sold at a discount because it is approaching its sell-by date. Savvy consumers stock up and freeze the extras for a constant supply of cheap bread.
Take advantage of ethnic food markets. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with an ethnic market then you have a treasure trove of savings at hand. Italian, Mexican, Indian, and Asian ethnic food stores are great sources for cheap meat, produce, spices, cheese and other foods.
Use smaller plates. Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Childhood obesity and related diabetes are on the rise. Part of the problem is that we eat too much. It has been instilled in us since childhood that we should eat everything on our plates. The only problem is that over the years our plates have become super-sized. 9 inch plates were common, now 10 and 10.5 inch plates are becoming more common place. Save money by switching to smaller plates. You’ll serve 19% less food and after a few meals your family will not even notice the difference.
Try a meatless meal once a week. Meat is one of the most expensive sources of proteins on the planet. That’s why in most parts of the world meat is a luxury item. In addition, over-consumption of red meat can lead to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Save money by cutting out meat from your meal once a week.
Try a deep discount grocery store like Aldi’s. Aldi’s is a no frills deep discount grocery store where you’ll enjoy savings of 40-50% off of regular store prices. Aldi’s cuts costs to the bone and passes those savings on to you. Store hours are more limited and stores are smaller to save on rent and utility costs. Customers bag their own groceries to save on labor costs and credit cards are not accepted to help save with credit card transaction costs. Aldi’s also saves money by featuring its own line of high quality store brand products.
Weigh your produce before buying. Many produce items are priced individually – whether its an individual cucumber, bag of potatoes, head of lettuce, or bag of carrots. There can be as much as a 10% difference in the weights of these individually priced items. Use the scales in the produce section to find the heaviest produce for your buck.
Stretch your juice. Many juices are full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. You can easily stretch your juice dollars by diluting your juice by 20% with water. Your family will not notice the difference.
Stock up on milk. Milk is a common “loss leader” – a product grocery stores sell at a super low price in order to draw people into the store. Save money by stocking up on milk when it goes on sale. Simply freeze the extra milk until you need it. Just remember to pour about 10% of the milk out of the jug before freezing to accomodate for the expansion that occurs when milk freezes.
Take your lunch to work. Make lunch at home and bring it to work. This will allow you to stop spending $7-$9 a day eating out for lunch. Left-overs make great lunches, helping to stretch your food dollars even further.
Try the store brands, risk free. Store brand products have come a long way over the past two decades. They are now often as good as or better than their name brand counterparts but can save you 20%, 30%, or more. The key is to take advantage of the store brand return policies of supermarket chains. Many chains will allow you to return the store brand product if you don’t like it. This is a great way to check out a product that might save you money week after week, with no risk to you. Simply check with your store manager about their store brand return policy.