COOK LIKE A PRO - ON A BUDGET
Ever-rising Grocery Bills...
The cost of groceries seems to just keep rising. And while we want to be eating healthy and making healthy meals for the family, the cost of meal preparation is making it harder and harder to do so. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to save some hard-earned dollars on that grocery bill each week, while not compromising on quality and health.
Start with a Plan
The first step to saving money at the grocery store is to go in with a plan. Making a weekly meal plan can avoid buying things you don’t need and stick to buying only the things that are on your list. There are several apps that can help with the weekly meal planning. Mealboard is a great one as it aggregates not only the ingredients for your recipes, but also the cost of the recipe as well. Mealplan Meal and Grocery Planner is another great one as it is intuitive and easy to use with an easy search-for-recipe feature directly in the app.
These apps are all well and good but there is also the tried and true method of simply searching for recipes either online, in magazines, or in cookbooks. Making a hand-written list of the needed ingredients is a relaxing way to spend a lazy Sunday and can even be made into a family activity. Children love feeling like they are part of the decision process! One great suggestion is to allow each family member to choose one recipe that will be made that week. They can be responsible for finding the recipe and writing out all of the ingredients. It’s a great way to turn a chore into a family bonding moment.
Stop Throwing Out The Flyer!
The weekly flyer is the best way to spot deals and find out what is on special. A good idea is to go through the weekly circular to see what items are on special BEFORE coming up with a finalized menu for the week. That way you can build your menu around what expensive items are on sale that week. The most expensive part of any meal is usually the meat or fish item so wait to see what protein specials your local grocery store has that week and then build your menu consequentially.
Cutting coupons is also an easy way to save on the final bill. Coupons might not seem like a lot when you view them one at a time but they can really add up! And don’t limit yourself to flyer coupons as the manufacturer’s website often has additional offers. Just be aware of over-couponing. Don’t buy something that you don’t need just because you have a coupon for it!
Go Through Your Fridge First!
Statistically, consumers throw away between 14% and 25% of the food items they buy. That represents a HUGE amount of savings! Before making your weekly menu, take stock of what items you can reuse from last week. You still have vegetables from last week’s menu? Make a stir-fry this week! You have some eggs that will soon expire? A frittata is a great healthy meal option! Keeping your fridge arranged with the oldest items in the front and the newest ones in the back makes it easier to keep track of what you need to use up first.
Avoid Pre-Cut Foods
Convenience has a price! And that price is high! Pre-cut and pre-packaged foods might seem like a good idea but they come at a very inflated price. A great example is watermelon. A quarter of a watermelon cut into convenient cubes is often more expensive than buying an entire watermelon! Some other common culprits are potatoes, onions, cabbage and kale.
These simple tips are easy to incorporate into daily routines and can add up to significant savings in your monthly grocery costs. We all want to eat better and healthier and cheaper and these tips make doing so easy and seamless. Add a comment and let us know what your best tip and trick is for saving money!