Yesterday I covered how to save money on groceries without coupons by shopping at the right stores. While you can save money on groceries by choosing lower priced stores, the savings may not be significant enough to make much of a difference.
The next step toward slashing your grocery bill is planning your shopping trips and meals. You can really maximize your savings by planning shopping trips—with or without coupons—meticulously and knowing what you already have on hand.
1. Plan Meals Around Sales
Before shopping each week, take a peek at your store’s weekly circular. You’ll be able to see what’s on sale and determine what meals you can make from the items on sale.
2. Keep Meals Simple and Similar
You can save money on groceries and meals without using coupons if you just keep it simple. Meals with a greater number of ingredients will, of course, cost more to make. Keep your eye out for sale items that can be used to make more than one meal too. The ground beef mentioned above, for instance, can be used to make the spaghetti on Monday, a shepherd’s pie on Wednesday, and tacos on Friday.
3. Know What You Already Have
Don’t you hate it when you come home from the grocery store and realize that you purchased something that you were already stocked with? I do! That’s why I always make a list of what I have at home before going shopping. This helps me determine if I actually need to purchase something. When you run across an awesome sale, you can also refer to your list to determine if you have other meal ingredients at home to complement it.
4. Go Vegetarian
I come from a long line of meat eaters, so I’m certainly not suggesting going vegetarian permanently if you’re a steak and potatoes family! However, fixing one or two vegetarian meals a week can help you save money on groceries by eliminating the need to buy one of the most expensive ingredients. Simple and inexpensive meatless dishes include vegetarian chili, broccoli Alfredo, bean burritos, and vegetable barley soup.
5. Make Your Own Mixes
You probably already know that one of the biggest ways to save money on groceries without coupons is by cooking from scratch. Unfortunately, convenience foods like rolls in a can and cake mixes make have spoiled us. I have a hard time giving up biscuit mix, which I use for biscuits and pancakes, and Hubby would be heartbroken to give up his cake mixes. So, in the interest of frugality, we started whipping up our own mixes. For just the cost of flour, sugar, and a couple other baking essentials, we’re able to whip up tons biscuit and cake mix for a fraction of the price they would cost normally!
6. Practice Portion Control
Chances are that huge chicken breast on your plate at dinner isn’t a recommended portion. If your family seems to leave a lot on their plates or you throw out a lot of leftovers, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of food you make. This will help you stretch your ingredients—especially pricey ingredients like meat—farther and you’ll need to purchase less.
7. Stop Wasting Food
Speaking of leftovers, stop throwing them out! It’s a waste of food and a waste of money. If you or your family doesn’t care for plain reheated leftovers, figure out ways to recycle them and make new meals. You might also want to start keeping scrap bags in your freezer. Place leftovers and scraps from meal preps in these bags and make a meal from them when they get full enough. Some of the best soups, stews, and chilis I’ve made have come out of the scrap bags in my freezer! The best part was they really cost me nothing to make, since it was made from ingredients that I would have normally thrown out.
Stay tuned for the final tips on how to save money on groceries without coupons tomorrow!