Shopping For Safe Food is not easy and there is no question that times are hard right now with the state of the economy. This has many people looking for ways to cut back on expenses and save money. While there are many extras that can be done away with, food is not one of them. Sadly, the grocery store is where a lot of people spend the majority of their paychecks, aside from the mortgage. Therefore, wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to cut your grocery bill by at least 25 percent or more?
While there is no guarantee on how much you can cut your grocery bill by, there are a lot of things that you can do to lower your monthly food expenses. Below are some great money-saving tips that, if applied, will help you keep both your bank account and pantry stocked!
Shopping for clean and safe food is quite another story. We want to save money here, but organic foods are usually more expensive. One thing I have learned here, is when cutting out processed food, buying organic can cost much less. Why? Because we don’t realize how much we actually spend on processed foods until we start to cut them out. Buying more fresh organic foods and cooking more from scratch will actually save you money.
1. Forget about the name. One of the quickest ways to save money at the grocery store is to forget about the brand name foods. We need to change the way we think and start looking at labels and not name brands. The ingredient label will tell you more information than any fancy marketing on the front.For some reason, people think that buying brand name food is like buying brand name clothing. Guess what? It isn’t! When it comes to food, often times the off brand foods taste exactly like the brand name foods…sometimes they taste even better! And, the best part is that the off brand foods cost substantially less than the name brands do. But even then, the most important part of any label is the ingredient list. Read IT!
2. Make more from scratch. Somewhere along the way, society has gotten pretty lazy, and I admit, I’m talking about myself too. It’s way too easy to buy prepackaged food and “whip” up a meal in less than 20 minutes. Obviously, we are paying for the convenience when we buy those “heat and serve” foods at the grocery store. Therefore, you can save a considerable sum of money by purchasing the individual ingredients for a dish (think mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, burritos, etc.) and make it from scratch at home. Additional benefits include serving foods without the extra additives and having leftovers!
Cooking from scratch usually provides much more food than what you get in a package, so again, you are saving money. Leftovers are awesome quickie meals.
3. Shop alone. I know it isn’t always easy to get away and go to the grocery store without the kids and/or spouse in tow, but you should when you have the chance. Kids have a tendency to get the “gimmies” whenever they enter a store and by the time parents are halfway through the grocery store, the kids begin to wear them down and unnecessary (and often unhealthy) foods make it into the basket. The same can happen when you bring the spouse along too. The only difference is that it’s harder to tell your spouse “no” than it is the kids.
4. Go on a full stomach. Another money saving tip is to do your grocery shopping on a full stomach. It’s easier to stroll past all the non-essential food items when you aren’t hungry than it is whey your stomach is growling. This tip alone can save you $10 or more at the grocery store!
5. Make your own salad. Did you know that those little bags of lettuce cost two to three times more than a head of lettuce does? The same is true for grated cheese. You can buy a small block of cheese for a fraction of the cost. Making your own salad dressing will also save you money. Therefore, if you are a salad enthusiast, start making your own salads. Not only will you save money, but you will be avoiding many preservative used in these prepackaged items.
6. Clip coupons. Believe it or not, you can find organic food coupons online. You don’t have to be an extreme coupon user in order to save money. Take a little extra time and browse the coupon fliers in the Sunday paper and clip out the coupons for foods that you would normally buy. Then, use them. Be sure to Google “organic food coupons”. You will be surprised what you can find.
7. Buy meat when it is on sale. Considering meat is one of the most expensive foods you will buy at the grocery store, it only makes sense to buy it when it is on sale and plan your weekly meals around it. This is a little harder to do when looking for organic meats. I did however; find several packs of grass-fed meats, in the clearance section, about to expire. These are still good to take home and freeze for later use. It may take a bit of hunting, but will be worth it in the long run unless you have access to a grass-fed farm nearby.
Buying good meat is important, sometimes the best place is not the grocery store. Check out this article on why!
5 Reasons I Don’t Buy Meat at the Grocery Store
8. Always make a list. Never, ever go to the grocery store without a list. This is one of the biggest money-making mistakes people make at grocery stores. When someone goes into the store without a list, most of the time they end up with half of what they really need and a lot of things they don’t need. Therefore, make a list before you go to the store and only buy what is on your list. In order to make your list effective, plan out the meals for the week (or two weeks…however often you go to the store) and put the ingredients for each meal on your list to ensure you get everything and don’t have to make another trip.
9. Shop the outside perimeter first. It’s no big secret that grocery stores are set up with the produce at one end of the store, meat is generally in the middle and dairy is at the other end…all along the outside perimeter. This is done so that consumers are more likely to start at one end and work their way to the other end, after going through all the aisles in between. Therefore, shop the outside perimeter first and get the necessities and only visit the aisles that have the additional items on your list. Do not shop all of the middle aisles or you will most likely spend extra money. “Use fresh food first”! Make this your new shopping motto.
10. Shop Online and Farmers Markets Don’t be afraid to look for groceries online and certainly roaming farmers markets are even fun for the whole family. I have found awesome values with free shipping for organic cereals and canned goods online. Shopping for Organic foods will be more then shopping at your local grocer. Make it fun and you will find eating healthy will not cost near as much as you think.
Shopping for Safe Food takes a little time at first, until you get familiar with organic products. Once you find your favorite brands and recipes, it will become quick and easy.
There are a lot of ways to save money at the grocery store. The list above contains only ten, but there are many more. The trick is to take an objective look at your current shopping habits and be willing to change them up a bit. It can be done, and once it is done you will realize it wasn’t really as hard as you thought it would be. In fact, many of these money-saving tips will also help you save time at the grocery store too!
The more we shop for safe, organic food, the more the grocery stores will make them available. The more they become available, the less expensive they will become!
“Use Fresh Food First”