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5 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

In today’s economy, it seems everyone is looking for ways to cut back. The problem is, most people don’t know where to start. If you’re looking to cut back, I suggest starting in the kitchen. There are a multitude of ways to save money in the kitchen, and you can tailor how you cut your food budget so it doesn’t impact your lifestyle.

If you eat a lot of convenience foods, you can save time and money by doubling each recipe you cook and freezing half for those busy (or tired) nights. If you are attached to eating meat with every meal, focus on cutting your use of paper products or expensive side dishes. You can save a lot of money by making small changes. You put in minimal effort and get maximum savings! Don’t believe me? Here are 5 things I do to save money in the kitchen, and my family doesn’t even notice. (shhhh! don’t say a word!)

5 Money Saving Kitchen Tips

1. Make your own mixes. If you regularly use Bisquick for biscuits and pancakes, consider making your own mixes. It only takes a few minutes to whip up a mix, and it’s a lot less expensive than buying the ready made mix at the store. To get you started, here’s a recipe for all purpose biscuit mix:

Homemade “Bisquick” for Biscuits and Pancakes

  • 8 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 tsp. sugar (optional)
  • 1 c. Crisco

Directions: Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Store sealed in pantry or refrigerator.
To use with:

  • BISCUITS – add 1/3 cup milk to cup of mix.
  • PANCAKES – 3/4 cup milk to a cup of mix, and I like to add an egg also but the original recipe didn’t do that.

I add a one quart envelope powdered milk, or 3/4 cup Carnation powdered milk to the whole batch as I make up the mix; and then I just add water when I use it.

Recipe from Cooks.com [3].

2. Use less meat. By weight, meat of any kind is the most expensive part of your meal. You should try to use less of it. Notice I didn’t say cut out all meat. In fact, you don’t even need to make meatless meals. If a recipe calls for a pound of ground beef, try cutting back to 3/4 lb. or even 1/2 lb. I use between 1/2 and 3/4 lb. meat for every pound in the recipe for all of my casseroles. My family never notices.

3. Buy spices in bulk. Spices are incredibly expensive. I have a hard time paying $6 for a small bottle that I might use twice a month. Fortunately I don’t have to. Some grocery and health food stores sell spices in the bulk bins, and they cost $1-$2 per POUND! Don’t waste your money on fancy little spice jars. Go for the bulk spices. Your bank account will thank you!

4. Skip the paper. Begin using cloth napkins and towels in place of their paper counterparts. You can find both inexpensively at yard sales. I bought 50 cloth napkins for less than $5 at a yard sale last summer. I’ve already paid for the investment by not having to pay $2 for paper napkins every month and the Earth is a better place for it. And cloth napkins are so small, they only add one load of laundry a week. And my kids are messy eaters!

5. Eat leftovers. Much of the money that is wasted in the kitchen is from food that is tossed out [4]. Jim even wrote a post about how his family uses a leftover calendar [5] to ensure they don’t waste any food. Instead of thinking of that half-eaten casserole as trash, start thinking of it as money. How much did the ingredients cost? Even if its only $5, you’re throwing out $2.50 whenever you toss that casserole (and that’s not even taking into account the time it took to prepare).

Not convinced? Keep a tally for a month, you can’t escape numbers. How much money are you throwing into the trash? To combat food waste, make a plan for leftovers. Use them for lunch. Have a free for all night, where your family eats leftovers for dinner. Or don’t cook as much food. By using all your food, you waste less money.

What are your favorite tips for cutting the grocery bill?

(Photo: dnorman [6])