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How to Save Money on Groceries

Posted By timparker On 04/11/2012 @ 2:10 pm In Personal Finance | 15 Comments

I’ll admit it. I’m not good at saving money on food. My wife and I love to eat at fancy overpriced restaurants and although we try to cut and save coupons, they normally expire in the coupon organizer before they make it to the store. People that I know have the same problem so I wanted to see if there was something I could do to save money at the grocery store that didn’t involve a ton of prep work. Extreme couponing would take more time than my schedule and attention span would allow so I set out to find another way. Here’s what I came up with.

Buy Quantity

Tyson makes these amazing frozen quesadillas that come with some of the best salsa on the planet. Last week, Target had them on sale. I saw one dollar off and I switched from a basket to a cart. I bought 10 bags and put them in our garage freezer. I don’t live on them but I normally purchase a bag each time I’m at the store so it made sense to buy in bulk this time.

I used to think that buying more meant paying less per unit but I was wrong. Sometimes it’s not a good deal so I started looking at the unit price for everything.

Crockpot, Baby!

Here’s my formula: Buy a bulk pack of chicken breasts when they have that manager’s special sticker on them. (Meaning that Salmonella is about 24 hours away) Then, break them up in to generic ziplock bags and freeze them. Put two in the crockpot in the morning and by the time the evening rolls around, they’re so tender that they easily break up making any number of great meal ideas possible. I used to buy those precooked frozen chicken breasts or that chicken in a can but this method is so much cheaper.

I find that anything can be put in to a crockpot and there are a ton of recipes online allowing me to save money by purchasing ingredients at the grocery store instead of already-made meals.

Portion Control

Seems a little obvious, I know, but when was the last time you got a food scale out and portioned out a serving of each item on your plate? I decided that I could cut my food costs and lose weight at the same time by preparing a meal that I could eat for a few days by making sure my portions were the correct size. I didn’t need to eat as much as I was and that caused the higher dollar items like meats to go further.

This idea spoke my language because as business owners we learn that it’s easier to cut costs than it is to make money. In this case it was easier to make the food go further instead of trying to engineer a cost cutting strategy.

Bottom Line

We knew we weren’t going to use coupons enough to make a difference and we don’t get a Sunday paper or open those ValPak coupon mailers that show up each week so we had to find other ways to cut costs at the grocery store without the traditional methods.

I’ve read enough stories of the wealthy people in the world and although the big spenders of the world make the news, many of the wealthiest people are penny pinchers. If it works for the billionaires, I’m thinking we should try it too.

How do you cut costs at the grocery store?


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