Here are 9 ways to get more bang for your buck at the grocery store:
1. Buy produce in season. Check the food section in your newspaper to find the best buys for the week, based on fresh produce in season. Food in season is usually priced to sell. Also, shop your local farmers’ market for great deals on local produce.
2. Brown-bag it. Making lunch and taking it with you is a great money-saver and an excellent use of leftovers for meals at work, school, or wherever your destination.
3. Think frozen, canned or dried. Next time you’re gathering ingredients for a recipe, try using frozen, canned or dried foods. They may be less expensive than fresh, yet are equally nutritious. Produce is typically frozen, canned, or dried at the peak of ripeness, when nutrients are plentiful. Fish and poultry are often flash-frozen to minimize freezer damage and retain freshness. With frozen foods, you can use only the amount you need, reseal the package, and return it to the freezer.
4. Save on protein foods. When possible, substitute inexpensive, vegetarian sources such as beans, eggs, tofu and legumes for more expensive meat, fish or poultry. Eat vegetarian once a week or more to increase your consumption of healthy plant foods while saving money. Eggs are an excellent, inexpensive source of protein that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
5. Waste not, want not. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste annually. Using leftover vegetables, poultry, or meat in soups, stews, salads and casseroles minimizes cost and demonstrates your creativity in the kitchen.
6. Go generic. Consider buying store brands instead of pricier national brands. Many grocery companies buy national-brand products made to their specifications and simply put their own label on the products. Read the ingredient list on the label to be sure you’re getting the most for your money. Also look for simpler versions of your favorite foods.
7. Buy prepackaged only if you need it. Buying prepackaged, sliced or washed products comes with a higher price tag. Still, people living alone may find that smaller sizes of perishable products or bags of prepared produce eliminate waste and fit their needs best, despite the extra cost. You can also save money (and boost nutrition) by passing up the aisles with processed foods, cookies, snack foods and soda.
8. Buy and cook in bulk. Joining a bulk shopping club, like Sam’s, Costco or BJ’s, can be cost-effective if you frequent the club regularly. Bulk purchases can be a great way to save money — as long as they get used. You might also look in your community for shopping cooperatives that sell food in bulk at a substantial savings.
9. Plant a garden. For benefits that go beyond cost savings, plant your own produce. There’s nothing better than a summer-fresh tomato from the garden. Tomatoes even grow well in containers if you don’t have space for a garden, and some neighborhoods offer community gardening spaces. Start small, and see how easy it is to grow fresh herbs or a few simple vegetables.
Never miss a deal again! “Like” Superhero Savings on Facebook.