Prices for food and other products are the grocery store are going up, due to rising transport costs, higher levels of demand, and shrinking agricultural and industrial output. In short, we’re getting higher prices because supplies can’t keep up. Rather than feel helpless about the surge in prices, we present some tips on how to save money fast while at the grocery.
Saving money through smart purchases is the best way to save money and keep your family healthily fed.
Plan your meals ahead of time
The first step is to take stock of what’s still in your pantry and refrigerator. Compile a shopping list based on the remaining food supplies, and on what you plan to cook until the next time you go to the grocery. Even better, you should also plan what you will do with leftovers from the planned meals.
Eat a light meal before you go to the grocery, to prevent impulsive purchases. That alone is will help a lot in saving money. The best way to save money when planning is to look for coupons you can use. You can also take advantage of discount and wholesale offers, but don’t overdo it and go beyond your budget.
Healthy food choices are better long-term solutions
One solution for how to save money fast would be to buy healthier food. Studies have found a correlation between families who lost weight thanks to healthy food choices, and reduced food budgets. Saving money this way happened through eating reduced portions, and spending less money on high-calorie food products.
For example, you would be better off buying sparkling water and juices, rather than sodas and other kinds of flavored drinks. Instead of buying more sweets, it may be a good idea to buy seasonal fruits. Add some low-fat yogurt or light ice cream to your list, to have healthy dessert along with the fruits.
Buy what’s in season
Do keep track of what fruits and vegetables are in season. The best way to save money in such a case is to remember in your personal calendar when fruits and vegetables are at their cheapest, so you can plan your meals and purchases with this information in mind.
If there is a local farmers’ market, you should also check prices there to see if you can get a better – and fresher deal.
Coupons and sales can help in saving money
It’s a good idea to keep track of coupons, and even learn how to stack them, so you can maximize your savings. However, don’t fall into the trap of using coupons for items you don’t normally buy. Save coupons for items that you normally use for your food preparations.
When items are for sale, do make the distinction between half-price and two-for-one offers. If you can’t use twice the amount within a reasonable period, then half-price offers may be a better deal for you.
Do remember that even if coupons and sales are excellent ways of saving money, you should be aware of the expiration dates or freshness of the produce.
Use leftovers and quick food preparations for lunch packs
There is nothing wrong with using leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, and in fact, this is the best way to save money for your office food budget. Aside from limiting your spending, you can be reasonably sure of all the ingredients. That is important if you’re on a diet to either lose weight, or address other health concerns. Quick food preparations such as sandwiches should be varied so you won’t be bored after a few days. You can also pack lunch only for every other day.
Frozen, canned, or dried foods can be used in cooking
If you can substitute frozen, canned, or dried foods for some ingredient in what you’re cooking, then do so if it turns out to be cheaper than if you would use fresh ingredients. However, while this is one way for how to save money fast, you should also be aware that some canned ingredients may have additives that you may not like. Do read the ingredients or contents of any of these types of goods carefully.
Substitute vegetables and other types of food for meat whenever you can
Substitution is a valid way to extend your food resources and is excellent for saving money. Find out if the dishes you want to prepare can substitute eggs, vegetables, and even tofu for meat, fish, or poultry. You don’t have to do a total substitution. If anything, one good idea would be to lessen the portions of the meat and then add the substitute food type to “round out” the recipe.
On a related note, you can also substitute leaner portions of meat for lower costs. You can also learn how to cut meat, fish, and poultry properly, so you can do it yourself, rather than the butcher. That will also help lower costs.
Maximize your perishable food purchases
It will always happen that you will have leftovers vegetables, meat trimmings and the like when you prepare food. Don’t throw these in the garbage. Rather, you can make this part of how to save money fast by including these ingredients for soups, salads, and even casseroles. You can even re-use the leftover cooked food from the other night by adding new ingredients to make a new dish.
Just make sure that you store the leftovers correctly, so there won’t be any spoilage.
Generic brands can lower your costs
Generic store brands must still adhere to national standards, so you can substitute some brand-name food products in your list with generic store brand products. In terms of saving money, this method becomes more effective the more products you can substitute with store brands. However, if you feel that you want the taste of a particular brand for a specific food product, then you should go for that. You’ve already saved up as much as you can in other food products, anyway.
Avoid prepackaged goods if you can
Prepackaged goods that are sliced, washed, or pre-weighed may be effective for smaller amounts of perishable goods, but at the same time, they certainly won’t help you in saving money. Do find out if you can cook or bake these food products at home. It’s possible all the raw ingredients will cost less than the prepackaged item itself.
When going to the local grocery store, the best way to save money is to use your common sense and to plan your purchases. That’s the foundation for all the guidelines mentioned above. Saving money by minimizing on food costs doesn’t have to make your food at home less healthy, not if you know how to choose what to buy. How to save money fast and how to choose the right food for your family comes down to experience. Don’t be afraid to start doing so, for more savings and a healthier family.