Check out the slideshow to learn the seven steps you can take to save money at the grocery store.
Tip 1: Make a game plan and plan ahead.
Start by being realistic about how many meals you’ll cook at home in a week. Do you have other plans? Want to eat leftovers for lunch? Next, decide what you want to eat that week. If it’s a busy week, try cooking a double batch of something on a night when you have more time to cook.
Some of us don’t love to plan meals in advance. If that’s the case then just pick some of the main ingredients. For instance you may want to roast a chicken one night and then make soup with the leftovers another night. Maybe you’re longing for pizza another night and something with ground beef another. That’s the start of a game plan.
Tip 2: Keep a well-stocked pantry.
A well-stocked pantry is the best way to resist the urge to go out when you’re not sure what’s for dinner. Check to see what staples need replenishing or write it down as soon as you use something up. Besides basics like flour, make sure to keep things like canned beans and pasta.
Tip 3: Plan for what’s in season.
Avoid choosing something like fresh asparagus in January, because that’s when you’ll pay big bucks for it (not to mention that it won’t taste like much anyway). Instead, in the dead of winter opt for cauliflower or chard.
Tip 4: Look for Coupons and Club Stores
If you’re a coupon clipper, great, go for it. But it’s best to do it after you write that shopping list. That way you don’t fall into the trap of buying things you don’t really need just because you have a great coupon for them. Check supermarket websites for coupons too.
Club stores, such as Costco and Sam’s Club, have some great deals. Two things to keep in mind at these stores: Don’t go overboard and don’t always assume that you’re getting a better deal at the club store. We like to stock up on boxed broth, olive oil, frozen fish, canned tomatoes and nuts (to keep in the freezer).
Tip 5: Shop the ethnic markets and grocery store aisles.
Ethnic stores and grocery store sections are great places to find interesting ingredients. And they often have cheaper prices on items like seafood, beans and fresh vegetables.
Tip 6: Eat Local.
Choose local fruits, vegetables and meats when they’re at their peak and likely at the best price. Visit pick-your-own farms for better prices, especially when you buy in bulk. Pick more than you’ll eat in the next few days and then freeze extras for later. Also, shop roadside farm stands, which sometimes have better prices.
Tip 7: Eat vegetarian a few nights a week.
Try to include a couple of vegetarian meals in your menu for the week. Skipping meat, even once or twice a week, can help save money, since meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal. Plan meals where meat is used as a flavoring as opposed to being the central part of a meal. For instance, have a little sausage on a pizza or a bit of turkey along with plenty of vegetables in a panini.
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The first step to saving money is to avoid waste. Americans throw out more than 25 percent of the food we prepare, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That means we need to do a better job of using leftovers, learn what to do with food when it's past its peak and most of all get organized. Are you wondering how you can achieve this?
Check out the slideshow above to learn the seven steps you can take to save money at the grocery store.