I am sure that I am not the only person that has noticed the ever rising price of food. We are spending a lot more on food lately then we ever had before. I know part of it is that my children are getting older so they are eating more but I also know a lot of it is caused by the price of food. We are trying to get rid of debt so a larger grocery bill wasn’t really in the budget. This means I need to find more ways to cut down on what we are spending at the store.
I am not really a couponer. I have tried it in the past and it ended up being a waste of my time. The items that usually had coupons were just things we did not use a lot of. I do use them from time to time if I see something I know we would use but for the most part coupons are not a part of my savings routine. I do check the store ads each week and do the majority of our shopping based on what is on sale. Hyvee recently started a fuel saver program. We signed up right away, saving money on gas is a huge help to us.
When the store I buy most of our meat at does have a good sale, I will stock up (within reason). I always have them package it in meal sized portions (as in if buying five pounds of hamburger, I have it packaged in one pound packages and the like), it helps to stop waste and gives me a better idea of what I have in my deep freeze.
Meal planning is a huge help for me to save money on groceries. Knowing what I need makes it easy to make a list I can stick to and having that list helps to stop impulse buys. I usually do a two week meal plan in my blog. I try to do all my shopping in one trip but I usually have to go back to get milk, juice and fruit since we go through those items the fastest. Meal planning has been a money saver and a time a saver for me. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Meatless meals is another way to cut down. Meat has gotten really expensive so having meatless meals is a way to cut back. Some of our favorite meatless dishes are egg and cheese bakes, pancakes, cheese quesadillas and tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. There are a lot of other ideas out there for meatless meals.
Making things from scratch is a big way to save as well. I do not buy store bought cookies (aside from the occasional box of oreos), instead I make them myself. They taste way better and are much cheaper. I have yet to find a prepackaged meal that was cheaper then just making it myself. I make my husband lunches each day to take to work, he will either take leftovers or a sandwich. Making him a nice sandwich myself is a lot cheaper then buying them from the deli. This would also include buying pre-cut fruit and vegetables (not something I did anyway but for those that do, you can save a lot by just doing it yourself).
Cutting out snacky foods has been another big saver for us. While we do still buy the kids the occasional box of gummies and things of that sort, I have cut down on the amount of snack food in the house. This was not only to save money but also to get healthy. About 90% of the kids snacks are now things like fresh fruit, applesauce, celery and peanut butter or carrot sticks.
Using leftovers is another big saver. I was really guilty of wasting food but I made it a goal to use our leftovers and we have been doing a lot better. I can get two or three meals out of one roast. We will cook and shred a large roast, the first night we have shredded roast sandwiches, the second night we will have beef and noodles and it we still have roast left the third night we will usually make some kind of soup from it. I can do the same thing with a large pork roast and a large whole chicken. I will also make larger batches of soups and then freeze them in smaller bowl for my husband to take to work.
Of course there is always buying the cheaper brand. I do this for the most part. There are a few items that I like certain brands of better and those are the items I always watch for the store sales.
Once spring is here I will be planting a garden again. Last year Iowa was hit hard with the drought so our garden did not fair well. We did eat and save what we could but is was gone a lot time ago. I hoping we have a good year this time so I can save more vegetables. I will also shop the local farmers market since many times I can get stuff cheaper and fresher there.