Simple Ways To Save Money On Groceries (Without Coupons), Part 1 – plus a recipe

How’s that for the longest blog post title ever?

Before I begin, you should know that I love to gather information from others and then adapt those ideas to work for our family.

John Luther once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others – you can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”

So true. 

Full disclosure, though: I’m not one of those people who can walk out of a grocery store with a full cart of food and pay only $0.42 after coupons. If you can do that, you don’t need me!

But I have learned a few things that I want to share with you. When I apply these strategies on a somewhat consistent basis, I save our family a significant amount of money. So much so, in fact, that I’m able to stay at home comfortably.

Before you go to the grocery store:

Look at what you already have. Take a quick look inside your fridge and pantry. Write out the items that need to be used up before they go bad. Is your spinach getting a little wilty? Make pesto, add to soups or saute it with olive oil and minced garlic for a quick and healthy side dish.

Check the freezer once a month. Mark it on your calendar and stick to it. Don’t remember when you bought that package of ground beef? Do you have a couple of opened bags of  peas or corn?  Whip up a big pot of Clean-The-Freezer Soup (recipe below). It’s hearty, delicious and a great way to use up a lot of the odds and ends in your freezer. It’s also never the same soup twice, which is great if you like variety.

Plan out all your meals and snacks. Look through your favorite cookbook or recipe file and make a list of what you know you and your family will eat. Include breakfast, lunch and snacks as well as dinner. If you have an activity planned that night, make a quick meal like quesadillas. Be sure to include a night for leftovers.

Plan out all your meals and snacks around the sale items. Are pasta, bread, pork loin, sliced cheese, broccoli and oats on sale this week? Make oatmeal or oatmeal muffins for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and roast pork with broccoli and a side of pasta for dinner. Or, see what you can make using what you already have and what’s on sale. Be creative!

Clean the Freezer Soup

  • 8 oz meat (any kind)
  • 6 C vegetables
  • 1 can broth
  • 1-1/2 C spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 or 2 cans beans (optional)
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (more or less to taste)
  • 1 T oil

Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for one to two minutes, or until onions begin to soften, but not brown. Add the broth, spaghetti sauce, meat, vegetables and spices. Add beans, if using. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.   

Serve with garnishes of your choice:  shredded cheese, chopped green or red onion, sour cream, etc. You can also serve this over rice or noodles. As you can see, it’s very versatile (and very delicious, I might add)!

This post is getting a little long, so I’ll split it up. Stay tuned!

Published in: on March 7, 2011 at 9:45 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for the money saving tips! …and the recipe!

    • You are more than welcome. Thanks for stopping by!

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