Simple Ways to Save Money On Groceries (Without Coupons) Part 2, plus a recipe

 

If you missed part one, you can find it here.

At the grocery store:

Shop only once a week. When you go into a store for milk, bread and eggs, how many times do you come out with only milk, bread and eggs? If you are anything like me, the answer is “almost never”. Instead, get in, get what you need and get out. The more you go to the store and the longer you stay in the store, the more money you will end up spending. Stores put a lot of thought into how to get you to make impulse purchases. Shop only once a week and stick to your list. If you’re super tight on cash one week, Simply Skip.

Pay with cash (no debit cards allowed). Go to the bank, take out the money you’ve budgeted for groceries until the next pay period and put it in an envelope. When the money is gone, that’s it. If your child is begging for Super Sugared Crunchies but it’s two days until your weekly grocery trip, offer him or her another cereal you have on hand, but don’t make an extra trip to the store. This is tough).

Stock up only when prices are rock bottom. Set aside a little bit of your grocery budget for stockpiling and buy extra only when you see a great deal. For instance, I bake bread, muffins, etc., from scratch a lot so I buy several 5-lb. bags of flour when it’s $1.50 a bag. (Note: If you never bake, this is NOT the deal for you). But, if you love spaghetti, buy 10 boxes when it’s on sale for $0.69 a box. That should last you until it’s on sale again.About every six weeks or so our Meijer sells roast pork loin for $1.69/lb. I buy the biggest one I can find and then cut it in half (or even thirds) when I get home and freeze it. I can usually get six different meals for our family of four this way.

Search high and low. Food manufacturers pay big bucks to have their products displayed at eye-level. For the best value, look on the top or bottom shelf. A perfect example of this happened last night. I was completely out of chili powder. The premium brand in the fancy bottle with the green cap was more than $4. The McCormick  brand was around $3. The Meijer brand? $0.50. Only 50 cents for a similar sized bottle! Was it easy to find? Nope. I had to look down and to the far left of the shelf to find it. Was it worth a couple of extra seconds? You bet.

Buy spices in bulk. If you only need one teaspoon of an exotic or seldom-used spice, buy only what you need in bulk at the health food store. For example, I wanted to try to make chai tea in my slow cooker, but it called for four cardamom pods. If I bought a bottle of cardamom at my grocery store, it would seriously be more than $10! Almost all of the spices sold at the grocery stores are really, really expensive. Plus, they might go bad before you use them all up. Don’t make a special trip, though. Instead, stop in when you are on that side of town to save time –  and gas. World Market also has some really affordable spices – $3 a jar –  if that is more convenient.

Compare unit prices. I try to think of it as practical math! Some stores show the unit price on the price label located on the shelf. All bets are off if there is a sale, though. By doing this, you can truly find out if the 72 oz bottle of laundry detergent for $5.99 is a better deal than the 100 oz bottle for $8.99. If you look at the unit price, you’ll know that it’s better to go with the 72 oz bottle in that scenario.

The following recipe comes from a 1976 Mennonite cookbook called, “More With Less” by Doris Janzen Longacre. I bought mine on amazon.com years ago. There are a lot of really good and simple recipes. There are also a lot of recipes for regional cuisine as well if you are a bit of an adventurous cook!

Basic White Sauce

  • 3 T butter or margarine
  • 3 T flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C milk or stock, or a combination of each

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and salt and stir using a wire whisk to prevent lumps. Stir in the milk or stock. Cook just until smooth and thickened. Makes slightly more than one cup – approximately the same amount in one 10 oz can.

Variations:

  • Cheese sauce – add 1/2 C grated cheese (use a strong flavor) and 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • Tomato sauce – use tomato juice as the liquid; add a dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil and oregano
  • Mushroom sauce (similar to canned mushroom soup) – saute 1/2 C chopped mushroom s and 1 T finely chopped onion in butter before adding flour
  • Celery sauce – saute 1/2 C chopped celery and 1 T finely chopped onion in butter before adding flour
  • Chicken sauce (awesome in chicken pot pie) – use chicken broth as half the liquid and add 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning or sage and diced cooked chicken

For tomorrow, how to keep saving money on groceries even after you get home.

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Published in: on March 8, 2011 at 9:08 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great article. My next post at http://www.savemoneymonthly.com is going to be about saving money while grocery shopping and would love to build on some of your ideas. Some additional points I like are only shopping on a full stomach and always have a list prepared before hand.

    • Hi Calvin – Feel free to link back, if you like. I agree, I always get in trouble if I go into a store hungry or forget my list! One other idea might be to try the store brands if your readers don’t do that already. A number of the food items I buy are the store brand and more often than not, they are the same quality. Thanks again for stopping by! Kim


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