How to Save Money Tip Day 7: 34 Easy Tips for Shopping Smart in the Grocery Store

How to Save Money Tip Day 7: 34 Easy Tips for Shopping Smart in the Grocery Store

Food tends to be one area of our budget we can overspend so easily. How do we control our costs in the grocery store? The key is learning to shop smart.

The number 1 suggestion I can provide is to plan!

For example, have you ever bought lots of fresh fruits and vegetables with great intentions and than have to throw out most of it because it went bad before it was eaten. Plan out your meals in advance- what do you need to make these meals? What do you already have in your house?

Here is a list of my suggestions for shopping smart for groceries:

Plan in advance:

  • Plan out your meals (make a list of all ingredients you have already and what you need to buy)
  • Shop with a list- don’t put items in your cart that are not on your list
  • Look at the grocery flyers before hand (make a detailed list)
  • Look for coupons especially on toiletries and household products
  • Check out recipe books and searches online for new and interesting recipes to try

Leftovers:

  • Prepare double meals and freeze your leftovers (spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and chili are great examples of foods that freeze and reheat really well) *label and date the container before putting it in the freezer
  • Use leftovers in a creative way take leftover roast chicken and make chicken tacos or a chicken and rice casserole with it
  • Pack leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch
  • Label all leftovers
  • Try to use ingredients in more than 1 meal- if tomatoes are on special this week try to use them in a couple different meals

Grocery Shopping:

  • Do not shop on an empty stomach
  • Consider shopping at multiple stores -look at warehouses for certain items
  • Look at smaller stores (ethnic markets for example)
  • Take advantage of stores that allow you to price match
  • Stick to the outside edge of the market for healthier foods
  • Look for alternatives to pre-packaged foods- make your own macaroni and cheese to ensure the quality of the ingredients- you can also add in extra veggies by pureeing some butternut squash to add to the cheese sauce

Fruits and Vegetables: Try to Save Money Tips

  • Shop local- look at farmer’s markets for fresh produce
  • Prepare your fruits and vegetables when you get home- makes for quick meal preparations and snacks on the go
  • Look at alternative sources to fresh produce such as low sodium canned options or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Check out the grocery sales for different types of vegetables on sale
  • Consider jarring or canning fruits and vegetables while in season
  • Grow your own vegetables or herbs

General Tips:

  • Shop with cash
  • Use a calculator to add up your costs
  • Consider your needs and wants- do you need that chocolate milk or do you want it?
  • Check out the top and bottom shelves for hidden bargains
  • Check unit prices not just the overall price to see which product is a better deal
  • Look at store brands not just name brand items- you are paying for the label/brand
  • Take advantage of store loyalty and reward cards- collect points
  • Stockpile foods that don’t expire quickly such as canned goods, dry beans, and pasta
  • Look for loss leaders in your store flyers
  • Find out when or if your store has a clearance section or discounts products such as meat or bread (freeze immediately)
  • Look at club size packs of meat and sub-divide into smaller portions at home
  • Look for discounted fruits and vegetables (I often find red peppers marked down that I then roast and freeze at home).
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How to Save Money Tip Day 2: Bring Lunch to Work and Save More than $2000 a year

How to Save Money Tip Day 2: Bring Lunch to Work and You Could Save More than $2000 a Year

I am not suggesting that you can never eat out but rather look at the money you can save if you brown-bag your lunch even 1 day a week.

How much do you spend on average for a lunch out? $5-20 a day. Let’s say you spend $10 a day on lunch, that is $50.00 a week or $200.00 a month or $2400.00 a year.

Instead you brown bag your lunch 1 day a week so now you spend $40.00 a week, $160.00 a month, or $1920.00 a year. That is considerable savings- what could you use that money for? That would make some nice payments on your existing debt, extra mortgage payments, save for a vacation, help fund an emergency fund, extra money for retirement savings or saving for your child’s education.

What if you choose to make this shift 2 or 3 days a week? Every day we make money choices, sometimes we need to weigh out the costs vs the benefits. We can make better choices if we change our behaviors.

How much would it cost you to make your own lunch? It does cost some money and also time to plan and make your lunch but the savings is still considerable.

Tips for Making your Lunch Quick and Easy:

Consider leftovers from last night’s supper or low-cost meal options like soup, sandwiches and wraps, salads, just to name a few. Try cheese, deli meat, and crackers for a light lunch.

Make your lunch the night before so it’s quick and easy to grab and go.

Buy big bags of snacks and divide them up into individual size portions *often cheaper.

Make extra portions of meals such as chili, spaghetti sauce, casseroles, and lasagna which can all be frozen in advance. Defrost and reheat at work for a quick lunch.

Cut up vegetables and fruit when you get home from the grocery store so its easy to grab when running late. Add some dip or salad dressing.

Freeze a water bottle or grapes to help keep other foods cold until lunch time.

Invest in a thermos for hot and cold foods and an insulated bag.

How to Save Money Tip Day 1: Are you looking for free entertainment? Check out your local library

How to Save Money Tip Day 1: Check out the Library for free entertainment ideas….

Your local library is a great source of free entertainment and resources for the whole family.

Literacy is important- reading opens doors and allows us to imagine ourselves somewhere else.

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

Maya Angelou from brainyquote.com

Have you ever bought a book and realized that it wasn’t what you thought it was? Ever see a magazine while standing in line at the grocery store and you just wanted to read one of the stories? Want to watch a movie or listen to a new cd that is totally not your normal style?  Do you need some volunteer experience? Want to join a book club? Are you a new mom and you and your baby need to get out of the house?

There are so many reasons I can suggest checking out what resources are available at your own local library.

Some of the resources may include:

  • Use a computer or access the internet
  • Access to a wide array of magazines, newspapers, and books
  • Access to a variety of dvds, cds, books on tape, and ebooks
  • Activities, programs, events, and groups for children, teenagers, adults, and seniors
  • Summer programs- reading clubs for kids
  • Quiet space for studying or research
  • Research (genealogy for example)
  • Meeting spaces for groups of people
  • Adult or ESL literacy help
  • Computer training or help

Some of the reasons to use the library:

  • Most services are free
  • A few services are low cost for some services like a photocopier
  • Lot’s of choice and variety
  • Good way to try new types of books or new authors
  • Entertainment value
  • Be part of the larger community
  • Meet and talk to other people (you never know who you might meet)
  • Participate in groups
  • Learn research skills
  • Literacy is a vital skill
  • Librarians are a key resource and source of information

A book is a gift you can open again and again.

-Garrison Keillor from 

http://quotes-for-teachers.blogspot.ca/2000/06/books-and-reading.html%5B/embed%5D

8 Tips for Cheaper Entertainment when on a Budget

Make sure you include money in your budget for entertainment (you are human and you will want to go out and have fun). Even while being on a budget you need to have some fun or you will not stick to your long-term plans.

But you can have fun cheaper:

1. Pack a lunch and snacks when going to an amusement park, zoo, or other events. This works if you are traveling this spring and summer as well. Use an ice pack to keep things cool.

2. Look for coupons and discount codes for lower admissions to different fun places.

3. Go in the off-season for cheaper admission to amusement parks, zoos, and other fun places to explore.

4. Check out local events and locations to visit. Be a tourist in your own town or city. Is there a museum or gallery you have never been to before?

5. Save your reward points and miles and use them for cheaper gas for traveling, movie tickets, and other forms of entertainment.

6. Find low-cost things to do- for example, walk around a park (take pictures) or throw a frisbee or ball around or fly a kite with the kids.

7. Search for good deals on hotels.

8. Find cheap or free things to do with your children while traveling- stop at parks and green spaces where they can run around.

Memories do not have to be costly to be meaningful.

 

Recently, me and my husband headed to zoo as a day-trip. It is about an hour and a half from here. To help keep our costs a bit lower, I packed our lunch and snacks (cooler bag and an ice pack to keep it cool). I packed a bag with sunscreen and our camera. We are headed up now partly to see all the baby animals that spring brings but also the admission is cheaper because it is still considered the off-season.