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How to economize on groceries



With food prices on the rise, here are money-saving tips for shopping

money-saving tips for shopping


Disruptions in the supply chain, such as the illness-induced closing of meat-packing plants, has combined with high demand for products to raise prices at grocery stores around the country. It may take some planning on your part, but it is definitely worth it.

This is also a great time to get your kids involved in cooking. When you are planning your weekly menu, ask each of your children to pick a day they will cook. You can add their items to your list. I remember when I first started this my youngest was six. His first meal with pigs in a blanket. He cooked them frozen in the baker toaster we had. Plus, he added instant mac and cheese. Not the most nutritious meal but it started him on the road to being a good cook.  

Inventory your shelves. Take a look through your kitchen cabinets and make a list of foods you bought ages ago and never ate. I did this when the pandemic first started. It was amazing what outdated food I had on my shelves. Use recipe websites to find dishes that will use up those products.

Plan meals for sale items. Go through supermarket circulars and write up a week's menus based on items listed on sale, particularly if you're buying meat. I am not getting the circulars mailed to my home right now, so I have to make the effort to go online to shop specials. Consider your schedule as you plan, reserving quickly made or slow-cooker dishes for evenings when you'll have less time.

Stretch meat. With the cost of meat so high, you can make your meat purchases last longer by decreasing the amount you use in each dish and/or substituting beans or rice for a portion of the meat. Add veggies to your dish. During this season veggies are plentiful, especially at farm markets.

Eliminate meat. Complete protein is available from beans and grains, dairy products, and eggs. Consider either going meatless or serving a few vegetarian meals each week. Research has shown that most Americans eat about twice the amount protein they really need.

Pay attention to produce. Don't over-purchase fruits and vegetables that will go bad before you eat them. If you have lots, then consider chopping them and putting them in the freezer in meal size portions. Keeping a stock of frozen produce helps fill in any gaps if you didn't quite buy enough. Pre-chopped vegetables are tempting, but they cost extra, and it's not that hard to chop them yourself.

Try discount stores. We all get used to going to the same familiar stores, but there may be cheaper ones farther from your house. Consider stocking up on staples there occasionally to make the longer trip worthwhile.

Buy with discounts. Most stores have free apps with discounts offered. They tend to be more cost-effective than manufacturers' coupons.

Download a rebate app. Instead of a discount at the register, these apps offer rebates on specific products. Upload a photo of your receipt and receive a gift card or PayPal transfer once you've spent a specified amount.

Resist impulse buys. Clever marketing makes us targets for impulse buying of unneeded, expensive items, especially when the kids are along. If it's hard to stick to your shopping list, consider a delivery service.

Go with store brands. Taste tests show name brands are not necessarily better than the cheaper store brands.

Cut food waste. Buying to a menu will reduce having excess food on hand. Make sure everything gets consumed by planning a weekly leftover buffet or adding leftovers to school lunches. Rotate food in the fridge so older items are in front of newly purchased foods and maintain a fruit bowl on the counter.

Shop with a list. It is easier to use a prepared list rather then going up and down the isles to see what you need. I use Alexa for my shopping lists. Makes it easier to shop, and easier to restore items when they need replenishing.

Thanks to Parent Map for much of this information. They are a great parenting pub in Seattle, WA.



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