Frugal Living Tips: Getting More From Your Groceries

Now we’re all aware that I am no cook. I don’t even play one on television (although I do play the television wife of many, many antiheroes), so I won’t pretend that I’m any expert on grocery budgets. But I am learning about taking care of my grocery budget so I don’t wind up (as I’ve done this month) with no cash leftover to pay for groceries. It’s a process, not an event. This is what I’m learning about getting more from your groceries.

1) Getting More From Your Groceries: Google It – I’m a huge fan of Google. It allows me to self-diagnose things like testicular cancer as well as scoring some rad coupons, which make me happy in the pants. But if you’re sitting there at 8PM, trying to figure out what the nuts to do with an item or two from your pantry, plug it into Google with the word “recipe” after it and see what comes up. You’ll figure out something to do with those random lemons sitting in your (read: my) fridge.

2) Getting More From Your Groceries: Beat Freezer Burn. I don’t know HOW many packs of meat I’ve gone through over the years, shoving it in the freezer when I realized I had to cook or freeze the stuff. Problem is, every time I managed to pull it out again, it was so covered in freezer burn that no one in their right mind will ever eat it. The solution? Buy smaller quantities and only buy what you will eat that week. If you go in bulk for something like meat, carefully divide it up into single servings and freeze those, planning to use them in the following weeks.

3) Getting More From Your Groceries: Carefully Buy In Bulk. While it sounds like a great idea (sorta like the time I made coffee with Redbull – not such a great idea, by the by) at the time, a deal is a deal ONLY if you’re going to use it. So don’t overbuy stuff unless you and your family truly will eat it – not because it’s on a super-sale that you simply cannot pass up.

4) Getting More From Your Groceries: Get Creative. Most of us have animals of some type – I have a cat, no dogs – and some of the stuff that we end up tossing out because there’s not enough to save or it wasn’t particularly tasty can be fed to our animals. Or, for example, my parents dogs, who are always pleased to see me coming with a bag of food for them.

5) Getting More From Your Groceries: Plan Meals Out. I’m actually not a half-bad planner, but as previously stated, I suck at cooking. I wish I were joking. But planning out meals is one easy way to make sure that you buy only the food you’re going to be eating for the week while avoiding the temptation to just “order a pizza” or impulse shopping.

6) Getting More From Your Groceries: Shop The Sales. Most of the major grocery chains offer online circulars to avoid cutting down trees – and to reach people like me, who don’t get newspapers delivered – which means that if you can combine your meal plans WHILE seeing what’s on sale, throwing in a coupon here or there, you can totally cut down the cost of groceries.

7) Getting More From Your Groceries: Ignore Convenience Foods. While it’s great to look at those bags of pasta and sauce in the store, they’re not usually a whole lot better than the stuff you could make for yourself. And they’re more expensive per serving than anything you’d make. Like spaghetti and meat sauce? Google it and you’ll find a recipe that works for you.

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What are some other ways to get more from your groceries? Any way for me to get a hot bag boy to come cook for me?
 

(would really like a vacation right about now, Pranksters)

(Hey, a girl can dream)

Since this IS a deals site, here’s a deal!



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12 thoughts on “Frugal Living Tips: Getting More From Your Groceries

  1. I meal plan for a month (or more) at a time that way I know exactly how many chicken breasts, cans of soup, etc i need and do one large grocery trip. It has saved me thousands. I pin all my recipes so I can quickly find them.

  2. http://www.recipematcher.com/ is a place you can enter in everything in your pantry and fridge and it will give you all the recipes you can make with the stuff you have on hand … comes in handy during moments of “I have nothing to eat” and you have random dry goods filling your cabinets

  3. I use the coupon site you’ve mentioned before. I also plan our menu for 2 weeks at a time, since it’s just the boyfriend and I and social stuffs means our schedule changes on a weekly basis. Also? Bargain stores like Grocery Outlet are good for frozen and canned goods. If you’re willing to split your shopping among 2 or 3 stores, you can save tons. We spend about $75 every 2 weeks on groceries, with an extra $50 in the budget for extras that may come up.

  4. You can find good deals on meat, fish and produce at ethnic markets. Not the “foodie” kind of market, the kind where noone speaks English. There will be stuff you don’t recognize, but basics like chicken, salmon, broccoli, etc. are universal. Just be careful if you ever buy a whole chicken, that it doesn’t still have the head on (learned that one the hard way).

  5. I like the picture on the right. In ganreel I would say that we have become spoiled by the big box grocers on every other corner as well as the gas stations that come with them. I believe that I spend more money because I don’t plan out my meals as I should. Who has the time for that? Plus, I know I can just stop by the store and grab whatever we need on my way home since I pass 2 Krogers, 1 Publix, and 2 Walmarts on my way home. I am sure I am not alone in saying that I long for more simple days and it would be nice to live, work and play within a closer proximity. I think I would be willing to pay more for my groceries considering the dollars I would save by not having to drive up and down 78 every day. Guess my only problem would be making sure the grocer carried all of my favorites and FYI, I am a brand specific buyer of groceries

  6. Retailer coupons! I go to Fresh and Easy a lot here in California, and they send weekly coupons. They even send specific coupons based on what you have already bought! It’s so useful if you can deal with a little ‘spam’.

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