|The rising prices at the grocery stores are one of the chief complaints of consumers struggling to survive in a tough economy. There are a record number of tips and tricks out there that aim to help families save their dough on food items.
Here are 5 even better ideas for saving your hard-earned cash and still eat like a king.
Reconsider Processed Foods
Premade, processed foods sure may be convenient but they are also a huge drain on your wallet. In an effort to get healthier and wealthy, cut out as many processed foods from your weekly shopping list as you can stand. For those foods which are necessary in your home, switch to the store brand instead of only buying name-brand items. If you find that the value brand doesn't taste very good or simply can not replace the brand-named brand, talk to the customer service people and see if you can return the products which left you far from satisfied. Many of the store-brand products can be returned for just that reason. Keep your receipts handy.
Find Meat Alternatives
You don't necessarily have to switch to tofu, but there are ways to “go meatless” a couple times a week and still have a nutritional, well-balanced meal. Many recipes can be found that incorporate meat substitutes, such as beans, pastas, and pastas. Not having to buy seven days worth of meat can really save on your grocery bill. When you do buy dinner meats, check with your deli manager for the specials or save a little extra money to buy family packs which you can freeze in single servings. If your family uses a lot of meat products throughout the year, you may want to check with a local farmer or butcher shop, that can process a whole cow or pig that will stock your freezer for a year. The upfront costs are substantially higher than just going to the grocery store but the amount you save over time and the higher quality of meat will be well worth it. You can also split the costs with a relative or friend and split the enormous amount of meat you get.
If you tend to take many people with you to the grocery store, you are more likely to overspend. Having your spouse or your kids loading up the shopping cart without your knowledge can quickly blow your budget; not to mention the distractions that come with the constant “can I have this?” questions bombarding you down each aisle. Make sure you have a list and the time to go to the store without being rushed. Eat a satisfying meal before you leave so you are not buying food out of your hunger.
Buy for Bulk Cooking
Many families will prepare more than one meal over the weekend. If you can construct your grocery list to include enough ingredients to make double or triple batches of your favorite recipes, you will not only be saving yourself money, you will be saving the amount of time you spend cooking each week. Set aside one afternoon and prepare several dishes which you can freeze for a quick fix later. Instead of making enough chili for one sitting, make enough for three meals. You will save on supplies and always have enough convenient, ready-to-eat foods for each day of the week.
Learn to Can Foods
Canning food is thought to be an old-fashioned process but the reality is it can save you a ton of money and give you the satisfaction of enjoying your favorite homegrown fruits and vegetables year-round. Whatever food you can not grow in your own garden, buying in bulk when in season and learn how to can and preserve them for a long-shelf life. Many people will have an older relative who can show them the ropes. If not, contact a local cooking instructor or purchase a step-by-step book to guide you through the canning process.