Beyond clipping coupons, how can we stick to the budget when it comes to our grocery bill? Here are 13 of the money saving habits Dear Husband and I use.
1. Double check the price per unit at the grocery store. Once in a while the smaller packages are cheaper.
2. Use the microwave rather than the oven when feasible for a recipe.
3. Use a rubber spatula to dig out every last drop of the cookie dough in order to put one more cookie on the cookie sheet.
4. However often you eat out, cut the number in half. Even if you substitute a super fancy home cooked meal, you’ll save money over the restaurant bill, tax, tip, and gasoline.
5. If you have an athlete in the house who must have a sports drink during practice, use a powdered version. The bonus: if your athlete is a teen who practices after school, he or she can add chilled water from the water fountain just before practice begins, and that cold drink will feel good going down in the midst of a sweaty workout.
6. Plan your menus. We can cook dinner and have leftover ingredients that go to waste, or we can plan a week’s menu that uses the leftover ingredients in other recipes.
7. After grocery shopping, cook your least favorite meal first, before a hard week drains your energy. If you save your most appetizing meal for later in the week, you’ll be more likely to cook it rather than waste delicious ingredients by going out to eat.
8. This one can’t be said often enough. Drink tap water. If you truly believe it’s not healthy, use a water filter, but you don’t have to buy bottles of water.
9. Buy generic. I went to a community lecture a few years ago at a nearby college. The guest speaker was a bigwig at a plastics manufacturing company (plastic wrap, food packaging and the like). He said their exact same product was going into the less expensive store brands. With careful label reading, I’ve found this to be true for many items (though not all).
10. Drink your coffee and tea without sweeteners. It’s better for you anyway.
11. Find out if your grocery store gives you a discount for bringing your own reusable bags. If so, get some canvas grocery bags and start using them. Full disclosure: we are transitioning to using some reusable bags in our household. Right now we still use those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags for scooping cat litter and lining the kitchen garbage can. (I’ve also used them for art projects, but that’s for another blog post!)
12. I learned way back in a nutrition class in college that families tend to eat the same ten dinners over and over. (I’ve found this to be rather true in our case.) Identify your most expensive dinner and replace that one dinner with something inexpensive.
13. Cook meals from unprocessed ingredients. The packaged, more convenient foods cost a bundle. They create more waste products, too, so it’s doubly good to cook from scratch.
Make this day even better. Consider:
- Do you like to read books? See if your library has any of Amy Dacyczyn’s Tightwad Gazette books. (The third one is the best in my opinion.) The books are full of small clips of info because they are actually compilations of newsletters with readers’ mailed in tips. Makes them easy books to pick up for when you have just a minute to read. While some money saving hints are out of date, most of the information is timeless, budget-wise advice.