Frugal Guidelines For Grocery Shopping
Sticking to a grocery budget can get interesting, to say the least. A really good sale on non-perishable items can tempt you to overspend. I have learned to put my grocery money in an envelope. When I run out of money, I quit buying. If I need another loaf of bread, more than likely the ingredients are on hand. I have a few other guidelines, too.
- If there is money left over from the week's budget, I leave it in there. I may run across a fantastic deal next week and need the extras.
- Do not shop for just this week. Shop for non-perishable items at amazingly good prices, and stock up. A year's supply is not overkill as long as your cupboards already have enough of the basics (meat, vegetables, fruit, etc.) to get you through until next payday.
- Skip the junk food. It not only costs you more in cash. It costs you more in medical and dental bills.
- In the winter, I spend more money on fresh produce. In the summer, fresh food comes from the garden, but the money goes for canning supplies such as lids and sugar.
- Collect recipes that help you use up your most prolific garden produce. This week we are swimming in zucchini, broccoli, snow peas, lettuce and Swiss chard. We are eating quite a few vegetarian dishes. Last night it was egg rolls. By having the recipe on hand, I knew I had to buy egg roll wrappers and water chestnuts. The rest of those crops go in the freezer or get fed to the calves. The corn is coming on, so I am looking up our favorite corn recipes.
- Get into canning. While we have 20 rows of corn in the garden, we can only eat so much corn on the cob. Two canners full of pint jars filled with whole kernels and/or cream-style corn will last us all year and shoot about one afternoon. I like to invite friends over to work with me, especially if they want to learn how to do canning. Good conversation makes the time fly. You can pay for the necessary equipment with one season of savings.
- Compare sale notices with the coupons you have clipped. Sometimes you can get food for free if the amounts match each other.
- If you do not garden, there are plenty of people who do and would rather see their extras go to a good use than go to waste.
- Raise some of your own meat. Dolly Freed's book "Possum Living" describes how she and her father raised rabbits in their basement. If they could raise rabbits in the middle of town (without odor or contamination problems) anyone can do it. You don't have to have an acre of ground to do it. There is always a way. Her father also enjoyed hunting.
- Forage. Whether it is in a vacant lot, a wooded area, or the dumpster behind the grocery store, there is always something edible to be found. Once I "found" about 300 pounds of ice cream. Their freezer had failed, and grocery store associates were hauling it out to the dumpster. I suggested that it would fit in my trunk and they were happy to oblige. Another time, there was an entire case of bananas that had gotten frozen and were unsaleable. I mashed them with a little lemon juice and froze them in pint containers to use later for smoothies and banana bread. It lasted two years.
- Not a tip, but a word to the wise. The self-discipline involved in sticking to a budget will serve you well in many areas of your life. You might say it's priceless!
Source: The source for these tips is personal experience and a tiny budget. You might call that motivation. I have never been one to wait around for someone else to rescue me.
By Coreen from Rupert, ID
August 1, 20080 found this helpful
If you regularly shop the same day every week, try going every 8 days instead of 7. You shouldn't spend any more, but every two months or so you will have saved a week's worth of grocery money.
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