Bottom line is: Food's expensive. Unless you're going to subsist on ramen noodles and 99-cent menu fare, you're going to have to drop some cash. One of the biggest expenses for my family each week is groceries (and, yes, take-out on weekends). Every time I look at the receipt, there's no denying it: It stings. We're trying to save money, and what with "having to eat" and all, it's damn near impossible.
My husband and I talk about how to try to cut our food expenses ad nauseum, but it never seems to work. But this weekend, we sat down and really tried to get to the bottom of things, and we actually figured out how to shave a little off our food bill without sacrificing quality. (I know, this is starting to sound like a commercial.) Seriously, though, our bill was $22 less than normal at the grocery store yesterday. No, not ground-breaking, but it was something. Here's what we came up with:
1. Don't buy produce pre-cut or pre-packaged. Not a new one here, I know, but how easy is it to just reach for the box of lettuce instead of the head? Yesterday, all produce was as produce-y as it gets: Carrots that had to be peeled; peppers that had to be chopped; and romaine that needed shredding. Random bonus: We did all our chopping and cutting while my daughter was taking a nap and had a lovely little chat. Much better than typing away on our computers or zoning out to the TV.
2. Rice, rice, rice. A little rice goes a long way. We bought a bag of rice last week, and we plan on having it as our "side" at least once a week until we run out. That's bang for your buck right there.
3. Use the pastas and grains and whatevers that are already in your cupboard. If you're anything like me, your cupboard is filled with half-empty boxes of pastas, rices, and weird grains that you thought you were definitely going to get into (but didn't -- womp womp). Use them. You probably have side dishes for weeks in there.
4. Breakfast for dinner. Eggs are cheap. And they come in twelves! Once a week, why not do omelets or sunny-side-ups and a side of turkey bacon?
5. Plan every meal. My husband and I always say we're going to do this, and we wind up doing it for, like, two weeks, then it's back to just randomly shopping for food items with no clear menu in mind. Yesterday, we did it. And we're hoping we'll do it again this weekend. Tonight's menu: Veggie fajitas with, you guessed it, a side of rice.
How do you save money at the grocery store?