Cooking Matters is celebrating its 10th anniversary! Thanks to our awesome volunteers and host sites, participants have learned important cooking skills and have become empowered to make healthy food choices while staying within their budget! In honor of 10 great years, here are 10 great ways to help stretch your grocery dollar.
10 Tips to Save On Groceries
1. Choose produce when it’s in season.
Seasonal produce is freshly harvested and is cheaper than when buying it out of season. Usually these fresh items are set out in front of the produce area and have prices clearly marked.
2. Buy whole, unprocessed fresh produce.
Anything which has been sliced or chopped will be more costly per pound than the whole item. These can be a great convenience when time is tight, but adds up on the grocery bill.
3. Chop it yourself.
Whole heads of lettuce and cabbage are cheaper than packaged salad or slaw mixes. With just a few minutes of prep time you can get a lot more salad for your dollar.
4. Buy produce in bags.
It’s cheaper per pound to buy produce in bags than to purchase it individually. Fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and apples are often less expensive when purchased in bulk. Just take into account whether the amount you purchase will be used and not wasted.
5. Buy store-brand items instead of national brands.
In some cases, the store brand of food is packaged at the same place as national brands and is the same food. You pay for the advertising and well-known name of the national brand.
6. Skip single-serving packages.
Portion out food yourself in bags or containers. Extra packaging costs more money. Help yourself and the environment by portioning it out yourself.
7. Purchase ground meat in chubs instead of foam trays.
Chub packaging is very minimal. Foam trays have more packaging and will usually cost more. When you go shopping, look for meat packed in plastic tubes (chubs) instead of on foam trays.
8. Keep an eye out for store discounts.
Pick up a store flyer on your way into the store or use the store’s app on your phone. Take a few minutes and look it over to take advantage of items on sale. Pantry staples such as canned food and pasta will hold for a while so you can stock up. If you find meat on sale, you can buy extra and freeze it.
9. Take advantage of unit pricing.
This information will be displayed on the edge of the shelf below the product. The price per ounce is displayed in small box usually colored red or orange. This way you can compare different brands and sizes of products to find out which product is cheapest per ounce.
10. Plan ahead.
Plan your menus and meals in advance so you know exactly what you will need. Take stock of what you have on hand and make a list and stick to it. Avoid the temptation to impulse-buy and never go to the store hungry!
By Cheryl DeVine
Cooking Matters Assistant