28 Ways to Save on Food

There are lots of ways to save on food. Some will be appetizing to you, some won’t.

By Stacy Johnson from readersdigest.com

There are lots of ways to save on food. Some will be appetizing to you, some won’t. But there are few things in life tastier than paying off debt and achieving your monetary objectives. Stacy Johnson from MoneyTalksNews.com shares his tips for saving dough at the supermarket.

1. Cook from scratch: Making meals from scratch is probably the single best way to save on food. Because the more prepared the food, the more it costs. Ironically, less expensive home-made is also normally better for you as well.

2. Generics: sometimes generics aren’t as good as name brands. In those situations one might choose name brands. But for things like flour, sugar, salt, bleach or virtually dozens of other items you find in the grocery store, the only discernible difference is price. Paying more for an identical product is more than extravagant; it’s stupid.

Plus: 15 Foods You Should Never Buy Again

3. Lists: Writing down what you came for and ignore everything that’s not on your list. This will save you money. It will also save time and fuel expense by preventing repeat trips to the store for things you forgot.

4. Stoop and bend: Smart merchants place the most profitable items at eye level and on end-caps. Stoop, bend and look around for the best values.

5. Coupons: For decades, coupons have been a shoppers best friend. These days online coupons have made them easier to find and use. If you haven’t used a coupon search engine yet, do so. It’s a new routine. Internet first, then store.

6. Warehouse stores: The savings you can find at warehouse stores are well-documented. Here’s a story we did on the five best deals.

7. Salvage grocery stores: these are harder to find, but if you happen to live near one, the savings are huge: up to 50%. Here’s a story we did on salvage stores and here’s a list of them by state.

8. Don’t shop hungry: It makes you buy more.

Plus: 13 Things Your Grocer Won’t Tell You

9. Shop alone: Kids, and spouses who act like kids, will often whine, cajole, or otherwise try to influence you into impulse buys. Leave ‘em at home.

10. Always overcook: then freeze. That saves the time you need to be able to cook from scratch.

11. Substitute cheaper ingredients: for more expensive ones.

12. Weigh pre-weighed produce: Use the handy scales in the produce department to weigh pre-weighed bags. For example, if you’re buying a 10-pound bag of potatoes, weigh them. Some will be 9 and a half pounds, but some might be 10 and a half for the same price.

13. Repackage: Put small quantities of leftover sour cream or other perishables in smaller containers; they’ll last longer. Cookies, crackers, and the like will also last longer if stored in glass jars.

Plus: The Beginner’s Guide to Being Cheap

14. Grate savings: You pay more to have someone else grate your cheese for you. You’ll also save by cutting up whole chickens, slicing your own pickles, slicing meat for cold cuts, and using a blender or rolling pin to make your own bread crumbs.

15. Save on starch: Fancy boil-in-bag or flavored rices routinely cost 10 times the amount of the old-fashioned kind. All it takes to make rice is the ability to boil water! Bags of smaller potatoes are often half the cost per pound of big baking potatoes. Bake two little ones instead of one big one. Your stomach won’t notice.

16. Save on protein: The simple proteins found in beans are better for you and obviously much cheaper than the complex ones in meat, fish and poultry. In other words, eat less meat!

17. Milk your budget: Milk about to expire? Freeze it. You can thaw it out and use it later. Same with things that might be rotting in your vegetable drawer: onions, parsley, tomatoes, garlic. Not only will freezing keep it from rotting, it will keep it from stinking.

Plus: 13 Ways to Get a Healthy Dinner on the Table Quickly

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