Thursday, March 12, 2009

Eating on the Cheap

I have gotten a lot of emails lately asking me for my tips on saving money on groceries. Generally I am pretty frugal food shopper and rarely have any food waste. I also only grocery shop once a week, some times less.

1. I read all of the local store ads and decide where to shop at by which store has the best deals on meat, seafood and staples.

2. I buy large quantities of meat when they are on sale and freeze them in meal sized portions.

3. I pay attention to cycles in sales, baking stuff goes on sale in December, yogurt about once a month, roasting chickens in the winter etc and stock up the best I can.

4. I plan meals around what is on sale rather than rushing out and buying (full price) ingredients for a specific dish.

5. I only buy and eat in season vegetables and fruit. It is tastier and cheaper.

6. I make a trip to Wegmans every 6-8 weeks to stock up on cheap staples like canned beans (about 50 cents a can), 28 oz cans of tomatoes (about $1) and Cabot cheese in large blocks.

7. When I open a new jar or container of something I add it to a running list so I know to keep an eye for it so I can pick it up when it goes on sale. This helps eliminate having to run out and pay full price for something I am totally out of at the last minute.

8. I keep a mental list of prices and deals. $6 for two jars of mayo sounds like a good deal unless you know that a store frequently has it on sale for 2 for $4.

9. I go to ethnic supermarkets for good deals on spices, sauces, produce and staples like noodles, panko, flours etc. I also try to stock up so I don't have to buy soy sauce at the regular supermarket for twice as much.

10. The farmers market is a great place for deals on produce, dairy and eggs. I always take one trip around before buying anything to make sure I am getting the lowest price. There is nothing worse than spending $6 on squash then seeing it 15 feet away for $2.