Welcome to 31 Days:The No Spend Month. If you are just joining me for the first time, you may want to start on Day 1.
Yesterday I wrote about 5 methods I use to keep our grocery budget to around $100 per week, for our family of 4. Today I’m sharing 5 more:
Although I do not shop there regularly, I know that discount stores such as Grocery Outlet and Dollar Stores carry natural and organic products. Because their inventory changes frequently, you have to be willing to make a trip and not find anything you need.
I do visit a bakery outlet about once a month to stock up on bread products for my freezer. I buy whole wheat bagels, buns and bread and gluten-free bread, as well. The prices are so outstanding, I can pick up 10 loaves of bread for $13 (and that includes a $5 loaf of gluten-free bread).
Farms and Farmer’s Markets
We purchase a share of a cow every year, saving us on organic beef. It gives us ground beef, steaks, and stew meat at about half the cost we would pay in the grocery store. I’ve also recently become familiar with a nearby farm selling eggs at a price lower than I pay at the grocery store.
When we lived in a larger city, we had access to farms to pick fresh produce for our weekly meals and to can and freeze for winter. Unfortunately our small city doesn’t offer this.
About six months a year, we have a great farmer’s market three times a week. As a price conscious shopper, I have found the best way to save money is to go near closing time when the farmers have discounted their price to get rid of their products before they head home.
I have purchased spices, vanilla beans and other goods through a co-op for prices about 25-30% lower than that of a grocery store. I’m also planning to contact our local Azure Standard drop as I’ve found that they often have group buying discounts.
Buying in Bulk
I buy several items in bulk bins: regular and gluten-free flours, sugar, oats, raisins, nuts, regular and gluten-free noodles, all forms of beans, rice, popcorn and spices. I like the cost savings and the lack of packaging. I keep these IKEA containers at home to store my bulk items.
I haven’t found a membership to Costco to be cost effective for our family but I do go with a friend two or three times a year to stock up on items I find at a good price, measured by price per pound or ounces (another area where the Price List comes in handy). Frozen organic peas, beans and corn are all about $1/pound (in a 5 pound bag) and I like to keep those on hand in my freezer.
Cooking from Scratch
Last but definitely not least is cooking from scratch. After meal planning, this is probably the other method that saves me the most money in the grocery budget.
I buy as little canned food as possible (read why here) so I find ways to get the foods typically found in cans elsewhere. Here are a few things I do to avoid canned foods:
- soak and cook beans and then freeze them for future use
- roast pumpkins and freeze the puree
- make jam and applesauce when I can get the fruit for a good price
- homemade soups from scratch
- choose frozen fruits and vegetables over canned
I don’t buy Bisquick or French bread – pancakes and bread from scratch taste so much better (and cost less). When I have a whole chicken, I make chicken broth. Bread crumbs are made from the heels of our loafed bread.
These are just a few examples of how I save money by making typically processed and boxed or canned food at home. Mandi Ehman, of Life Your Way, has authored a book called Easy.Homemade. It has dozens of recipes for homemade foods to save you money and is worth the low price of $3.99! I keep it on my Kindle for easy reference in the kitchen.
I know ten methods of grocery shopping may seem complicated and time consuming but I don’t employ them all, regularly. As I mentioned yesterday, I only go to the grocery store (Trader Joe’s) for our primary groceries every other Friday and then I pick up other items occasionally via some of the other methods. This allows me to maintain our grocery budget for a family of 4 for around $450 per month.
Come back tomorrow for an update on how Week 1 of our No Spend Month went!
I shared 10 methods to save on groceries, what were your favorites? Any you are planning to try?