30 tips to save on food
We set out to create the definitive list of tips for cutting food costs.
This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. household spent more than $6,000 on food in 2010 (the most recent year for which data were available). Since the average household spent just over $48,000 in total that year, that means more than 12% percent of the average family's budget was for food.
So, taking a bite out of your food budget is a worthy goal. And it's achievable: Food offers tons of ways to save. Slice just 10% from the average food bill and you'll free up $600 for things like paying off debt or beefing up savings.In the video below, Stacy Johnson shares his five favorite ways to save money on food. Check it out, then read on for many more.
1. Stop paying for names. Years ago, Johnson stood in a Walgreens with a camera and microphone and asked people why they were buying name-brand over-the-counter drugs when identical generic versions were available for half the price. Answer? Either "This is what I've always bought," or "If it costs more, it must be better."
Are there situations where name brands actually deliver quality or taste that makes them worth the extra money? Of course, and that's when you should buy them. But if you're paying 30%more for sugar, salt, flour, bleach or other simple staples, wake up and smell the (generic) coffee.
2. Bulk up. If you know you'll use all of it, buy it in bulk. For example, I can buy a pound of rice at my grocery store for $3.15. Instead, I buy 25 pounds at Sam's Club for $9.99. By buying in bulk, I save $2.75 per pound. Can't begin to use it all? That's what friends and freezers are for.
Just because something's available in bulk, however, doesn't automatically make it a smart buy. Generics are often cheaper than bulk-packaged name brands.
Always use an online coupon search engine to find deals before you shop. Another good source is manufacturers' websites. But the simplest thing to do is to plug the names of the items on your list into your favorite search engine along with the word "coupon" and see what comes up.
27. Save free condiments. Save those little condiment packages you get with your takeout. In a pinch, they’ll save you from having to run out and buy condiments at full price.
29. Don't buy snack foods. One of the most expensive things in the grocery store, especially when you consider cost vs. nutrition, is snack foods. They're not doing anything for your wallet or your waistline. Fruit is far cheaper than candy, and much better for you. Not sweet enough? Make your own Popsicles with Kool-Aid. Still not enough? Bake your own cookies or cakes. The Web is full of homemade snack recipes.
30. Shop online. You might find better prices than those at the local grocery store. Which website has the best prices? Check out "The cheapest groceries online: Wal-Mart vs. Amazon."
Is there anything you can add? Let us know by leaving a comment.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money
- The 10 golden rules for saving on everything
- 7 ways to score cheap locally grown food
- 8 massive ways to save at bulk stores
Calculator:Is your budget in balance?
All good suggestions. My two cents to add:
1) short-dated meat. If it expires that day or tomorrow, most stores discount it by 50%. As long as the colour is good, i buy and use that night or wash, pat dry and freeze for use later.
2) The article mentions scraps. I inlude in that scraps from my juicer. Fruit scraps freeze and can be added to muffins and cakes, veg scraps add to sauces, soups and chilis.
3) You can extend lots of things other than meats. Frozen pasta meals on sale or Raman noodles can be extended with an extra handful of boiled pasta or rice, any canned soup can be doubled with leftovers from the fridge or freezer.
4) Anything can be made into a soup, stew or chili- anything!
5) Save even the smallest leftovers from dinner even if it doesnt look like enough to save. One night a week that small bit of whatever and a bagel/toast or side salad will be enough for a meal.
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