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02-26-2009, 11:27 PM #1
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- Aug 2008
- outside Philadelphia, PA
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4 Easy Ways To Cut Your Grocery Bill
We won’t bother rehashing why every one of us needs to spend a little (or a lot) less on the weekly grocery tab these days. Bottom line: we’re strapped, and that has many moms looking to go beyond great coupons (which you’ll find right here on RedPlum, for all your grocery needs!) for additional ways to spend less while still putting healthy, quick, creative meals on the table every night. So we’ve rounded up our favorite four tips for getting your weekly total in check
Meal Plan From Your Sunday Circular
Most moms we talk to tell us that “meal planning” at their house goes a little something like this: “It’s Six? What the h#@# am I going to make for dinner!” But even the most organized of households is probably doing things backwards. If you currently plan your week’s meals and then crack open your store’s weekly circular to see what’s on sale that fits into the recipes you’ve chosen for the week, you’re spending more than you need to on your groceries. Instead, do the reverse. Sit down with the print circulars for the stores you shop, or view online versions here on RedPlum. Take note of the big-ticket items that are specially priced, especially the protein sources. Now start to build a meal around those items. Are chicken breasts, red peppers and onions all on sale? That sounds like Monday night’s dinner! Ground beef, shredded cheese and lettuce also on sale? That makes Tuesday night taco night! By planning your meals around what’s on sale you can take full advantage of the items that are marked down—plus it’s a great way to ensure a little variety in your family’s routine.
Plan Every Single Meal
Want to know the death knell for every food budget? The “we might need this during the week” purchase. One key to making your grocery dollar stretch is planning down to the last detail exactly what you’ll need for that week. Daycare snack need to get packed? Plan what it will be every day of the week before you set foot in the store. Are you and your husband packing lunches? Don’t just buy heaps of lunch fixins’ and figure it out as you go along; you’ll end up buying far more than you need. Invest the time before you shop to plan—then reap the rewards.
Don’t Buy Things You Already Have
Another huge money waster is coming home with an industrial size can of baking powder, only to find that you weren’t in fact out of the stuff to start with. Try this strategy: create a Word document that lists all of the staples you keep in your pantry. Print multiple copies of the list and keep them in the kitchen. Each week, check the list against the pantry before you go shopping and note anything that needs to be replaced. Then when you get to the store, buy only those items that are circled. This prevents the “I’m not sure, we might need these” purchases that really add up.
Calm down health nuts—we’re not suggesting for a second that you and your family eat fewer fruits and veggies. But what we are suggesting is that you not buy fruits and veggies that are going to rot in your fridge. The most expensive asparagus in the world is the asparagus that goes bad before you ever get around to serving it. Start making a note of how much your family really eats when it comes to produce. Buy a pound of beans and see if you end up with leftovers, or with not enough to go around. Then try and pound and a half, two pounds. Every family’s different, but somewhere there’s a sweet spot for everyone that will have you stocked with all the greens you can eat, without so many that you’re really paying top dollar for future fertilizer. Plan every produce purchase before you get in the car to shop. If you want your family to test out spaghetti squash that’s great. But don’t decide that at the store. Decide it when you’re meal planning. If you get to your local grocer and a particular veggie catches your eye, simply make a note and add it to next week’s menu. But there’s no need to bring it home yet!