July 24, 2014 1:24 am
But if you’re willing to plan a bit, and expend a little effort, Money Talks consumer expert Stacy Johnson suggests 10 relatively easy ways to slash your monthly food spend:
- Try generic – Store-labeled boxed and canned foods can save you up to 50 percent over famous-name counterparts. Some are better than the originals, others not so much. Try them to see which work for you.
- Shop top and bottom shelves – Manufacturers pay for eye-level display. Bargains on similar products are often available if you scan the top and bottom shelves.
- Seek other sources – Take time to check out discount retailers and local farmer’s markets to see how the savings add up. A package of romaine lettuce hearts for a buck at the 99 Cents store is half the price you’ll find at most supermarkets.
- Plan meals around the ads – Use the bargains trumpeted in the market circular each week as the basis for family meals – and shop strictly from a list.
- Make your own – Homemade cookies, sauces or jams made from cheap summer fruits taste better than many you can buy. Take advantage of seasonal bargains. Cook. Freeze. Enjoy.
- Slice and dice it yourself – Buy the whole pineapple on sale for two bucks or the cut-up container for nearly twice that? You will reap big savings by cutting up chickens, grating cheese, and cleaning veggies on your own.
- Plan for leftovers – Buying meats and other foods in larger quantities is often cheaper than buying small packages. Cook more than you need at one time and freeze leftovers for a second dinner or several lunches.
- Substitute cheaper ingredients – A recipe may call for expensive gruyere, but a cheaper Swiss cheese will probably do. Check out The Cook’s Thesaurus or online sources for food substitutions that work.
- Save free condiments – Those take-out packets of mustard, ketchup and soy sauce can save you money if you save and use them.
- Cut down on bottled water – Unless the water from your faucet is not fit to drink, bottle it and keep it in the fridge. Fill commuter cups or refill bottles as needed.
Published with permission from RISMedia.