On Saving Money on Food: Be Extra Vigilant

I know. You’ve read millions of articles on how to save money on food, that seeing this article prefaced with the word “new thoughts,” you must be thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Of course, most of the saving on groceries advice has become overkill. We all know how to save on food; implementing the little steps is the hard part. Still, I feel that there are a few generalities that we should remind ourselves of when we are on a quest to save on one of the biggest expenses most American families have. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Food prices are rapidly increasing; be aware of this.

The New York Times reported last week that some very basic food items, from coffee to chocolate to beef, have been steadily rising in the past few months. In order to save money on food, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on local, national, and international food prices. Although price changes on at the grocery store may not seem like much, you’d be surprised how much money can quickly add up.

Be adamant about not wasting anything.

Although you may already be pretty frugal with your food shopping, you’d be amazed by how much you waste even if you are fairly strict about it. Even if produce gets a little old, find ways to reinvent it. Fresh spinach for a salad at the beginning of the week can easily be reused in a garlic wilted spinach side dish later in the week. So you should definitely think of ways that each item of food can be used in menus until the next time you have to go to the store, and plan your meals accordingly.

Forgo the luxury goods that aren’t very important to your tastes.

One mistake people make when they try to save money on groceries is they try to deny themselves all luxury and expensive foods. Instead, what you should try to do is only remove the luxury foods that aren’t important to your tastes. In other words, if you absolutely must have a nice steak for dinner, that’s fine as long as you find other luxury items to cut from your list. For example, you don’t have to buy the brand name spices to season that steak.

Watch for deals every week.

Finally, part of being a vigilant food shopper is that you have to be aware every week of the deals at your local grocery stores. I say stores, plural, because you should be open to looking for deals at all the grocery stores near your home, including specialty shops, like butchers shops and local farm markets, as sometimes these smaller local groups have even better deals on fresh food. Every week, check your newspaper or sites for the deals and then get your shopping done as efficiently as possible.

Of course, these are only a few tips, but I think they are important to keep in mind as you try to plan out low-cost meals and keep your food spending habits in control. If you have any other ‘new thoughts’ on saving money on grocery shopping, please drop them in the comments section.

By-line:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online college. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.

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