groceriesIn view of today’s economic crisis, it is more important than ever to find ways to reduce our over-all spending. One way to accomplish this is to reduce the amount of money we spend at the grocery. Listed below are some tips that will help you as you endeavor to gain control of your household spending.

1. Make a weekly menu and shop accordingly. Make a list of all ingredients you will need. You will be less likely to buy things that are not on your grocery list.

2. Cook from scratch. When you purchase convenience foods you are paying a higher price for the “convenience”. Keeping a well-stocked pantry containing a variety of spices and seasonings will enable you to prepare healthier, whole foods for less.

3. Use leftover foods. Many leftover foods make wonderful soups, stews or casseroles. In fact, some of my best recipes have been the result of “cleaning out the fridge”.

4. Stretch ground beef. Add oatmeal, cut-up bread crusts, cracker crumbs, homemade breadcrumbs or plain cereal. This is a great way to use up stale crackers.

5. Use less meat. Use half the amount of meat called for in your recipe. Add inexpensive pasta or vegetables to replace the missing meat.

6. Save leftover pieces of pie crust dough. When making pies, save the leftover pieces of crust dough, place in a zip-lock freezer bag and store in the freezer. When you have collected enough pieces, use them to make another pie crust.

7. Buy blocks of cheese. Shredding blocks of cheese yourself will require a little time but will save you money over buying the pre-shredded type. After shredding, store the cheese in a large zip-lock bag and store in the refrigerator. Cheese can be frozen for later use. I would recommend freezing shredded cheese in 1 cup portion sizes to avoid having to thaw larger quantities that may not get used in time to prevent spoilage.

8. Buy eggs in bulk. When eggs are on sale, buy them in bulk. Crack each egg into a clean plastic ice cube tray and freeze. Remove the frozen “egg” cubes and store them in a zip-lock freezer bag or other freezer container. They can be thawed and used in baking, for making omelets or for scrambled eggs.

9. Freeze over-ripe bananas. Leave the skins on the bananas and place them in a zip-lock freezer bag and store in the freezer. When ready to use, thaw just enough to release the peel.They are perfect for making banana bread or banana muffins.

10. Stop impulse buying. Do not ever grocery shop when you are hungry. People who grocery shop when they are hungry tend to buy more food and make more impulse purchases. Eat before you shop!

11. Use coupons. Using grocery coupons can be a wonderful way to save money on your grocery bill. Some supermarkets offer double coupon days which allows you to save even more, especially when you combine the coupon value with the lower sale price of an item!

12. Use generics. Many times, I find that generic brand products are less expensive in comparison to brand name products, yet they contain the same basic ingredients. Many times generics are the better bargain over using a coupon for the brand name product. Be sure to compare both brand name and generic products to find the best bargain for your money.

Emily


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